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Tuesday, 1 May 2018

April Round Up

Following our move in March & feeling settled at our new yard, I’d decided April was the time to get back out & about.

Before we start with that...April showed us our first glimpse that we might end up with some spring time weather after all - 1st of April, Easter Sunday, & these views while out on a morning hack...👌🏻

Just 24hrs later, we got a sharp and cold reminder that it was in fact a) Britain, and b) a bank holiday

Due to the recent bad weather, the British Showjumping academy we had booked on had to be postponed by a week. So early April we headed north to Titlington Equestrian Centre for a group showjumping lesson. The weather didn’t “disappoint” and we got SOAKED! ☔️

During the session we did some really great exercises, all about turning and creating a need for the horse to listen as to where to go. Louie brought his A-game and was a total star, despite the bad weather and his inexperience in group lessons. On the other hand, I had a total stinker!! The only way to describe it was watching helmet cam footage of me riding... I could feel everything I needed to, I understood how to adapt the riding, I felt confident, and I understood all direction from Philippa. But could I piece it together? Could I heck!

A definite off day for me.

So, being frustrated, I booked straight back in the following week for a private session. It was much better, I was much more together, and I left feeling confident & enthused. Totally the opposite of the week before.

In between my jump training, I had a BRILLIANT flat session with Cathy back at Pegasus, enjoying for the first time in 2018 an outside session...and without a full jacket! We continued to work on lengthening and getting the swing to his stride.

It seemed to work well, as the following weekend we were back out doing British Dressage for the first time since early January. It fell on Louie’s birthday...& there’s no better way to celebrate than winning yourself two red ribbons and two 70+% scores!

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During the middle of April, I was completing at 12 month intense Leadership course, and spend a week with a 20 strong team of truly inspirational & motivational people that had taken the same journey with me. I got to enjoying the stunning sights cruising through the Oslo Fjords, while being put through my paces in training & coaching skills for people development...with some abseiling down the side of the ship we were on thrown in for good measure!

Why do I mention this on my horse blog? Well...because the focus & mentality that I have learnt over the past year can be instantly transferred into my equestrian life. I just need to practice putting it into practice in that environment more! Because let’s be fair, if a team can support me enough to help me focus & overcome not one, but two, of my deepest fears (heights & suspension), doing something I love should be an easy thing to focus my mind on.

To be clear, I have no real fear of riding, but overthink every step, am hyper critical & both of these lead to overcomplicating things. Bringing this focus should help me alienate these old habits!

Back to our round up... & back to doing this 👇🏻

Even better was to receive email confirmation that we have qualified for PetPlan Area Festivals!!

The last weekend of April, I’d entered another dressage. I was really looking forward to it and wanted to see how Louie had progressed from how green he was last time we were at this venue, just four months ago.

He warmed up lovely, and giving credit to Andrew, he was able to assist with when Louie’s poll wasn’t quite up and out enough, and when he needed a touch more forwardness. I really appreciated the small memos he gave as we trotted by.

Louie went into his first test, and using the mirrors down the side while trotting around the edge, I was thrilled...he looked sensational. Really strutting his stuff.

We were beeped in, and that’s when I went to pot... What a tool! I well and truly f*cked it up - I piled all the pressure on for a PERFECT test as soon as I entered at A.

Here’s the test... Tension leading to breaking into canter, no swing through his back, and the neck being too high...

I was frustrated, but knew if I let it bother me too much, the next test would be even worse. So I just focused on a more relaxed picture and overall test. I think we achieved that.

It was our first Novice and while heaps to improve on, I much more enjoyed the speed at which this movements come to you, and that I think this took my energy away from trying to ride a perfect test.

I learnt a lot about dealing with pressure that day, but one thing I was pleased about was how Louie had coped. While he became tense, he didn’t react to the pressure. Watching back it is almost like he’s looking out of the corner of his eye saying “will you just give yourself a break up there!?”

Who knew it...that Louie became the sensible one 😂

The end of April has had some beautiful evening weather so we’ve been able to enjoy time in the arena and out hacking after a busy day at the desk!

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