W GET SMART NEEDED A JOLLY DAY!

I decided in September that after all our dressage outings W GET SMART NEEDED A JOLLY DAY! Watson (W Get Smart) hadn’t really done much jumping since Hoys 2014 so we played with a little bit at home and he jumped so ridiculously well. So as I hadn’t had time to campaign for the Workers Championships at HOYS at all this season as our dressage commitments took priority there was one last qualifier left – so off we went to be JOLLY!

Watson is such a pro.

He jumped an astonishingly great round, rode fabulously for the judge and we only went and won and took the Heavyweight Working Hunter Title! I went there for a day off and to give Watson a bit of fun, I certainly didn't expect that to happen! But I loved that my horse had such a fun day swapping his work at Grand Prix at home for a bit of jumping. Not many riders can claim to have a horse working at Grand Prix at home who can go out and take a Workers title. What a horse!

I enjoyed jumping too - the girl’s still got it…

 

Dressage at HOYS

My goal this season was to be doing the dressage at HOYS with INTO THE BLUE and not the Workers, but after being in the qualifiers for the Inter I Freestyle for most of the season at the last look it seemed that I had just missed out. To say I was gutted was an understatement but I made a vow to get there in 2016. Yes I know I shouldn't really have jumped just before the British Dressage National Championships but you know me, a bit impetuous!

It was fantastic to get a wild card to ride at the National Champs. However Into the Blue was just too well and I made mistakes with my timing due to worrying about him staying calm. I am now very aware I get my horses too well and fit and while that’s great I need to ensure they are able to keep their exuberance with life a little more contained. It’s something of an art that I must seriously master, the fitness/calmness balance, as it can ruin that one shot we have in the arena. Hhe is such an amazing horse that I'm hoping will be much more suited to the higher levels to keep his amazing mind occupied. He loved competing at Stoneleigh and his vocal accompaniments to his flying changes kept the crowds and the judges amused!

We had planned that that was our last dressage outing for the year and that I was going to HOYS to purely help my clients and pupils who had all qualified for various showing classes. They all rode brilliantly and I was very proud with all of them coming home with rosettes! I also gave Tim Gredley some “old girl” advice (as he calls me) in the working hunters, he too went on to win! There was me thinking that I wouldn’t be riding there but on the Monday evening..... I got the call.

HOYS rang to invite me to compete in the Mount St. John Future Elite Freestyle. My dreams came true and of course I said yes. Only problem was that I was not as prepared as the others in the class but I was just thrilled to be there doing the best thing ever – DRESSAGE. Dynamo was hilarious in the fact that he was expecting there to be jumps in the arena and loved the attention from my showing mates all day. What was wonderful was that all the showing fraternity actually got to see me riding rather than just hearing about it. It might have all gone a little wrong in my test but this is only the second time I have ever ridden to music so I will learn from my mistakes but WOW, the crowd were amazing. Supporting me from the start to the end of my test and I was blown away from the support and I can't thank you all enough.

Liz Edgar my trainer from years past was there to watch and she came to see me after and said such kind words. I think even though I made mistakes people could see what's to come in the future. Michael Eilberg my biggest supporter and friend told me where it had gone wrong and why and also gave advice for the future for some of the movements. But as most of you know you have to learn from your mistakes and I was so grateful he was there so thank you Michael!

I have so much to learn in dressage. I still feel like a part timer desperately trying to turn into a full time dressage rider - that jumps every now and again for fun. But I do think variety keeps you young and your horses fresh and to top it all off I got back at midnight from HOYS and then had a 5am start for autumn hunting the following day.

Now I haven’t been hunting for about 3 years and what a blast it was. We had a wonderful morning and it makes you realise that horses are incredible creatures that can do so many different things in so many social settings. With only 4 hours sleep I came back after hunting to make the obligatory hunting breakfast for everyone and then snuck off back to my bed – only to wake up 10 HOURS later! So this autumn I will be working my beautiful baby Zack and preparing him for next season to hopefully come out at small tour and Into the Blue and W Get Smart will have their Grand Prix debut - it's going to be one heck of a winter!

LOVE IT…. Love Lou

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