Monday, May 21, 2007

Grace is now British Dressage Affiliated

So much has happened since the last post, I have been very lazy and have not been updating it as I should have been doing… Therefore I will try to take things in a chronological order!

The saddle that I was trying out in the last post was just not suiting me at all even though it seemed to fit Grace. I am so used to Hannah’s Albion SLK Ultima that I knew I would not be happy until I bought a similar one for Grace. I sold my GP that I got with Hannah, and started making plans to sell the old Albion I had bought for Grace as a temporary measure, which gave me just over £900. I looked around for a decent second hand one, but nothing was looking suitable.

I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy a new one! It fits Grace perfectly, and I feel so much happier riding in it. It feels very familiar and I think it has improved my position too. The lady who sold me the saddle is coming up to check it tonight as we have now had it for just over a month, but I do not think it will need very much doing with it to be honest.

We have been having lessons with Jo Graham as often as possible and I have also had a few with Spencer too. It seems that whatever we are doing is paying off because on 22nd April we went to our second ever dressage competition (P4) at Crow Wood and came away with a red ribbon and qualified for a place in the Prestige Dressage Championships. Grace travelled quite well to Crow Wood, but felt a bit awkward when she was working in. However, I did lots of transitions and really worked on getting her up and under me rather than running out of the front. We went in and did the test, and despite a few distractions (a really rattling old trailer driving past as we cantered) she felt really good. There were 32 in the class, and Grace got 67.72% and the comments, “Super horse showing good paces. Lacks a little suppleness in some transitions but purposefully ridden.”

The following week we had two Preliminary tests at Myerscough in the evening. Grace was coming in season so was a bit of a prat travelling and shouted her head off when we got there. Then she would not let me get on her, and when I finally did she started spinning around and being a complete loon!

I thought I was in for a very eventful evening, but worked her in as I would usually start off any session but kept it mostly at walk and trot to keep her head on the job. The first test we did was P10 in the main arena. She was a bit tense and looking at things but she came away with a very respectable 64.55% and the comments, “Lovely horse and much to like. Needs to work more from inside leg to outside hand. Could be super.” She came 2nd in this class…

The second test was in the spooky smaller arena so I thought we would have real problems in there as Hannah was a monster when she went in. I walked Grace around in between the tests and just picked her up in some trot work before going in for P18. She walked around the arena looking at everything and doing a few huge spooks, but then seemed to settle into her work as soon as she was asked. I felt the test went really well and that she listened the whole way through. We boxed her up and went to collect the sheets to be told she had come 1st with 73.75% and the comments, “Beautiful horse, working well at this level. A pleasure to watch.” As you can imagine I was absolutely thrilled!!!

We have booked our first BD test for this coming Sunday, but she came up lame on Thursday and the vets suspects she has bruised her sole. She has been kept in all weekend to see whether she comes sound again, and last night trotted up sound! However, I am not holding my breath too much as she has been out in the field this morning and could have become unlevel again. The vet also found some tenderness in her back which she wants me to get checked out, so the physio is coming out next week to look at her. Tonight will be the night I decide whether to withdraw from Sunday’s competition, but even if we can’t go, there are so many more coming up and I would rather get her right before pushing her at a competition.