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Sunday, 15 January 2017

Dressage Success to Start 2017!

Today, we headed out to Alnwick Ford Equestrian for a couple of Prelim dressage tests, hoping for better weather than we'd seen on Thursday, Friday & Saturday, but prepared for every eventuality. Fortunately, temperatures were much higher, there was no rain, and the sunshine even came out at times!!

Both smiling & both enjoying a great day out together!

We'd not realising when entering that both tests were in a long arena. We'd had a go at a long arena last May & didn't really find it any more difficult - actually more space, just movements in different places. Only downside....a centre line that goes on FOREVER!!!

We were relaxed & no pressure - our aim was to get less comments about being tense, and seeing if all the work we had done on getting obsessed with length was working away from home. 

There was a lot going on when we got there - lots of lorries & trailers. Horses going on and coming off, and Louie was a little spritely when we first took him off to get tacked up, but once he'd had a look around, he stood like a lamb at the wagon. 

Due to a long arena, you warmed up outside first, then when there was three to go, you went indoors. It worked well, and being outside, when it isn't raining, windy or snowy, I always prefer. Louie settled well, getting occasionally distracted by who want coming & going but didn't feel tense or on edge. I was pleased with him. Heading inside, I expected a little bit more tension - the warm up was quite small and I thought he'd have a look around. He didn't and carried on warming up lovely. 

Onto the test, which unfortunately, apart from recording coming round the corner to enter the arena, our phones' memories let us down... I managed to take this still and a photo from Andrew's phone.

Louie felt lovely, really bouncy, but still floaty, with a longer stride and longer shoulder too. I always aim for an accurate test, and was pleased at the accuracy & obedience throughout. But I was even more delighted to find out we came second with 76.6%!!! We just missed the very respectable winner - the same score, same percentage, but just 3 collective marks difference pushed us to second!

We had about 80 mins betweens tests, and by the time we untacked, had a tea and headed back to the wagon, it was time to get ready for our second test.

I'd given Louie quite a thorough warm up for our first test, which meant I only wanted a couple of horses to go while warming up for our second. There was three to go, but a bit of a delay in the warm up meant we walked a bit more than planned so as not to tire him out completely, and we stood chatting to a few people too. It also gave us chance to learn our test - I've never had a caller & when the horse two before me when in, I realised I was meant to learn my test in between my first and this one!! EEEK!

Louie's second test was again accurate and obedient but didn't have the jump of the first - it felt flat and he felt tired. I was pleased to come out with 68.57% as he wasn't as off the leg as he should be, and his canter work didn't cover the ground like it usually does. Next time we know to warm up a little less for the first!! 

Overall, we had a fantastic day together - we achieved what we wanted to & more!! We're busy planning our next couple of parties so we'll post up how we get on along the way!

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