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The road to the Badminton Mitsubishi Cup: ‘My mind went completely blank’

I hope that you all had a good Easter break and a lovely pony-tastic weekend. Sara (Donner Sara B) and I have been working hard on our dressage this week. Generally speaking we can put in a balanced and rhythmical test but it tends to be a bit downhill and lacking “oomph”.

I like to test out my school work at a competition. I can remember what I should be doing in the school, but add in remembering a test and competition pressure and it is a different story. It really highlights the areas that I need to work on for them to become second nature.

>>> The road to the Badminton Mitsubishi Cup: Not going to plan

Our first outing of the long weekend was to Foxes Dressage for a novice and an elementary test. Apparently Good Friday dressage is very popular and Sara was less than impressed when I started plaiting up at 5:30pm.

Sara decided that this was another great opportunity for her new party trick; not going down the long side near B. But luckily this time she decided to do it when warming up. We had a 25 minute discussion that B was really not that bad. This did not leave us with much time for our warm up and the test though accurate was a little tense.

We had about an before the elementary which gave Sara plenty of time to relax. She did a lovely test, despite me forgetting to ride the medium canter and her breaking at the end and we scored a respectable 69% with the judge commenting on her forward, uphill paces (maybe all that school work is paying off).

On Saturday Sara got a duvet day. I wish I had too but instead I was off to a riding club area qualifier as a volunteer.

>>> The road to the Badminton Mitsubishi Cup: Learning important lessons

Sunday saw us off again, this time to some combined training. I was doing both the 90cm and the 1m class. I was surprised to find that I had a diagram copy of BE102 which was the test for the 90cm class. It looked quite easy, but it was not until I got to the competition that I realised that I had managed to dig out a copy of BE Intro 102 (back from when BE90 was called Intro) and not BE100 102. This resulted in a very quick learn of a new test.

Our warm up went well so I went into the arena (no scary monsters at B this time, maybe the discussion worked?). I thought I was doing ok until I came across the diagonal and my mind went completely blank. The judge rang her bell and luckily had a copy of the test for mum to read for me.

The showjumping was twisty and given my dedication to dressage training this week apparently I had completely forgotten how to jump. Sara saved me on a number of occasions but she just tapped the last to put us out of the ribbons.

I did not risk trying to remember the test for the 1m class and got mum to call it for me. On warming up for the showjumping there was a very oniums black cloud lingering in the sky. I just needed to jump an oxer before I went in so I had to wait for mother to dodder across the warm-up arena to do poles for me. On approach to the fence there were a few light drops of rain. I jumped the fence and loudly declared that I was heading to the indoor to jump my round. I got about five strides away and the heavens opened. I made it quickly under cover, looked back and could barely see my fellow competitors who were less then 75m away. Sara jumped a lovely clear and as I walked out of the arena the sky cleared again and I was the only competitor left dry and with a red ribbon to boot.

>>> The road to the Badminton Mitsubishi Cup: Welcome to my new blog

Monday was mostly quite nice weather-wise and I decided that after all that dressage we both deserved to blow the cobwebs away, so we headed to Kelsall Hill Equestrian Centre to go and use the all-weather gallops. The sun was shining and the clear sky meant that you could see for miles at the top of the hill (pictured). It is days like those when I realise just how lucky I am do be able to ride at all, never mind compete, though I’m not sure Sara felt quite so lucky after three good canters up the hill.

Love,

Carrie (and Sara)

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