(Photographs taken by @EquiScot)
The year has now started to gather pace. The Winter Championships have been rescheduled to take place at Hartpury in mid August. But after much deliberation we decided not to go. In many ways it would have been perfect....outside classes, minimal people around etc BUT there is still a risk. We felt that we've done so much to stay as safe as we can, that at this point it wasn't worth doing.
At the start of August I had my first training session with Paul Hayler since the start of March. Humphrey & Darcy were able to show that they had both come on hugely & benefited from lessons & it was so good to be pushed that bit harder to ask for more....& get it!
Resumption of Scottish competition has just been allowed & I am looking forwards to getting out & about up here. We have made a trip down to Alnwick Ford Equestrian with Darcy as English regulations were slackened sooner than up here. It was her first time out in 5 months, only her 4th competition & first time at Alnwick but she was so good! I've yet to get the forwardness that I have at home but it is coming😊. As we are able to add the points that we had already gained for Summer Regional qualification to the what we get in the autumn for Winter Regional qualification her 72.67% meant that she completed her in Novice Gold. Darcy then got 76.9% in the Novice Freestyle, so is well on her way to gaining this as well.
Another session with Paul with both Humphrey & Darcy & I got a gold star for my completed homework….phew! Self carriage, balance & ability to take weight behind all improving in regards to their level of training….so onwards to the next level & the first Scottish competition at Morris EC. Darcy did the 5yo Young Horse Qualifier & was 2nd with 7.78. We have qualified for the YH Championships down at Keysoe but have decided that as she hasn’t been able to do any long journeys yet for training, one for a competition is a big ask for a young horse. She also did her first Elementary that day, I did pick a ‘friendlier’ one for her to do & even though there were a couple of big-ish blips she got 72.07%. She is gaining confidence & with that has the more genuine forwardness that she has at home.
Humphrey completed his Medium Gold Regional qualification at Morris, started his Medium Freestyle Gold qualification & did his first ever Advanced Medium!! I was very happy, even though it was only Advanced Medium 85 as it was our first public appearance with changes & happily they came off - time for me to breath & be more confident!
Humphrey then returned to Morris for HorseScotland training, I also had a fitness assessment & physio. The training is a good check of where I am with Humphrey & a chance to get another eye on how he is progressing. Ideas are talked through, tried & are added to my toolbox to use within our work at home - thanks Erik.
I am hearing ‘for your age’ an awful lot these days!! This happened again in my fitness assessment….supposedly living in the lorry, increased work & the Covid lockdown has benefited me - thinner, fitter, stronger, better balanced & a metabolic age of 15+yrs less than I actually am - ALL GOOD!! My physio session was sadistically ouch but it’s a means to an end & I know it benefits me!
After Morris we took Humphrey back to Alnwick Ford to do another Medium Freestyle & a harder Advanced Medium test. His Medium Freestyle Gold qualication is now complete with a great mark of 76.59%. His Advanced Medium had improved work on the week before but the number of changes had more than doubled, so no mega mark but enough to gain valuable points gained towards his Winter Regional qualification.
Like buses, none come for ages & then they all come at once!
Humphrey then headed to SNEC for their first dressage competition. He was good but was 0.21% away from finishing his qualification for Advanced Medium. Unfortunately a non-changes malfunction; my half halt correction on the centre line was misunderstood as a signal to halt resulting in a 4 - too clever for his own good!! On the good side it was an overall win, more qualifying points have been gained & as they say practice makes perfect!!