On Friday Missis and I went to the dressage competition at Parklands. We unloaded the horses, who were very chilled. We didn't need to collect a number or anything, just get warmed up and be ready to go in when our names were called.
We tacked the boys up and went into the indoor school to warm up. We actually hired this arena on Wednesday night and I am glad we did it now, as on Wednesday it took me ages to get Lindy to walk into the indoor school. I know it was dark in there and he didn't want to leave Lindy, but he was still being naughty. This time Lindy wasn't phased and walked straight in, which was a relief. The school had been levelled and emptied so there were just horses milling about warming up.
Nicky arrived with her beautiful boy, Connor. I have to say, Hugo was easily a match for anything in there. It's obvious he's a quality animal. I asked Nicky if she could read our test, but she said it would take ages to get Connor warmed up and working well, but her friend Amy would do it. I'm so glad, as I know at one point my mind would have gone a complete blank.
Missis was due to go in before me, and once she'd gone in I couldn't see her. I warmed Lindy up a little bit more and went in once Missis came out.
There were new white boards around the arena that hadn't been there on Wednesday night, so I let him have a little look at everything. Then the bell went, so we came round, entered at A and began the test.
I got quite a good score but not high enough to get placed, but now I've seen the playback on the video I think the judge was generous with her marks and I totally agree with her comments. Lindy wasn't really on the bit at all, and my legs still move about too much, because he feels as if he's going very very slowly, but actually on the playback he doesn't look too bad, so I have to make sure I keep my legs still and not keep nagging. I think the other thing that's noticeable is that he's very wobbly where he's not very fit. Barnaby doesn't look like that at all. But Lindy is very upright and straight and I will ask a lot more of him next time.
But apart from a few nerves, I thoroughly enjoyed it and would like to do a lot more. Missis has agreed to go again, and I am going to learn to be firmer with Lindy because he does come on the bit and can look stunning. When he works properly he trots a lot faster, which makes me feel as if he's going to take off with me, so I don't let him, even though if Barnaby did that it wouldn't bother me. I need to have confidence in Lindy, but last year when I schooled him once he threw his head down and really cranked my neck, so I'm trying not to upset him really, as I don't want him to do that to me again.
I have to say, my heart has always been in dressage. This is not to say, in the slightest, that I am any good at it (and don't think I'm being modest here, because I'm not!) but it really fascinates me. I wanted to do dressage when I got Max, but he was so good at jumping I just went with the flow really. Now that I've got a score and some comments I know what to work on, and I'd be thrilled if I could do some more competitions and gradually work my way up. I find it so relaxing and stress free compared to jumping. My only disappointment is that Barnaby hates it, because he's beautifully put together. If only he'd be more obedient I'd take him instead, but hauling on his reins as I go down the centre line is not going to look attractive, is it? So I'm very grateful to Pongo for a) taking me and b)lending me his horse!
Finally, I must say that Hugo was a different animal to the other day when he chucked Missis off. He seemed to love being with Lindy. In between tests he nodded off with his chin on Lindy's back, and Lindy was nibbling at his plaits, trying to undo them, as if to say, "Don't worry mate, I'll soon have those out for you!" I think he's been quite a lonely horse up 'til now. Oh, and Missis came 6th in the Intro test and 5th in the Novice, even though she went slightly wrong. She could have a lot of fun with that boy, I think.
So came home as high as a kite, really, and can't wait to go again.
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