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Sunday, 2 July 2017

6 Picks...of 6 Months

Wow...half way through the year already!! Where did six months disappear to? So I suppose we should start by look at what we wanted to achieve & what we have achieved in the first half of the year.

2017 Goals:

  • Become established at Prelim level dressage, and nearer the end of the year, look to affiliate to British Dressage, while stepping up to Novice unaffiliated

    Our prelim scores are improving, and Louie is gradually getting longer in his frame with much more confidence in taking the contact forward & down. In May, we went through a very spooky time in our dressage, but with a bit of hard work, is back on track. We have had a go at British Dressage - winning our section - & still aim to affiliate later in the year. The only thing that will stop that is the success we are having at riding club level. If I affiliate, I re-activate my BD record & points, which includes elementary points, which would restrict me out of RC prelim national competitions. We recently qualified for the Northern Regional Championships in August so we won't be affiliating while that's going on. Depending on how our unaffiliated prelims continue to go, we will try to step up before the end of the year.
  • Take part in more riding club activities, including competitions, training & team activities, as well as unmounted activities too

    I can give this a nice big tick! ✅
    This year I got involved with the Newcastle Riding club's winter dressage league, but unfortunately due to work commitments and a couple of other things, I only managed to catch the tail end of it with the last one in April. We were also meant to be part of the Winter dressage qualifiers, but unfortunately, had to pull out to give Louie the once over. However, we were fortunate to head to Richmond Equestrian recently to take part in the Summer Area 2 qualifiers with the team - we came 3rd and grabbed a space at the championships in August at Bishop Burton! We also enjoyed a day in the sun at the club's combined training in June, coming home with a big smile, a bit of a tan, and even some ribbons!

  • Have a go at a few more unaffiliated hunter trials or one day events

    Not yet! We do need to put a bit more time into this, and have only been cross country schooling once this year, but with a summer ahead, we're hoping to do some more!
  • Affiliate to British Showjumping Club & do more showjumping competitions towards the end of the year

    Not yet! Our showjumping is still on its way, and it's not something I'm going to rush into. Having seen the negative impacts of pushing a young horse too soon out of its comfort zone, & with many very wise people advising be patient and go at the horse's pace, not the pace of others, i'm prepared to take the time it needs (as frustrating as it can be at times!)
  • Have fun!!

    ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
    Every day is a fun day. We've taken a whole new look - no matter how sh*t the day was, find the positives, only use the negatives as learning points. Even at our worst ever dressage (not by the scores!!) - yes, we really did leave the arena - there were lots of positives to take. In our next tests (combined training with the riding club), we took all of the learnings to make sure even when things felt like they would go south, they didn't. 

Six Picks of 6 Months

I did this at the start of 2017, to look back at 2016 through a 6 Picks post. So, as we've reached the first six months of this year, I thought I'd do the same!

I've picked good times & bad as one thing that I've learnt in 2017 is how to learn...

So my first pic is from the rather embarrassing moment of leaving the dressage arena (at speed) and cantering across the next arena, before coming back to complete our test. 

We did a whole post about how to cope with when it just is not your day... Reflecting to create this post really helped me pick out the positives and use the things that went wrong to do it better next time. We put these into practice the next time we were at a dressage competition and things went much MUCH better!

The next pic I have chosen is from the once in a lifetime opportunity to have a one-to-one coaching session with Yogi Breisner! I opted for flatwork and was so glad I did - we just worked on something so simple, so basic and yet so important. The consistent and confident contact. It is something I have always struggled with when riding Louie, and the tips and techniques that he taught me were so easy to apply and keep going in everyday training, without the need for someone to be on the ground. 

If you've ever got the opportunity to have a session with Yogi, I would highly recommend it!

Next up, our first pleasure ride and completely solo. Louie used to be very nervous out hacking, often worried to go forward, or past unknown things. We spent a lot of time hacking out with a friend, and throughout the winter have mostly been hacking out solo. Louie has grown in confidence, but hasn't really discovered new routes.

Louie was great, really going forward and enjoying every step! A little too keen - my learning was to not go in a rubber loose ring snaffle again or possibly not to go on a pleasure ride again for a while!!

The next pic was of our first British Dressage outing, winning the section. It was minus 4, and we could have definitely warmed up a lot better if we'd taken advantage of the large outdoor, rather than squashing into the small 20x30 indoor warmup - I'm sure there was probably only about 1 degree temperature difference anyway!

Depending on our riding club successes, we'll be out doing British Dressage again nearer the end of the year!

One thing we've started to cover more on the blog is events, covering Badminton, Bramham & Belsay this year (maybe the event needs to start with a 'B'!). With such busy lives, it's nice for Andrew, Harry & I to enjoy a day out in the sun at local events like Belsay, and in this photo, we were enjoying a break from walking the cross country course, soaking up a bit of sun, and generally enjoying a chilled out weekend!

Our final pic, is one of my favourites of just Louie & I standing together. It may seem slow progress to some, but our journey has come so far in just these six months. The progression on the flat, the improved confidence in the showjumping, he is starting to grow up overall... I'm really looking forward to keeping up the momentum and what the next 6 months & beyonds holds for us.

I really hope that you've enjoyed the last six months following us and hearing about our adventures, & that you'll continue to enjoy following us into the future.

If you've enjoyed our post, make sure you pin it for others to read too!

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