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PRARG Ribbon Day – Competition Report

woman tightening girth on horse
Written by Andrea Parker

This weekend was one of those blissfully horse filled weekends that leaves you simultaneously exhausted and riding a bit of a high. With the State Championships in my rear view mirror I made the decision to nominate for a club competition at PRARG. Mostly because my lovely friend Chrissie was planning to go.

With Steve away for the weekend also managed to squeeze in a lesson on Saturday morning. With the issue of Nonie getting heavy and bracing against my hand mostly resolved we were able to focus on gymnasticising and further developing the quality of the paces. Lateral work has always been challenging for me and Nonie and Gary was able to explain a different way of approaching this.

After a busy Saturday I crawled into bed around 9pm, an anomaly for this night owl, and was fast asleep in record time. Despite this when my alarm went off the following morning at the fairly reasonable hour of 5.30, I managed to turn that alarm and my back up alarm off without actually waking up.

I must have only gone back to sleep for a few minutes but when I woke up blurry eyed all I thought that it was much closer to 6.30. I didn’t panic perse, but I was out the door in record time and halfway to the paddock when I realised that it was actually only 6.10 and I had plenty of time to spare.

The rest of the morning went off without a hitch. We arrived in plenty of time to make those last minute tweaks to Nonie’s turn out. Although it was a club day and plaiting and jackets were optional I actually really enjoy the process of turning Nonie out for competition, so turned Nonie out like I normally would for a bigger competition.

Very kindly Chrissie arrived early and filmed my first test. And boy am I glad she was able to! I was calm and focused entering the ring. It felt like a solid test and the changes felt clean. I couldn’t be 100% sure though as this is something I still find little tricky to feel. I also knew that there were plenty areas for improvement, such as having more wrap in the halfpass.

After that I was able to capture Chrissie and Poppy’s novice test. It’s been awesome to see these two grow and develop as they form a wonderful partnership. And they totally smashed that test with 70%.

A quick refuel – lucerne for the ponies and the highly nutritious option of Doritos for the humans (because #allfoodsfit) and it was time to do it all again.

By this point it was almost midday and nearing 35 degrees. I wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to get my top boots (which are almost too small at the best of times) to zip up around my calves without cutting off circulation and doing some serious damage.

Somehow, I did and we made it through the second test. Parts of it felt better than the first but other parts I knew weren’t as good. And I had a feeling the sticky change (left to right) was late behind. But once again I was happy overall with the test. The biggest thing was that Nonie didn’t lean on me and she stayed rideable throughout.

I was thrilled when shortly after that Chrissie came over with our first tests and declared us twins for both coming away with blue ribbons. I was even more excited when I saw our score 65.9%, a new personal best! A sheet littered with 7s and confirmation that both the changes were in fact clean.

After a little wait the results of the second test were out, our score was much lower, a 61% but we still manage to win the class.

I enjoyed the low the low pressure atmosphere of the ribbon day and I am looking forward to riding in the PRARG summer series in November and January! In the mean time we’ll be focusing on building strength and flexibility in our training.

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About the author


Andrea is an Adult Amateur dressage rider who competes at medium level on her 13-year-old mare Mon Ami. Andrea shares her journey through the equestrian world on her blog The Sand Arena Ballerina and is working on an equestrian podcast called Equestrian Pulse.