Lots of dressage practice this week! After galloping Ali on Thursday, it has since been time to practice in the 60×20 dressage arena we have put up on grass at the bottom of the field (as flat as we could manage) – I wanted to get her practicing more on grass before Osberton because being on grass instead of an arena surface definitely affects her way of going. She is very good as the arena is in the same field that we had done our fast work in but when in her dressage saddle etc. she knows what her job is for that day! On Saturday I had a lesson with Mike Garman in the field arena and he gave me some great tips to get those extra marks and get her showing off a bit more – I was really pleased with the way she went. This morning before taking Donovan off I did a short jumping session in the school and she was really pinging! She will have the day off tomorrow, and then the count down to Osberton begins….
Donovan has been going well in his double bridle this week and is improving well in the lateral movements so I was looking forward to our competition today. Although keen to come off the box, he was his normal settled but spooky self in the work in but I managed to get him motivated quickly and he worked in well. Elementary 53 went well except for one mistake when he thought we should strike off in canter again after our trot transition! He felt really in front of my leg and off the ground so I was pleased – we scored 67.06% to win with the comment that he could be steadier in his mouth possibly because of the double bits. So after a short break it was onto the Medium 73, again he worked in quite nicely apart from coming across the diagonal in canter on the left rein he was tending to drop onto his right (outside) shoulder so this was affecting his simple change, which we had to do as we crossed the centre line – we practiced this a few times and he improved. I was quite pleased with his test except he made a mistake in the above movement, which caused him to strike off wrong so I was rather annoyed with him about this as he is quite capable and got an 8 for his other simple change but was just being a thug! I felt the lateral work had gone well though – how wrong I could be… I was terribly disappointed that the judge had only negative comments about most of our test and especially the half pass, which we thought had improved loads and been good at home. Unfortunately I had to go on my own today so nobody was there to video me, so it’s a shame I can’t watch it back. It really is annoying though when a judge makes neither helpful or encouraging comments (especially when just moving up a level) – I think they need to try and find some positives or pointers on how it could be better. So it’s back to the drawing board…..