This is a few days late as I have had to wait for my second test sheet to come through as I couldn't stay until the end of the class on Saturday. Anyway, on Saturday we went off to Vale View for the Trailblazers Dressage. I love competing at Vale View, despite the large classes. You get a nice mix of people competing and it's just such a lovely place to compete with large lorry park, reasonable warm-up arena and indoor competition arena. We competed in Prelim 13 and 18. Prelim 13 is quite a nice test whilst 18 is a bit harder (well for us!) but has good movements in to really test you.
In the warm up for 13, I did plenty of leg-yield and transitions to try and loosen him up as he's quite tight in his shoulders and so doesn't use his behind so well. He is slowly getting there, and being more active definitely helps, we just need to channel the energy better! Canter was our usual iffy-ness. He gets quite excited in the warm-up and with other horses around I always get a bit paranoid about cantering, I think I need to just get on with it more. However, I have found that just doing a short canter in the warm-up is enough as it means we don't get too stressy but gives him the warm up he needs. I think our test was reasonable, he definitely still needs to bend more but we are getting there. In canter, I rode a bit defensively to make sure he didn't buck which he had been doing in the warm-up, however, he didn't bend correctly though this is what he finds really hard! However, I wasn't too fussed about this at the time, I was just happy that he didn't buck in canter, he went forward nicely and did a reasonable test. Turns out we scored 59.79% which probably doesn't sound too great to many people, however, this was higher than what I actually expected to get so I was quite pleased! He mainly got 6's down the sheet, with two 5.5's, one for free walk which I need to try and work on to get him to stretch forward and walk out more, we tend to get one or the other. The other was for a circle where you canter the start of the circle but trot before X and he just fell in a bit so lost balance. He also got a 7 for his halt, which I'm pretty pleased with as although it sounds easy, Pea tends to either resist halting or turns his quarters at the last moment! The judge commented that he's a super horse who just needs to work a little more from behind, over a supple back and be accepting of an elastic contact. All things we are trying to work on, but it's a rather slow process with us!
We had half an hour to chill before warming up for our second test. Luckily we were the 4th on as I needed to get back home and also, I hate hanging around for too long between tests so often ask for them to be close together though that doesn't always happen! He was rather eager in the warm-up, and I could tell in trot he was just waiting to explode and spooked at everything! As soon as I asked for canter, he launched forward, sped off and was planning on a few bucks so I decided to do the opposite, pushed him back into a nice trot and eventually just decided to walk round on a long rein. Probably not what's best, however it works for him as he means he relaxes and he doesn't get any more exuberant! I was actually really nervous going in for the test as I had no idea how he would be for canter, and as mentioned, this test is a lot harder than the one before, I just hoped he wouldn't try to kill me! He was actually a super star in his test! Again, lacking bend but his canter was so nice! Didn't buck, or even feel like it! Again, didn't bend well and needs to be straighter in canter but still, I was over the moon with him! We left shortly after so I weren't sure how we scored but Dad reckoned he could here a lot of 6's and 7's as well as saying he heard the judge say at one point he had a nice trot and that I was a happy rider - more to do with the fact I was ready for him to buck! haha! I was shocked when I looked at the scores later to find that he scored 64.17% and came 10th! With some nice looking horses being placed lower than us! The judge commented that he was a very nice little horse who tried really hard but needs to work from my leg into the hand into a soft, round outline but he was quietly ridden! We scored a lot of 6's and 7's, even earning an 8 for our second centre line (there's 3 in this test) and two 5's for canter!
I am so proud of how far Pea has come. I have had him 6 years next week, and although it sounds like we haven't necessarily achieved a lot, I just love riding him now and he honestly tries so hard! He has also qualified for the second round trailblazers again, and hopefully this time I won't forget to find out when the second rounds are!
Thanks for reading,