Well, I am very excited! If you have been following my blog for a while, you may notice that I don’t actually publish that much about myself on here. Mainly because I feel that I don’t do anything interesting enough to blog about and actually compared to when I was younger and competing and jumping all the time I actually feel that my level is not what it used to be. This is because as an adult I have stopped and started riding many times, sometimes with long breaks in between. And now when I ride I have been hacking and having the odd lesson but not doing anything particularly exciting.
However, after having a few lessons on Mya with her owner Katie. I realised that actually we have been progressing quite nicely. I set myself a goal of entering an online dressage competition at the end of last year and failed to do it. As it is fair to say Mya and I have taken quite a while to work nicely together. When I say this it doesn’t mean we don’t like each other. Its the opposite in fact I adore her and I think she is pretty fond of me too. It is that we are both quite sensitive girls together. Both of us had a long time off, before I started riding her, Mya due to an injury and me due to moving to France etc. So our first year together was enjoyable, but I was starting to feel that we hadn’t made much progress. It wasn’t all plain sailing though, we had some trouble with Mya being difficult to handle in the winter that really knocked my confidence with her. It affected me on the ground and in the saddle. Her unpredictability was not fun and she reared a few times in hand with me which really frightened me. I had some problems with her spooking quite violently in the arena, napping going out of the yard and bucking when we were cantering. God actually this makes her sound awful which wasn’t the case! But you can see my point of not making any progress! However I persevered. At times I wondered why. But I am so glad that I did. A massive milestone for me was back in May. I went for my first proper riding lesson in years. In French! I had put this off due to being worried I wouldn’t understand anything that the instructor was saying but it actually went very well. I rode Campi a very sensitive little horse in the torrential rain. Where I had to succumb to the less is more tactic on this little coiled spring that they had put me on! After riding Campi around for an hour with long reins despite her feeling like she was going to gallop away, I realised that I actually knew Mya quite well and compared to that fizzy, prancey little horse I could actually anticipate what naughtiness Mya had instore for me now. Campi didn’t make me fall off and Mya hasn’t yet either. What am I feeling frightened of?
So, I went back to Mya with new confidence and haven’t looked back. I realised I now knew when she would be likely to canter across the arena bucking with me and if she did I would just sit it out like I always do. This happened a couple of times and then I would just ask for canter again until she wasn’t doing it anymore. She hasn’t done it for months now. It no longer frightened me. I realised it wasn’t building up to anything else, that’s all she does. The spooks in the arena have got less frequent too and she gets an assertive tap with the whip instead of my passiveness before. If we hadn’t been able to ride for a few days, we started to lunge her before we got on and this helped my confidence greatly too. Mya loved having a canter on the lunge and it was wonderful getting on a nicely calm warmed up horse instead of a coiled spring.
So without realising our rides soon drastically improved fast after that. We hacked out with confidence. I could cope with and not be afraid of her spinning if she did try and nap going out of the yard. I started to trust her again and now she could look to me for reassurance. Something I was not able to give her before. Mya has taught me to be a bit more assertive than I like to be too. However now I don’t need to be as much. Well not all the time! We had a few more sessions with Katie and did things in the arena that I wouldn’t of even considered trying to do alone. Cantering around the arena no handed was a highlight! A particularly memorable trust exercise that Katie used to prove that Mya would not gallop away or buck with me and that I should learn to trust her again. It worked as she didn’t and hasn’t since. Over the summer we hacked out frequently with Katie and Galaxy totally relaxed and when it was cool enough we schooled in the arena practising dressage tests, working in an outline and leg yielding (I need practice with all those things not Mya) until I went on holiday for 3 weeks in August.
So I was absolutely delighted that after having a month off in August that Mya was going as beautifully as she was before I went away. Mya ended up having August off too, as she developed a cough. So the week I returned from holiday, Katie showed me how to use a Pessoa and we lunged Mya in that. I was quite taken with it. Mya looked beautiful and I really felt that she had worked as hard or even harder than she would of if she had been ridden. Then this week Katie and I rode her and she went beautifully. So beautifully in fact that we have entered an online dressage competition! I am so excited!
We decided to enter with E-Riders.co.uk and they have made their own prelim/novice test that looks great. We decided to enter that next month, as it is a fairly straight forward dressage test but it does include movements like rein back and turn on the forehand, which I think will be really challenging! I had to you tube what turn on the forehand was actually! It’s fine I know now, but this show jumper has rather limited dressage experience and it is starting to show! But when I went online to print off that test, I noticed that E-Riders are running a charity event in September, which is Prelim 1. So we have entered that too! We have to video that test this week as it has to be submitted by 30 September! We ran through the test on Wednesday and I was so proud. Mya went beautifully. Katie and I each did the test a few times and she was amazing with both of us. I was on a high all day after. Not only because I felt that I was riding at a standard I can be proud of again but because my passion has been revived well and truly again. I am not a nervous rider anymore. I never was when I had my own and feeling frightened is not fun. It makes you feel rubbish and silly.
So even if I do not get placed. It would make my year if I get a rosette though I’m not going to lye. I have my eyes on one and will try my best to get one, but if I don’t that’s ok too as I am so happy to back doing what I love! I am not a dressage rider. I only ever did flat work when I was made to so I could jump. As an adult I have a secret dream of eventing but thought it would always just be a dream as my dressage is so bad. But maybe there is hope for this show jumper yet! Maybe I will be back out jumping soon too. I suddenly feel anything is possible and it is great!
Have a great week.