January 2021 was an exciting month for me as I managed to do my first online dressage test on Gracie. It had only been 1 month since she had come home from being backed so I was thrilled to even be able to think about getting back to my online dressage. I loved doing online dressage on Mya and have really missed doing it since I stopped riding her. For an old blog about my first test with Mya click here.

Gracie was only backed by my instructor in November/December. So I was so so pleased that we were in a position to do a dressage test in January. I picked to do an intro test. E-Riders 1E, which is only walk and trot. As we are still working on our canter at the moment.

I felt proud that our lessons had been paying off as I have been having so many. Firstly because if I am brutally honest I felt a bit overwhelmed with a 4 year old untrained horse. I didn’t want to ruin her. I felt nervous of what I could do to ‘ruin’ the stuff my instructor had taught her and I felt a little lost as to what to actually do with Gracie. So having lessons with her meant I didn’t have to think about that as my instructor would! However as the weeks went on and I started trusting Gracie more and more things naturally became easier. I bought some books about schooling exercises and training young horses and I started my own little folder of inspiration for pole work and schooling ideas.

Our solo rides became less and less of a worry for me as even I could feel our progress. My friend and now coach Kate asked if I wanted to be part of a team for the E-Riders online dressage league and I jumped at the chance. The league starts in February so I had January to practice and submit a test without any pressure.

Gracie went absolutely beautifully when I chose to video my test. I did the test beaming! She resembled a giraffe at times but kept a lovely rhythm throughout the test and was obedient to my commands. I was delighted.

I guessed that our score would be in the late 50%’s as I was regularly scoring the low 60%’s with Mya, who was very well schooled. Just due to Gracie’s green-ness. So when my results showed that we scored 56.2% I was pleased with that. With E-riders you get your score and position online and then you wait for your test sheet to be posted to you at a later date.

As I live in France and it was posted from the UK it took several weeks to receive my test sheet. The judge’s comments were so lovely and supportive. But the thing that surprised me was that the judge clearly stated that I had missed a movement. WHAT?!! I didn’t do the second 20m circle in trot. I just carried on to the next movement. What an idiot!! So I had a big fat zero for my second 20m circle and a deduction of 2 points for an error. I quickly counted that if hadn’t had 2 points deducted and had scored 5 (which was the average of the rest of movements) I would have scored 63%!!!! O.M.G! As frustrating as that was I was still over the moon with Gracie and made a vow to myself that I will never do that again. I am not going to beat myself up because of it, as at the end of the day it is meant to be fun and it was. I am just so god damn pleased with my baby pony!!

I am off to LEARN this month’s test, as I am filming my February test tomorrow.

Happy riding everyone!

Louise & Gracie xx

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