It was the first official day of competition for us yesterday (Friday) with our dressage in the morning. I couldn’t decide the night before whether to give Feu a gentle leg stretch before our test at 9.42am, but in the end I thought the better of it. I headed down to the stables at 7.30am to feed and plait him ready for his test.
We’ve managed to perfect a new quarter mark pattern of a checker board; which actually really suits Feu. Due to the fact that I am acting as rider and groom for Blair, I had all of my competition gear on with waterproofs over the top, which we whipped off before I got on — an ideal method for keeping clean, especially for me as I seem to be able to get my white breeches dirty within five minutes of putting them on!
The warm up for the dressage was unlike any other I have been to and suited Feu and I perfectly. The main warm up is in one of the further fields and with about 10 minutes to go until your test, you move into a smaller warm up right by the arena. Here there are full size dressage arenas set up (complete with white boards) where the last few minutes before your test are spent having one final run through. This really worked for us as Feu needs quite a lot of warming up; with a more intense session just before we go in.
For someone who really enjoys their jumping, I loved every moment of being in the main arena doing my test; it was such a special moment and it actually made mum come close to tears.
Feu did a super test, with our best international mark of 39.4 leaving us in a competitive position heading into today’s cross-county. We’ve worked so hard on Feu’s counter canter, and today it paid off. Two weeks ago when I went to my dressage trainer, Sara-Jane Lanning, Feu couldn’t even manage the short side in counter canter without breaking, but today he cracked it all and managed all of the counter canter without fault. There were a few other blips here and there but all in all I couldn’t be prouder of him. He even managed a square halt at the end!
Having managed to dodge the rain, we then all headed out on course walk. Mum and I had tried to walk it on Thursday but with the grassroots event on, a lot of rope needed moving ready for our course — so all in all it got a bit confusing and we gave up. Today however, the course is all ready and looking fantastic. It’s a really lovely flowing course with a few technical questions, so we’ll see how it goes.
We’ve managed to find the food hall here at Blair and so have stocked up the lorry with various types of bread and cheese which we’d finished yesterday, and managed to watch some more showing at the same time.
I gave Feu a leg stretch yesterday afternoon ready for today — I just hoping he’s in his usual keen frame of mind when it’s our turn to to cross-country. I tried out my new competition gloves, generously given to me by Just Chaps and I will be using them today too, so I hope they bring me luck! I’ve got to try and relax now and let what will be, be.
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