Well we did it. We did our first dressage competition on the weekend!
The weather leading up was terrible, freezing, raining, windy. I was only able to ride Monday night, Wednesday night, Friday I floated out to the local uni who has an indoor arena. That was an interesting ride. There was already 3 riders in the arena, I mounted up expecting Sam to be a little forward and interested. We started walking and after a bit he couldn't hold it anymore, he lept a bit, I was able to bring him back but I thought I would lunge him first. He had a good buck and twist and then settled. I mounted again and put him straight to work. We rode for about 30min and the other riders left. Poor Sam had a minor melt down. I didn't want the argument so I finished up as well.
Saturday was freezing, drizzling, just plain depressing weather. I was going to head out to the uni again but I decided to ride in the back paddock instead. I think Sam preferred this and we did mainly fitness work. So we trotted and cantered around on a loose rein and just worked. I then washed him (the blessing of having a hot/cold wash bay) rugged him up, gave him a warm breaky and let him be.
I headed into town to help set up the arenas for the competition. The ground was terrible and we all wondered if we should let the competition go ahead or not. One of the judges had already flown in and the cakes had been made so we decided to go ahead! Our main man who knows how to measure out the arenas first go wasn't able to help us so instead off taking 1.5hrs we there for about 3!!!!!! Never mind it looked great at the end!
When I got home I got all my gear together and plaited up Sam. He is such a good boy, he fidgets for about the first 10min and then gives up and stands quietly going to sleep. It takes me a while to plait up, generally about an hour and that is only the plaiting part, rosetting I do the next day! I packed the car and float, fed my special boy and headed in for a goods nights sleep.
Sunday came, I was up at 5.30am to finish plaiting, have a milo, get my hair done, load up and we were on our way by 7.10am. It was a pea souper! The fog was so thick!!! The drive was slow as I could only see about 30m ahead. When we arrived (only about a 30m drive) I unloaded, let Sam have a walk around and then gave him his breaky. Sam hadn't been to these grounds before and I was wondering how he would go. He was fine of course. Ate his breaky, happy to stand and watch the other competitors arriving.
I allowed a warm of about 40min. The warm up arena was nearly unrideable. We had about 15m wide and 20m long and that was even pretty boggy. We were both travelling along well so I went to have my gear check and warm up near the competition arenas. We have an area about 40m x 50m that you are able to ride in just before your test. This is where I started to come undone. My nerves really set in and poor Sam fed off that. Luckily it was my friend who was the gear checker and she could see what was starting to happen so she helped me through it. Telling me to ride forward, BREATH, and to trust my horse. Sam became very looky and a little horse shy. At one point I thought he was going to show us his acrobatic abilities but I was able to push him through.
Finally it was our turn. I said hi to the judge and headed on down. Our first test was a prep test so only walk and trot. Sam was a super star! About half way through I finally relaxed slightly and we did a pretty good test. We scored 69% and placed 6th out of 13 competitors. Not to shabby!!!!!
Rest time! We had about an hour which was lovely. Sam had a munch, I learnt my next test and caught up with friends!
Our second test was a Prelim test so this one included canter. I tried to have a canter in the warm up arena but that wasn't going to happen. I waited for the area where the arenas or to clear a bit and to let a crazy leave. One poor girl was having a lot of trouble with her horse. Straight off the track I'd say! I felt a lot more confidant this time. I had waves of nerves but on the whole I felt good. Sam cantered nicely both reins. We headed up to the judge and then we were on. We entered, trotted up the center line and our halt was great, forward into the transition and it was square!!!!! I felt we travelling really well, we were late with our canter but I managed to do an ok transition so I was still happy. We were just about to transition down from our last canter to trot when Sam lost it. I didn't even feel it coming, no swish of the tail, no flick of the ear. He bucked, lept, plunged. I stayed on pulled him up, burst into tears and decided to finish what we had started. Our ending was terrible, wobbly centre line, crooked halt but we finished which meant we would get a score. If you would like to view our test here it is! Yes we needed to be forward and to be more active but that is what we can work at for our next one!
We still managed to receive a score of 60% and placed 13th out of 28 competitors. I was very happy with this!
We loaded Sam up, Scott took him home while I stayed to help scribe and to help with the scoring and generally help out for the afternoon.
So now full steam ahead for the next comp in August. We have a training day in July which will be good practice.