On the week approaching the competition I noticed something was a little off in Evas canter. It wasn’t that she was hopping lame and it wasn’t even noticeable in the trot but almost like she had pulled something and was fine in trot but the canter was difficult. So I gave her a few days off with the hope that she had just twigged something and just needed some rest. I was hopeful on Friday she would be fine and I could make my decision of whether or not to go ahead on Friday night.
Friday night she was the same I spoke to a few girls at the yard and they agreed with me sound in trot but “something” in canter. We trotted her up on a hard surface and she was sound. We turned her and she was crossing fine at the back. So we were all scratching our heads. One of the girls was one of the main people who organises the dressage competitions at the yard, her advice was to go ahead and see how she is in the warm up.
On The Day
So the day came and we were up nice and early to plait up. I was worried that she was ok and this was our 2nd ever dressage competition together! So I was excited and nervous leading up to the event.
I got the time of my tests on the Wednesday so was able to work backwards to schedule my day. I gave myself an hour for grooming and plaiting up and 20 minutes for warm up.
At half past nine we went down to warmed up. I asked for canter and she was absolutely fine, if I had not been talking to others about it I would of thought I had imagined the whole thing! I breathed a sigh of relief, we were good to go. Our time came and off we went into the arena. The bell went an we turned up the centre line we turned right at C. The bell went again.
Shit! I thought. Ive turned the wrong way I thought, but no I definitely turn right at C. The judge stepped out of the box and informed me that a gag isn’t dressage legal.
I agreed with the air of mathematician being told very slowly that 1+1 equals 2.
I looked at the judge.
I looked at my bit.
I looked at the judge.
Several curse words flew through my head.
It was that voice at the back of my head saying we are forgetting something while I was putting the white saddle pad on, that little feeling like something isn’t right in my gut while I was putting my gloves on. I was so worried about her having pulled something and nervous about the test that I ignored all gut feelings that I was having and kept going. I knew I had forgotten something! Oh well we all learn from experience!
The judge very kindly allowed me to do the test but obviously I was eliminated. As for the rest, it was a blur I was mechanically doing the test while kicking myself inside. So after that test we ran up to the stables and changed the bit for the second test. I am so glad to have the competitions on site!
I changed in to a snaffle and went back down to the warm up ring, Eva was not pleased as she thought we had finished. She dragged her feet round the warm up so I had to firmly tell her that we were doing this test and she was not allowed to huff about it.
The second test went much better than the first. We were quite spooky. As in when turning up the centre line at the end the line was a bit of a zig zag! We were very unbalanced because of this but at least we had the right bit! Our first canter transition was messy but we pulled it together for the second canter transition and if anything we were a tad early.
For our first test we got 56.92% and the judges comment said there was some pleasing movements as well as a reminder to look at the bitting rules… I have to laugh at myself for this and then go and bang my head against a wall. Our second test we achieved 60.62% which I am quite pleased with, the judges comment said that we had correct paces but need to work on balance and encourage relaxation to help with confidence. We have definitely improved on our first dressage competition which we did in May so I feel like we have stepped up a little, even if it is baby steps.
Our next dressage will be in November so we have plenty of time to get to work.