I’ve just finished school and headed straight to stay on the yard with my trainer, Lucy Cartwright. Kaja is very well… in fact since her last clip, perhaps a little too well! She is bouncing around the outdoor ménage as the wind and the wet weather has prevented turnout, which always makes her hot to handle.
I’ve been attempting to convert this energy into improved cadence and expression in her paces as I want to aim for more 9s at international level next year. I had a few this year for her half passes, but I know she is improving all the time. I’m asking her to stay active behind in her trot, but asking her to transfer the energy into elevation rather than going more forward. Sometimes she goes with it, but sometimes she resists or gets confused and I have to be patient with her.
The canter pirouettes are also a work in progress as neither of us have done them before. We start larger to keep the rhythm, so I have to reduce the first couple of strides now without upsetting the regularity; phew, who said dressage was easy!!!
Music demonstration at Kings Equestrian
While I was in Gloucestershire, I did another music demonstration at Kings Equestrian with Gaynor Colbourn and Zoe Sleigh. It was a wild and windy night and Kaja’s first trip in the new-to-us lorry (read about our recent lorry disaster). She is a typical trakehner mare in that she notices anything new and different so she spent much of the journey playing with the head dividers, trying to bat them away.
The staff at Kings were most welcoming, with a hot food service running and made all the spectators mulled wine and mince pies. It was a nice start to Christmas and I rode with some sparkle attached to Kaja and myself (pictured right). She was beautifully behaved and did her international kur test at the end of the demonstration, which had given her and I great placings in international competitions last year.
A member of the audience asked: “Have you ever had to improvise during your test?” It took me back to Saumur last season where I turned the wrong way and had to do my entire test in reverse! I also rode too quickly and had to slot in an extra circle. Stressful at the time, but a podium place certainly contributed to the sense of relief.
Today I’ve returned home for my friend and fellow squad member Erin William’s Christmas party!!! It’s so nice to meet up outside riding competitions and training, so I will have a lovely time dressing up for a change. It’s rare that I have time to let my hair down so I am going to make the most of it!
Before I sign off for 2013, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my whole team, parents, trainer, Carl Hester, Sam and Bev Brown, all Kaja’s support team on the yard and of course Horse & Hound. I’ve had a year that surpasses all my dreams and I am grateful for every opportunity I’ve been given.
I wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy new year. May 2014 be the best year yet for us all and our horses.