Ali was a busy girl this weekend with British Dressage on Saturday and British Showjumping on Sunday – getting lots of practice in for the upcoming eventing season! We went to the Cotswold RDA centre on Cheltenham Racecourse for the first time for British Dressage, where the outdoor warm up arena was just about defrosted enough on another very chilly morning. The indoor arena was quite small (both tests were 40x20m arena tests) and was very spooky, with lots of paintings, a gallery, fake horse….! I was really pleased with Ali as although she was rather tense and spooky in the first of our tests, medium 63, she still listened and stayed rideable and fairly soft but was just not quite secure in the contact for the whole test. She scored a good 68.45% to win the class 🙂
Next we did medium 71, which for some reason I had wrongly learnt the “simple changes” in canter (canter-walk-canter) across the diagonal as transitions through trot, which lost us a few marks. Overall though Ali was much more secure in the contact and consistent but I need to take care that her quarters don’t lead in the half passes in my effort to keep enough bend – I think I need to try and buy some mirrors for the end of the arena so that I can check my positioning more easily when schooling by myself! She still scored a respectable 66.61% and I was very happy with how she had settled in the scary arena! This meant 9 points from the day, however unfortunately neither of the tests were “qualifiers” so I need a few more points from a qualifier class to get to the summer regional championships.
On Sunday afternoon we jumped in the 1.15m and 1.2om classes at Solihull BS. They had lots of entries in the early classes so we didn’t jump until after 4pm. When I mounted the snow started coming down quite heavily and even settled for a few minutes (causing small panic from Mum!!) – thank goodness we were indoors although it was still rather cold! Tim Stockdale was there with a few horses and it was brilliant to be able to watch him working in – I found it particularly useful the way he stayed to an outside track but would come in and out bending the horses body and neck both ways in all 3 paces especially as it can be so difficult to do turns and circles when SJ warm up arenas are busy. It worked really well to keep Ali’s neck and sides soft at the beginning as well as if she got a bit speedy after a warm up jump.
She jumped fantastically and I think felt the best she ever has – not just over the fences but staying soft, rideable and with me not tensing in her back between the fences too. She jumped double clear in the 1.15m and just had one pole in the 1.2om when I majorly over checked out of the corner to a big upright instead of riding on and trusting her to clear it (like I would have done with a spread). I did have another chance to practice with a similar turn albeit on the other rein to the last fence.