It seems my feet have only just touched the ground after a very busy week at the British Dressage Winter Championships, full of excitement and emotion.
My head girl Rebakah, took her horse Robbie to compete in the Area Festival Finals. He won the Novice Championships last year, but has since moved up a level and is now competing Elementary. She gave it her all, was brave and went for it, despite the torrential rain shower that started and stopped along with her test! But such is life and we know that we can only control the controllables. At least my tests were indoors!
I had my two top horses (since my grand prix horse Weltzin retired) qualified for the Championships at Advanced Medium Open and Freestyle. My new girl Camarilla-Calimero (Cara) was first up the Adv Med Open and as this was our first Championship together, we went for a nice easy round to build her confidence for the future. She felt fantastic, like a real international horse! She made a few green mistakes in the changes, but despite these she still scored a super 70.04% and finished 6th in a very competitive class. Next up was Don Caledonia (Archie). This was our second time at the Championship together, following on from his success in 2014 when he came home with the Medium Open Freestyle title. I have been focussing on getting Archie much fitter over the winter months, which has been paying off, but has also meant that sometime his enthusiasm bubbles over in the test! We had a rather explosive extended canter, which kept our marks down a little but he finished a brilliant 3rd with 70.57%.
Sunday was Archie’s turn in the Advanced Medium Freestyle Championships, which I was very much looking forward to as we have
So Cara and Archie will have a rest now as I’m back off to Oslo teaching. This is my second visit and it’s lovely to see such eager riders. Norway is a still a developing dressage country and all the riders are incredibly keen and thirsty for knowledge. It’s great to be able to pass on all my experience on to them, and we cover not just the training of the horses, but all the management and feeding routines as well.some very funky music to dance to! Archie felt incredible, just the right amount of energy but still soft in his body. Everything happened just as it should in time to the music and we produced a super harmonious test that actually gave me goosebumps as I rode it! I have to admit to being a little emotional at the end of the ride, proper happy tears! I was so proud of Archie giving me his all in the arena and feeling so willing and happy. It was also quite emotional as I won the same championship title with Weltzin in 2008, as he was on his way up to Grand Prix. I was thrilled with Archie, no matter what the result, but we did manage to win the title with a huge 75.83%!
Looking forwards to the rest of the season, I will be aiming Archie and Cara to step up to Small Tour level and get them out to tackle their first PSG’s. Cara is fairly straightforward with her feeding regime, but Archie is a little more of a balancing act. I have to manage his energy levels as he gets fitter and make sure that he has enough, but not too much that it turns into tension. Luckily I have the fantastic Saracen nutritionists on hand for advice.