Given that 2018 is more than halfway over I thought it was high time for an update. Its safe to say that 2018 has not gone quite to plan. We certainly haven’t achieved all the goals that I set for us at the start of the year, but have learned a lot and we have made some exciting progress.
Over the previous six months we had qualified for the Equimind Winter Championships (https://equimind.co.uk/) held in March. Although coats and plaiting was waived, due to Europe being under a blanket of snow, I decided to plait up anyway. We warmed up and rode through the test.
I normally pop my camera on a tripod and film tests on my own without incident. However, I stupidly didn’t watch my test back before leaving the arena. When I got back home I realised that about half of my work at the top of the arena was not within the camera frame. I would need to try again!
The next opportunity to do so was at the following Friday, which also happened to be the deadline for video submission. Fortunately I’d planned to have that day off work in order to get ready for my first ‘real life’ competition of the year.
That day didn’t quite go to plan though. I had quite a few odd jobs which I needed to get done and by early afternoon as I was about to head back to the paddock to film my test and plait Nonie up, my dog Sailor started to be sick meaning a trip to the vets. When we got back from the vets I realised that I had locked myself out of the house and had to wait for my partner to let me in. This left me a little short on time, but we still managed to get it filmed and produce a test which was good enough to win the medium class.
The next day we had a brilliant start to our competition season scoring over 70% in both our elementary and medium tests at a local t-shirt day. Unfortunately, on the trip to and from the competition Nonie started scrambling quite badly. Something that I later figured out was the result of me changing from an extended back to a regular length rump bar in order for my friend to travel up with us. During this scrambling Nonie sustained an injury to her sacroilliac region.
Our equine body worker Penny was on the case for us and with mutiple sessions and at least a month of riding straight lines, squares and very gentle lateral work we got her over the injury.
During this time we received the exciting news that we had been selected as Brand Ambassadors for Keratex Hoofcare (https://www.keratex.com/). I love their products and can see the huge difference they are making to Nonie’s feet. My favourite is the Keratex Hoof Moisturiser which is absorbed quickly into the hoof meaning that it doesn’t rub off five minutes after you put it on. It really seems to be helping to manage Nonie’s feet which have a tendency to be on the dry and brittle side.
Fortunately the time when I was able to start bringing her back into proper work aligned perfectly with a clinic with Danielle Keogh. We produced some awesome work in the double bridle. Following these lessons we hit a bit of a slump in our training. I was struggling with the basics like straightness and connection. So we started having some lessons with local rider, coach and judge Nancy Baretta. These lessons were important in helping me get back on track, gain some traction and start making progress forward again. Since then we have been really focusing on increasing the bend through the lateral work in addition to improving the connection.
We had missed our first official competition of the 2018 season due to Nonie’s injury and we missed our second one due to our riding having gone somewhat off track. But in the last couple of months, we have ventured back out into the competition ring. With two competitions we were able to achieve one of our key goals for 2018, to qualify for the Australian Adult Amateur Owner Rider Dressage Championships!
This feels huge to me, if we make the cut it will be me first National Championships. And it almost didn’t happen this year. I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed that we will get to dance down the centreline at an National Championships in 2018.
How is your year is shaping up? Let me know by dropping a comment below.