Sophie Wells’ dressage blog: When the hard work pays off

  • We recenty got back from Sheepgate Premier League, and what a good show it turned out to be for us. It’s a lovely atmosphere there, and I had planned to take my 4 competition horses there to compete.

    Unfortunately with Reece (Valerius) having sustained a small injury just before we were due to compete in Holland for the paras, we decided to give him the time to recover and prepare him for WEG [World Equestrian Games] selection at Hickstead and Hartpury.

    So we arrived at Sheepgate with Noki (Pinocchio), Jorge (C Fatal Attraction) and David (Forever Himself). The first day I did the arena walk with Jorge and David, just to get them used to the environment in the hope they could then concentrate in the test. Noki was first on for me, in the inter II. He felt fab and energetic and really wanting to work. The test was secure, which is promising, and he went on to win with 67%! My first Premier League win!

    Jorge went on to win his medium at his first Premier League, with nearly 74% and 8% ahead of 2nd place! David was next in only his 2nd ever inter I. He was quite calm for David, but he did get quite tense in the pirouettes, and a few other movements like the rein-back. However he did get 8s for his zig-zag which we had been working on. He came about 13th with 65% in a strong class, and I was pleased with the score.

    Day two and the results continue

    The next day we were out to do the same. Jorge won the medium again, in a fairly strong class. He was really concentrating and got mostly 8s for his canter work, with just a mistake in a simple change where he broke to trot, but still just small mistakes, and he coped so well with our first Premier League together. So far he has won all 6 medium classes he’s ever done.

    David was super in the PSG, much better in his pirouettes, and let me ride him. He’s coming on nicely, and came 6th with 67% out of strong class. Positive steps forward!

    Noki was in the grand prix later in the day, and my aim was to ride as bravely and positively as the inter II the day before. It does feel like we are both more comfortable at the level now, and can start to improve the test, rather than just get round. He was great again, maybe not as sharp as the day before, but still on the ball, and we had a relatively clean test with commitment right until the end. He gained 66.63% and 2nd place — to say we were ecstatic was an understatement!

    Massive thanks must go to my home and away support team and sponsors, as I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.

    Looking ahead

    Over the next few weeks, I have Hickstead and Hartpury shows and Noki has been selected for the CDI at big tour, which is my first senior international at the level, which is very exciting. Paws crossed for the next few weeks!

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