Shaun Mandy’s dressage blog: results can look bad on paper but it doesn’t mean the end of the world

  • Dear gorgeous readers,

    It is Monday morning and as I write to you, I am sitting up in bed with a mug of coffee to hand and my darling Pringle tucked up under her doggy duvet by my feet.

    Talking of feet, I have never had any problems with mine until a couple of months ago. The ball of my left foot suddenly started being painful and I just thought maybe somehow I have bruised it. This was a stupid thought and I really should have got it checked out straight away. Riding became painful due to the weight on the stirrup iron and so I decided to investigate further. To cut a long story short, it has taken a further few months, three podiatrists and a doctor to eventually diagnose me with a vascular corn.


    Apparently due to these types of corns having their own blood supply and nerve endings, they cannot just be removed like normal corns. I am currently looking into laser surgery and will also be buying some gel insoles for all my shoes today. I think a lot of no stirrup riding will be in order for me!

    Warming Nick up at Burghley

    So Burghley Horse Trials has just happened and what an exciting finish! I was up there on the Thursday to warm up my client, Nick Lucey, for his dressage test. Sadly for Nick, his Burghley dream ended this year with a fall at the Leaf Pit. We had a really fun evening on the Thursday night at the cocktail party in the palatial Burghley House. Nick’s partner Lucy and mum, Mandy were there so the four of us dressed up and joined the party. I was Mandy’s husband for the night as the tickets were for Mr and Mrs Lucey. It was a lovely time of champagne and catching up with people I have not seen in ages and also making new friends. It was especially lovely to see the gorgeous Gemma Redrup of Horse & Hound, who edits and gets my blogs out to you all.

    With team Lucey at the Burghley cocktail party

    So a few weeks ago, Inky and I went to Bury Farm high profile show. I will start with: horses keep you humble! Leading up to this, we had had a few good outings at prix st georges (PSG) level. The scores were getting better, things were looking more promising. A couple of days before leaving for the competition, I had two days training with Ulrik and we got the best trot work I have ever had with Inky (pictured top). It felt amazing and we were working a lot through the gears in the trot. With hindsight, I could have done with a week or two to cement this new trot work. The first day was the PSG, which we got through, though I felt Inky was misreading some of my signals in the trot work. The next day we were in the Inter 1 at 6pm. I schooled him early morning and felt a bit more back on track. That evening, as we were warming up for the Inter 1, we kept losing rhythm in our trot work. I decided to go in and see what happened. After entering at ‘A’, I very quickly knew that I would be retiring before the end of the test. As soon as I put my leg on a little bit in the trot work for shoulder-in or half pass, Inky would do a little hop step and lose his rhythm.

    I wanted to ride the canter work and so I kept going to get to that part. Here is the good news in all of this. As soon as I knew in my mind that I was going to retire from the test before the final halt, my riding changed. I became more relaxed and felt more like I would if I was just schooling at home. This made me ride better canter work as I thought to myself, the score does not matter as there won’t be one! In the future, I don’t want to be riding through a test thinking I am going to retire, but I am grateful for this experience as I truly believe it can help me for my future competitions in the way I mentally approach them and how my body feels when I am riding in the ring.

    So, for me, Bury Farm was a show where on paper it can look rubbish, but there is hidden value between the lines.

    I had a lovely social weekend in Brighton a few weeks back. It was my friend and ex-QANTAS colleague’s 40th. Due to Claire having a little baby, she had an afternoon party which was very civilised. It was great to have a catch up and reminisce on our flying days. Neither of us would go back to it, but both of us miss it in one way or another. We once did a Hong Kong trip together and had the most fun. Wearing our hygiene masks, that a lot of the locals do, we hiked around the city doing silly things and taking loads of pictures. Such fun!

    With Claire in Hong Kong

    After the party, I spent the evening with my dear friend Clint and his husband Darren. Clint was on Come Dine With Me and is an absolute comic. Needless to say there was heaps of laughter. The following day, Clint and I mooched around Brighton taking in the sights and a spot of shopping. It was lovely to relax and Brighton has that fun feel to it.

    That evening I had dinner with Els. Yes, I certainly packed it in! Elodie lives en-route home from Brighton, so it only made sense and we had some great catch up time. Els and her sister are climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, which is a cause very close to her family. It is not until next year but the training has already started.

    Continues below…

    Right my lovelies, I must crack on with my day. First stop, Boots to get some insoles for my shoes and then lunch in Cirencester with my glamorous friend, Sarah Von Simpson.

    Oh before I forget, I now have space for another horse to join my team. If you would like to send your horse to me for training and competition, do get in touch!

    Until soon xx

    Body Mind Mastery Quote: I learnt that we can do anything, but not everything… at least not at the same time. So think of your priorities not in terms of what activities you do, but when you do them. Timing is everything – Dan Millman.

    For all the latest equestrian news and reports, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday

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