Happy Easter Honeychoppers – I hope you are currently making your way through a big heap of Easter Eggs, I think this time of year it’s acceptable to have chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner isn’t it?! I haven’t had any chocolate so far (BORING I KNOW!) – I  am trying to be good and save myself for a trip to Kaspa’s later today for WAFFLES!  Yum Yum.

March has been a really busy month for Mikey and I, I decided in order to try and get my nerves a bit more under control and generally get back in to the swing of going out and about again a few lessons away from home and a few shows close together might do me some good – and I think my plan might of just helped!  Overall the nerves seem to be settling a bit, so a few more months and hopefully we should be on the right tracks!

You will remember I had qualified for the Chiltern and Thames Rider Magazine Dressage Championships, so the last few weeks were about some final tweaks and improvements in our flat work in readiness for that, I had a couple of lessons with Tom Graham over at his yard in Twyford Mill, Tom always gets the best out of us, and gives me plenty of things to work on back at home which is really useful (although I can never get Mikey going quite as well if Tom isn’t there!).

We did manage a cheeky British Dressage outing, but boy oh boy was it a cold one, the dressage champs were at Bury Farm and we haven’t been there for well over a year so really wanted a run there, after the dressage I had entered a few weeks ago got cancelled because of the snow I decided to give BD a go so I could at least get Mikey over to Bury Farm again, it was our first BD for well over a year.  The venue actually abandoned the show in the end due to lots of competitors not being about to get to the venue after a second dumping of snow but we did manage to get there  easily enough so were able to compete, the warm up was indoors and we were allowed to park in one of the outdoor arenas so competed with no problems.  I hadn’t learnt the tests which I always find effects my riding on the day as I cant plan ahead enough for where I am going, but I didn’t want to learn them 5 days before the champs and then end up confusing myself as for the champs the tests wouldn’t be allowed to be called, my trusty friend Candice came and helped me braving the cold to help me warm up and call my tests, overall I was really pleased with how the tests felt, apart from the walk, walk in a test has always let us down, Mikey seems to go one of 2 ways, jogs from tension or walks so slow and behind the leg I feel like we might stop, despite the walk we managed a whooping 71% and 73% – I was over the moon.  That will give us 2 sheets towards the 3 we need for the Petplan BD champs too so bring on the next BD outing I say!

A very cold day at Bury Farm for the BD outing!

I have been working on the walk over the last few weeks to try and improve it and one of the exercises that came out of one of my lessons was to think shoulder fore in to the downwards transitions, it has helped and my goal for the dressage champs was to improve on how the walk felt, I wasn’t expecting to be able to do much about the score in such a short period of time, but I just wanted to feel some progress and less like I was riding a goat!

We had 2 tests for the dressage champs, a prelim and a novice, first job was to learn both tests as no callers were allowed as it was a champs – I don’t know about you but I find this almost impossible – learning 2 tests to ride in one day but I had been looking at the tests every day for 3 weeks and thankfully they managed to stay in my head!

My nerves weren’t too bad either, I just wanted to try and remember it’s supposed to be fun and not put too much pressure on myself which is what I tend to do.

The prelim test felt really good – in fact I felt like it was maybe the best ever test we’ve ridden – the scores started very well indeed with 3 x 8’s but sadly the scores fell a little as the rest went on, whilst we scored a respectable score of 67% it wasn’t enough for a ribbon, which was disappointing but I have watched the video back and am really pleased with how it went.

Flicking his toes in the medium trot!

The tests felt good!

Smiles all round after our tests!

Next up was the novice, we had a blip in the 15m canter circle back to the track when Mikey decided to drop me and trot, naughty pony, but apart from that the test felt pretty good.  We managed a 68.9% in the novice for a 4th place and a jolly love green ribbon!

Honeychop very kindly provided all the competitors  a free sample – so Mikey enjoyed snacking on that between classes.   All in all a very good day.

Mikey has been doing a bit of modelling this week, he was used as the horse model for the new Equetech Autumn / Winter range – I know I am biased about how handsome he is, but I can’t wait to see the pics.

Mikey chilling out between outfit changes at the Equetech photoshoot

Mikey also had his regular appointment with Sarah his Osteo / Vet Physio this month, he’s been a bit sore behind the saddle so I was glad she was able to treat him and make him more comfortable, I had planned on giving him a couple of easy weeks anyway after such a busy March.  The next day we had a saddle fitting and it seems my saddles aren’t quite right, so I am looking at getting those changed to make him more comfortable, I think as he has improved muscle over the last few months his shoulders are bigger causing his saddles to pinch a little – watch this space but I think 2 new saddles are in order – my bank account is quivering at the thought.

Enjoy the rest of your Bank Holiday, what ever you are doing and lets hope this weather picks up over the next few weeks so it feel’s a bit more like spring!

Until next time

Laura and Mikey x