Saturday, 28 April 2018

HAPPY BIRTHDAY LOUIE!!



It's been a LONG time since we were last out & about at a competition - the start of January! Time has flown and it doesn't feel like we've missed out at all, but I was excited to be heading out mid April... & what better day to go to a dressage party than Louie's birthday!!


It was our first time getting ready at the new yard, which to some people, won't be anything, but with the pooing machine Louie is when we go away, I was a bit concerned we'd leave a bit of a mess. I was showjumping the afternoon before, so decided to wash his legs after that rather than at home. Armed with Carr & Day & Martin stain remover and some water, I just used a sponge and a bucket of water to get his legs shining white, secretly quite impressed at how well they had come up white with such simple tactics!

After mucking out, I tied Louie up in the stable to plait him. Using a haynet, it took me a little longer than usual with him furiously tugging and pulling at the haylage, but even with half a missing mane, I managed to get a neat 13 plaits in. Next, his tail, which again using very simply fairy liquid followed by a wash with Horsehealth's Brite White, soon came up lovely and white! It never looks quite as white as it should with the black and chestnut strands that still run through it, very sparsely.

We set off to the venue - Todburn Equestrian Centre - arriving in good time to casually get all Louie's bandages off, get changed and tacked up. I expected Louie to be a little fresh and tense as it had been a while since we were last out, but he warmed up lovely, and as the warm up area was quite busy, he feel he needed to push on a bit.


I had a small panic when we were called in 15 minutes before our time, but with a couple of other already ready to go in, I headed to the arena for our allocated time. I was pleased of the extra warm up time as I really worked on his suppleness and "swing". Our test felt a bit sticky in places, he could be more in front of the leg and just taking the contact a little more, but he was super obedient and we rode an accurate test. I was pleased with it, but wanted to make sure the next test was better in terms of being in front of the leg.

We only had half an hour between our tests, which we're not used to, so we took 10 minutes at the wagon, before getting back on to warm up for our second test. I really worked on pushing him forward, and being genuinely off the leg but didn't want to over do it to cause a lack of energy in the test.

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A very similar test, with some improvement in terms of being in front of the leg, but I could also tell that the energy wouldn't be there forever. I was again pleased with Louie, putting in an obedient & accurate test.

Louie enjoyed a bit of a wash off in the sunshine back at the wagon, before having his massage pad on and munching on some hay while we headed to grab a coffee and some much deserved chocolate!!

It was lovely to have my Mum with us while competing - she had been staying with us all week, waiting to have a cast taken off her wrist before heading back to Spain. So it was nice to sit out of the breeze and enjoy the sunshine, chatting over a coffee and watching all that was going on.

We headed to take a look at the scores - our first class was out. I couldn't find Louie's test sheet anywhere, until someone pointed it out...no wonder I didn't see it. It had a lovely big red rosette on it - we had WON!! I was thrilled and even better to find out we'd come second overall!



We scored 71.73% - our first EVER British Dressage score over 70%!! Topped off by the fact it was Louie's birthday...

Shortly after the second test was completed and the scores were out. I was over the moon to realised that we had won again, and also won the complete class on a score of 70.19%! I was so proud of myself and of Louie... two scores over 70% plus Louie had won his entry fees back (a real win in Andrew's eyes!!)

Here's our first test - prelim 14.


And our second test, prelim 13, scoring 70.19%


We're very motivated to be back out and about, and are looking forward to our next party together!

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