“Well 2015 was a year full of changes and a stepping stone to better things in the future.
For my advanced horse Celicia it was a bit of a learning year with her only being 8 years old and 17.2hh she has had a bit of strengthening up to do to be able to cope with the more advanced movements and her being able to balance herself with her big movement. She try’s so hard she gets herself upset when she can’t quite do what I’m asking her for so its been all about not allowing her to be too expressive at this stage and stay soft and relaxed.
I took her to the Winter Regional Championships in February at Advanced Medium Open a level she was well established at, it was a bit of a disaster lots of mistakes and Lisci was very tense so needless to say we didn’t do very well! I got her qualified for the Summer Regional Championships at Advanced Medium Open with a couple of wins with 70+% scores.
We then both did our first Prix St Georges in May, I was very pleased with her for our first attempt at this level, we got all of our changes but just had a few mistakes along the way she lost her balance a bit in the canter pirouettes and her walk got a bit tense and irregular which effected the walk pirouettes and the trot half passes could have been more supple. But for a first attempt and in a hot class we scored 66.18% so I was happy with lots to work on. Our second outing was much improved we were 2nd with a score of 70% still the pirouettes needed to be more balanced, I was struggling with them on that line and with her being so big she couldn’t quite manage them which wasn’t so good when they both carry double scores! We were now qualified for Prix St George at the Summer Regional Championships.
Coming to the regionals at Addington without much experience at Prix St George I knew would be tough ask and it all fell apart she got very tense and I rode like a muppet so that was a test to forgot, I knew I needed to get it together for the next day and Advanced Medium Open. I changed my warm up and gave her a bit of a stretch at 6am and then I was back on her at 9:30 to warm up for my test, it was a huge class of 40 full of big names so I knew I had to pull out a really good test to qualify. We atoned for the previous day in great style with a lovely test to score 70%, I had a nervous wait for most of the day as I was third to go, but we’d done enough and finished 3rd behind Laura Tomlinson 71.58% and Nikki Crisp 70.22% I was over the moon and on a high!
Next stop was the National Championships at Stoneleigh, we’d won the Advanced Medium Restricted there the previous year. I did the arena walk very early it was extremely misty, I’m not sure if the judges will have been able to see a lot for some of the earlier competitors, I was in the last third of the class. We produced a nice solid test but perhaps a little reserved as I was trying to keep her soft and supple without to much tension, I was pleased as there weren’t any big mistakes we scored 68.37% to place us 14th out of 32 the scores were all very close as you’d expect at that level, I was a little disappointed as felt the test deserved a higher mark and I had really hoped for a top 10 placing but that’s Dressage for you!
I haven’t competed her since, she had a nice break after the Nationals while I was on holiday and I had also just handed my notice in at Dan Greenwood Dressage where I had worked full time for over three years it had been a great learning curve but time had come to venture out on my own. I officially left Dan’s at the beginning of October, I moved Lisci to a new yard with really nice facilities, Lisci settled in really well, she’s always been very good in that respect and she really enjoyed having more turnout. I was able to train her more in the way I felt she needed doing lots of suppling work in all the lateral work with lots of tempo changes within the lateral work, she had really improved.
I took her in October to Moulton college to a judges seminar for list 1 & 2 judges hosted by FEI 5* judge Stephen Clarke. We demonstrated the canter work at PSG we did great changes even asked to make a mistake on purpose! Her pirouettes have come on leaps and bounds in last month much more balanced I’m able to collect the canter more to make them smaller and even the collected walk was praised which is normally a problem area! Stephen Clarke loved her, and said she had a very bright future at Grand Prix and said how well trained she was, just to top off a very productive session. I really feel like I’m getting there with her now, she’s certainly grown up a lot and all the exercises I’ve been doing to make her more supple are really working.
I have been working on a lot of the Grand Prix stuff at home she’s really getting the hang of the piaffe, her passage has always been very good and the 1x tempi changes are coming she can now do 5. Bring on next year I really can’t wait! I plan to do the premier leagues with her at PSG and Inter 1 and keep our fingers crossed we can go well enough to get selected to compete for GB at a CDI. My long term aim is to do some Inter 2 tests at the end of the year with the aim being Grand Prix in 2017.
Rusalka 5yo owned by Jane Hazel had a bit of a mixed year she started off well qualifying for the Novice Summer Regionals in two outings in March. I did a couple of young horses classes with her where she qualified for the Hartpury Young Horse Final. It had been a testing year for her, she’d stopped dead on the centre line at Addington Premier league and wouldn’t move never did really get the bottom of the issue, I did a months hacking with her which helped a lot. Unfortunately I couldn’t take her to Hartpury as she slipped over in the field and was lame, it didn’t take her too long for her to recover. We then had a few issues with her teeth and then it was time for the regionals, in hindsight I probably shouldn’t have taken her, she was extremely naughty in the warm up but we got through the test although it was far from our best we weren’t completely disgraced to finish mid class in a huge class. She won both novice tests in October, she is now for sale.
I’ve got a new addition to my team in 4 year old mare Rabbit (Hibimona) a Kwpn by Briljant who’s by Uphill, the dam side of her pedigree is very good being full of Keur graded mares and with Ferro in there, she’s owned by my parents. She’s only been broken in a couple of months and is showing great promise, she’s a lovely horse very straight forward and I can’t wait to start competing her, she’ll be aimed at 4yo young horse classes this year. I’m very excited about her. We purchased her just broken from Melissa Gerrard who’d done a great job in starting her education.
My own freelance work has been very busy with teaching, riding and a little bit of clipping I also still do the odd few hours for Dan when they need me.
I’m very excited for what this year may bring with both horses, they both look fantastic with thanks to the great supplements from Global Herbs”