Pigeons, prelims, and progress…

So today was Dustry’s first ‘grown up competition’. Over 7 months ago now he went for his first ever dressage test a walk and trot test at a low key local centre, so it was almost like his dressage début all over again!. We went to do 2 long arena prelims 15 and 19, but mainly we went to behave, warm up well, get through the tests, and generally have a positive educational day.

I set my alarm for 4.45 (I think this is a first!) and we were on the road by 6am, primed, prepped, and plaited. Super groom Kate came with me and was a real help all day. She legged me up in the warm up and after some initial shooting off and general leapy-ness he soon began to settle and listen nicely. Best of all he didn’t do any rearing, which has been his default reaction when wound up of late, so very glad about that.

We went up to another arena to do our first test, and he suddenly felt pretty green and wobbly! This wasn’t helped as we trotted round the outside preparing to go in when about 3 pigeons decided to fly off the fence at us! 360 degrees and a very close call later and we entered at A. He was very ‘baby’ in the test, wobbly, unsure, behind the leg then in-front, and not the easiest to ride, but he did some lovely moments and got lots of 7’s for his canter work (his best pace) The final score was 62% with the judge’s comment:

“Showing some promising work. Marks will be higher when less tense, Well ridden”

We went back into the warm up, and he started to drop behind the leg at times, after 10 minutes we went into our second test in the indoor arena. He was SO MUCH more ride-able and actually went really nicely for the first 3-4 movements, and I was thinking ‘yes this is it, this is going to be a good test’ and then……the ooomph ran out. He just went really flat and I could tangibly feel that he had ‘crashed’ so worked like mad to pilot him to the end. When I halted, exhausted! the judges laughed and commented on how ‘the fuel seemed to have run out!’. I think his ‘baby brain’ had reached overload, poor wee pony. We walked back to the lorry and after a wash off he was soon towing Kate round the car park, perkier than ever!

He stood on the lorry like a pro, munching his haylage and watching the warm up arena while we went back to look at the scores and collect sheets. In his first test he came 4th (out of 4!!!! in the unregistered section) but he did score a better mark then 2 other horses in the affiliated section for the same test which I think is quite a result. For his second test as expected he scored a low 55% for a lack lustre performance, but I am pleased all the same with the start of the test, and the good work he produced there, even if he couldn’t sustain it for a whole 5 minutes! 😉

All in all a very educational and successful day, and nice to get a couple of tests under his belt at a big venue with lots going on. He ‘grew up’ lots in the time we were there, and I get the feeling he is going to cotton on very quickly to this competing milarky! One of the nicest things about him is that he’s not at all spooky, he had never been to that venue before and there was loads going on dressage cones, judges boxes, snack van, other competitors, indoor arenas etc but he just takes it all in. I think Dustry’s motto is “life is too exciting to find things spooky”

Now to find our next competition…

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