As promised, I wanted to give you an update on our recent Dressage Entry with DRESSAGE ANYWHERE. We entered a Prelim test in the main competition section for April, in the hope to gain our first qualifying score for their BD Championships later in the Year.
We had an option of Prelim 13 or Prelim 19. I made the decision to go for Prelim 13, as it still uses the short arena. As much as I would like the challenge of riding the long arena, Hamish isn’t quite ready. There is suddenly just that bit further to cover and I’m not sure his canter can keep up quite yet but it’s most definitely something for us to work towards.
If you have been reading my recent ‘Life of Hamish’ posts, then you will know how well Hammy has been going recently – I had a really great feeling about the test and I felt such a change in his work, that I was really excited to film and send off our entry. However, the week I was due to film the weather took a bit of a turn. All of a sudden the temperature dropped and I think he really felt it! The first day I had planned to film, I rode in the school and poor Ham just felt so stiff and short – still sound, just not great movement from him, you know when it just doesn’t feel right. Rather than push him for more and end up worse off, we just gently schooled and did some stretching work and called it a day.
The next day I had a lesson so Katie kindly warmed us up, he did feel slightly better but I could feel he was short in his paces and lacking activity and impulsion. We filmed regardless and I decided to enter the test. I could have waited until the weekend and filmed it again but there wasn’t any guarantee he would be better and to be honest, I just wanted to give him the rest of the week off, with gentle stretching and hacking to hopefully loosen him up and give him a bit of a break.
The walk, trot and canter were slightly lacking in activity when I watched the test back but I do think the trot got better as the test went on. The canter wasn’t so great, which is a shame. Ham was quite hollow in the transitions and not into as much of a contact as he could have been, but I have to say I also didn’t ask too much of him for the canter in the test either – I didn’t want to risk pushing too hard and ruining the overall test! It wasn’t a true reflection of the progress and hard work Hamish has made in the last few months but that is totally okay! I know we have made progress and just because the test didn’t go quite like we had hoped, we still got a qualifying mark and some lovely comments from the judges.
I do like to acknowledge and accept the slightly lesser parts of the test but I most definitely do not dwell on them! It’s so important to keep it as positive as possible. So, some of the things that I am really pleased with were:
Our Centre Lines – Not all of them mind, but at least one of the centre lines we had to ride was 100% better than before! He was straight and I actually managed to turn us onto the centre line, instead of just before or just after!!
Free Walk – The free walk was also much better than usual and we got a mark higher than we have in our previous tests, so I was really pleased about that!
Downward Transition to Trot after Second Canter – After our second canter (right rein canter) the downwards transition to trot I was pleased with, he was balanced and went straight back into a round contact, working through.
Accuracy – Overall I think we were able to ride much more accurately on this test. He is a lot straighter which in turn has helped all aspects of the test and meant it was much more accurate than it has been in the past so I was pleased with that.
As I am in the ‘test riding’ mindset at the moment, I am going to enter anther Dressage Anywhere Prelim again next month. We have some time to continue working on the canter and we should be able to finally show the judges what we can do.
I am so proud of Hamish and the work he has been doing recently and we have our first qualifying mark which is fab! So, we’re moving on from our first test of the year, feeling positive and excited for the next one.
Have you been out and about already this year and if so how did you get on? I would love to hear from you all.