As we glided across the arena, Bramble’s (Wall Street VB) incredible cadence actually made me feel like a dressage rider. We turned down the centre line, halted and saluted. I thought to myself: “Wow, I actually really enjoyed that.”
Now this is not a thought that enters my mind all that often when it comes to dressage, but I have been trying to engulf myself with, and embrace this discipline over the past few weeks as it is my weak link.
With setting goals, lessons and lots of outings where we have accrued numerous rosettes recently, I’m feeling like I am getting somewhere. The shows are well organised and I’ve had really good experiences so far, but there are one or two things that confuse me about British Dressage (BD).
In British Eventing, included in your membership is a rule book and every dressage test you’ll ever need, which are also available to download on the website.
In BD it’s necessary to purchase all the tests in addition to your membership and they are not available to download from the BD website.
I was at Vale View Equestrian Centre recently and a fellow competitor sheepishly told me that she had gone wrong, but only because she had learnt her test by watching it performed on YouTube the night before as she could not find a copy of it without having to pay for it. She needn’t have been embarrassed, as I have had exactly the same problem myself. This seems really rather ridiculous to me. Is it that difficult to have them available on the BD website like how us eventers conveniently have access to ours?
I also find the new bronze, silver and gold sectioning confusing and I put this down to my lack of experience in dressage circles (excuse the pun), but my experienced dressage friends say the same, although I am told the impact of these changes are currently monitored. The BD office is very helpful on the phone, but I have no doubt they could be using their time better than answering queries from people like me about sectioning.
On Tuesday, after another grilling of dressage lessons with Harry Payne, and having been rather “dressaged out”, I took a load of horses to jump at Vale View that afternoon. It was wonderful and I really enjoyed myself with a lorry full of really rather gifted horses on board. Lucky Simon.
We travelled home and turned the lorry round ready for departing for another BD show the following day. I was feeling inspired after an excellent and productive day.
2am. You know that feeling, you wake and as you quietly come round think to yourself: “I feel a tiny bit queasy” and roll over thinking nothing of it. Then all of a sudden you are springing out of bed like a unicorn, and running seemingly faster than Usain Bolt to the bathroom, then dive as elegantly as Tom Daley towards the loo and decorate it in a Lawrence Lewellyn Bowen fashion. I became very well acquainted with our bathroom for the next 12 hours and BD had to wait. In the words of owner, Polly Taylor, this was a “very extreme way of getting out of doing a few dressage tests!” Luckily this sickness bug only lasted 24 hours and I was back in the saddle very quickly.
With the eventing season looming, the horses are getting back into the swing of work and their fitness is at a stage that I’m happy with. I feel they need to be a stage ahead in fitness at this point, as with inevitable changes in weather it’s easy for them to miss work in the months of January and February.
I was all prepped to go showjumping on Sunday (17 January) before the snow came along. Unfortunately the lane to my yard is lethal when we have snow, so we had to stay at home — I hope this does not become a theme.
With lots of shows lined up and horses to get out and about, I can’t wait to keep you posted on the horse’s progress in 2016.
PS. If you want to keep up with the goings on at Team Simon, please do go to and like our new Facebook page, Simon Grieve Event Team.