Tina Cook’s Express Eventing diary: celebrity dressage judges

  • This week seems to have flown by — it seems like no time since I was writing my diary last week.

    Miners Frolic (Henry) is doing more schooling now, and I’ve been working on a few movements that I want to do in my freestyle to music dressage test at the Express Eventing competition.

    Because Henry had a holiday after Hong Kong, we’re on quite a tight time schedule to get him ready for the event on 30 November, but I’m hoping to have him in tip top condition. He’s had a short, easy jumping session this week too, and he seems on good form.

    My other possible Express Eventing ride, First Flight II (Brendon), came back to my yard yesterday. He had an injury back in the middle of the season so had a rest and then started his fitness work with his owner, Polly Samson.

    I schooled him today and he worked well. At 17, he’s an older horse who knows his basic job, but has limitations. He has arthritic hind joints, so he finds it hard to sit behind and take the weight. This limited suppleness means lateral work, such as half passes, is difficult for him.

    Brendon tries his best though, and I have to ride him tactfully because if I put too much pressure on him he gets worried because he’s not as supple as he used to be. If I do ride him for Express Eventing, I won’t be as ambitious in my test as I will be with Miners Frolic.

    I’m taking both horses to see Dane Rawlins — who has agreed to help me with my music and devising my tests — on Friday so he can get see what they are like and we can run through some ideas.

    We heard this week that Strictly Come Dancing’s Arlene Phillips and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber will be two of the dressage judges in Cardiff. With four more traditional dressage judges there too, there could be quite varying opinions, which will be interesting.

    I think it’s fantastic for the sport that such high profile people are getting involved, although if Arlene is anything like she is on television it could be quite scary as she certainly speaks her mind. Hopefully she will enjoy herself and ideas like this will help draw new people into the sport.

    That’s all for now, hopefully I can tell you some more about my music next week after my meeting with Dane.


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