New Toys

My riding since Christmas has been enlivened by a new toy – I was very lucky to receive an action camera and have been having great fun playing with it.

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The quality is not quite what it should be as I had managed to miss one of the protective films over the lens!

I have also been experimenting with the camera angle – I thought I had it more or less right, although perhaps it could do with being a little higher.  Then we tried cantering.

Some work to be done there I think!

I have had so much fun playing with it though and I am very much looking forward to using it on more of our rides.

In other news, the dog has also been enjoying her Christmas present.

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She is now much cosier when I am out riding!

Delivery Ponies

This week it was time for our annual pony post delivery of Christmas cards.  We had to leave it quite late in the day so we almost – but not quite – ran out of light.  It was just an added bit of adventure for us!

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We had a lovely time wending our way along the lanes with our tinsel and festive hats.

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It is such a joy to be able to do it – when I was a child I watched my instructor’s daughter deliver their cards on horseback and it is so wonderful to do the same myself.

Christmas Dressage

It has been a busy day!

I found out yesterday evening that I was able to take Cookster to the Christmas dressage show today as well as Galahad.  I had a concert last night and I spent all the time I wasn’t playing frantically learning two extra tests for him.

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Cookster’s classes were up first and I was a little apprehensive – we hadn’t had a chance to practise and our steering was a bit questionable in the warm up.  However, although his tests were not perfect by any means I was very pleased with the progress he has made.  He even managed to score an eight for his final halt (the halt in the first test was not good at all).

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The last time Galahad did a dressage test with Cookster also at the show we had a disastrous round and I didn’t know quite what to expect this time.  What I got was an extremely noisy pony but thankfully one who was willing to actually listen and do what I asked him.  Sadly, I was back to having to ask a couple of times for the correct canter lead on the right rein but otherwise it felt really good.

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Galahad was a lot more forward going today – we usually get comments about needing more energy so this was good to feel.  I was also especially pleased that our halts went well as we had rather an argument about them yesterday.

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Cookster was unplaced in his first class but came seventh in his second while Galahad came away with a ninth and a seventh.  They were big classes as it was a championship event so I was thrilled with both of them.  Galahad’s first test was one we did a fortnight ago and we got a better score this time around.  It’s a definite sign of improvement which is always welcome.

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It might have been a long day but despite the rain and cold we had a fantastic time.

Dancing in the Rain

Last weekend Galahad and I went to our first competition in several months.  It was a riding club dressage event and I was very happy to be out competing again.

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The warm up was slightly interesting – there were cross country jumps stacked around the arena which Galahad thought were pretty scary – I spent half my time trying to persuade him to go near them.  Then the rain started coming down in earnest.  I had forgotten my contact lenses and before long my glasses were covered with rain and I could barely see.

We got them cleaned up and ourselves into the indoor arena for our actual test.  Galahad settled down nicely and did what felt like a pretty good test.  I didn’t think it was amazing but he did everything I asked and – best of all – he picked up the correct canter lead on both reins.  As I said last week, that’s something on which we have really been working hard so I was especially pleased to get it right.

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Before long we were called for our second test and again it felt like a nice, safe clear round.  The canter leads were correct and this time our shapes felt a little more accurate.  I was so pleased with Galahad!

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Really, the canter leads made my day but it got better.  When the scores were posted I found I had scored 60.53% and 62.93%.  We got our usual comments about Galahad being, ‘Economical with the energy’ but the judge also made some nice comments about the trot which were good to see.  We placed second and fourth which was obviously great but even better the scores were good enough to qualify us for a local dressage championship next week.  So exciting!

Working on the Canter

This week I have been focussing very much on our canter transitions.  Galahad particularly struggles picking up the correct lead on the right rein as the brand on his near hind makes it weaker.

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We have, however, been making progress.  This week we did some work on simple changes in a figure of eight.  We got the first one wrong but after that they went so well that I decided to try something a bit harder.

I trotted up the centre line, asked Galahad for a particular lead and he got every single one right.  That was unexpected!  The video isn’t perfect but it is proof.

I’m not expecting us to just get them all perfectly now – in fact it took us a couple of asks to get it right the very next day – but it is definite progress and it does show we are capable!