Thursday, 11 August 2016

Charging towards Area Festivals

Firstly I must apologise as I’m slightly behind in my blogging – if you miss me don’t forget that we are on Facebook and I do a much better job of keeping that up to date! It’s been a busy time recently, I went back to work (boo) but have also been focused on training and getting our Area Festival sheets at Novice so I will start with that…

Jane riding - teaching B half pass (not in this pic!)
Sheet collection had started at Checkendon and so I went there for my second outing and entered both the Novice tests hoping I’d hit my qualifying scores. It was very hot and muggy and the horse flies were out in force which Buddy really hates. As a result, it wasn’t the warm up I had planned and I just nursed him through but it was pretty bad and I nearly left before doing my test but thought I’d paid my entry and so might as well give it a go! Both tests were full of tension (Buddy and me) but I was quite pleased with how I’d ridden him as he didn’t feel his normal self and I was proud of him that he kept a lid on it when we went into the tests. We were placed 4th in both with one qualifying score and one just underneath (I went wrong and so was kicking myself as without that we would have done it).

Test practise

I then did a late entry into Fairoak to try and get that final score. I was really pleased with him and it felt like the best test at this level to date as it was more consistent and even though he spooked at the lights on the floor of the school we picked up canter again immediately and I was pleased with the rest of the test. The judge didn’t agree though and all the comments showed that she felt that spook had ‘ruined the picture’ which is so frustrating as I could see in the mirrors that he was working well. I took B home and checked the online results and they showed we’d just missed out… Again. I was so annoyed! I went back for my sheet and saw a fellow Rockley Rehabber who congratulated me on my result.. It turned out I had got the QS completely wrong as so I had qualified! That’ll teach me for not looking at the rules properly! As it was we finished 2nd on our score so the judge obviously wasn’t feeling that generous on the day.

Love this from Zecora Photography
I very often get frustrated with my scores when I’m competing as they range from 5-8 and I’ve not managed to be consistent across the board, I never get the same comment twice and seem to fluff up across the board so it’s not like I only have to work on one thing to increase my scores. The main challenge seems to be that I am just not very good at riding tests and lose my ability to ride so I’ve decided to focus totally on the Area Festivals test which is Novice 23. My training is going to be focused on nailing the movements (and the specific movements at the right place in the school) and so I have enlisted Jane from Springwood Grange who trains me anyway but also Debbie Poynter who is a livery at SG and is a listed judge. We started ‘Mission AF’ on Saturday and I warmed up with Jane and then rode through the test twice. As soon as I was in test mode I went stiff and tense, forgot to keep B together and just rode badly! The first test was representative of what I get when I’ve been out competing.. excellent bits and bad bits which evened out to 62.59% which is ok but not where I want to be. So Debbie and Jane walked me through the bits where I was throwing marks away and gave me some handy hints to help improve things. We rode through it again and even though there were still mistakes I managed to increase my overall score by maximising the good work B does and not panicking when it goes wrong. I was delighted to score 67.4% and even got two 9’s!

More test practise..
As we are competing on Saturday (Novice 23 ;o) ) I had a lesson with Jane last night to practise the bits that need tweaking. The biggest challenge I have is my medium canters as B has such a huge stride I have to be careful to not let him get long and on the forehand because when I ask him to come back to working canter he will break if he’s unbalanced. We ran through the test again and it was much more consistent throughout although he did break early in his canter (coming back from medium – doh) but overall I felt like it was an improvement. Jane totted up the scores and it was 68.3%. Blimey. We then practised the medium a couple of times as I need to make sure I keep him up and together but don’t hang on and kill it and he was ace so I know the feel I need now. I’m actually looking forward to Saturday and putting it all into practise, we have a very tough judge so it will be great practise and as long as I ride well and consistently I will be pleased. Plus we’ve got 4 weeks until AFs so plenty of time to practise!!

No comments:

Post a Comment