October kicked off the start of a busy month. Straight after the Petplans we began preparations to try and get ourselves qualified for the Winter Regionals at music. I had set myself a big challenge as the way my holiday falls in November, I only have three chances to get 2x over 65% scores.. no pressure. So, the second weekend of October I trekked up to Merrist Wood on my own and met my family (all travelling down from Kent) there. Woody had been training incredibly at home, however in the warm up he felt very un-reactive and sluggish. I went into the indoor at Merrist Wood, which is HUGE, and after practicing my freestyle test only twice, I went for it. Woody completely dropped me! He hasn’t done this in a very long time, but it is safe to say we were not going anywhere fast. When Woody gets tense, he goes inwards and shuts down, losing all ‘WOW’. So I struggled through the test, falling behind my music also, all my changes were late.. it was one of those moments when I wished I could have been anywhere but there. To make matters worse, we got a very generous 64+% dropping one mark short of the magic 65% we needed for our half qualification.... One of those days!
Moving swiftly on from the bad show day, we all have them! We got straight back to training again, Woody was back to his sparky self and back to training. We got ready for our next debut on the 21st October. That day luckily for me, Jezz was on hand to warm us up, although I might have forgotten to mention we were one of the few crazy people that decided to brave storm Brian! So we had to have three people on hand to hold saddle cloths down tacking up, after tacking up in gale force winds Woody warmed up incredibly with lovely changes. I went into the test and although maybe a little tired, he felt great. Everything was going smoothly, I was riding every stride. When Woody gets a little tired it is not as effortless as it would have been when he was fresh. I came around and got so lost in my left half pass I forgot I was supposed to turn right, not left, at C resulting in an ‘OH GOD’ moment from the judge and everyone watching as it appeared I was about to mount the judges box with my last-minute hand brake turn right. *Shaking Head* we recovered well and continued as though nothing had happened. My last mistake, Woody was feeling rather ‘sluggish’ so I tapped him with the stick in the last change resulting in him completely ignoring me, EPIC FAIL. I was absolutely over the moon regardless as we managed 65+%, even with my double mark half pass left being dropped from a 7 to a 5! Go Woody!! Next was the turn of the dreaded freestyle. Despite the gale force winds, Woody was feeling very tired (far to chilled out) so I decided to not do much with him. Jezz suggested using the extended trot to get Woody hotter when trotting round the ring before the bell. Well he was a different horse indoors, he lit up! We broke our first extended trot, and I rode the canter tentatively as I had practiced the canter zig-zag in the warm up, Woody was now anticipating a change throughout the entire left canter, resulting in a rather stompy canter. Nevertheless, we finished on 66%! I was part qualified! Even with Storm Brian, that horse tries his hardest for me.
We have one more chance now to get the second half of our qualification on 4th November, so fingers crossed we can pull another +65% out of the bag. Every week we continue to train with Jezz, with the last Friday of October being spent in the arena. We had a fantastic lesson, running through the Prix St George canter work. We started with the canter zig-zag, all good, followed by the half pirouette to the left, counter canter to flying change at A.. which was CLEAN. This was followed by the pirouette to the right, counter canter, change, into the line of 4’s.. WHICH WE GOT. I have no idea how it happened, I won’t lie, I just sat and asked. We then went into the 3’s where it all fell apart due to sheer excitement on Woody’s part. I don’t even care, it is something I didn’t think would EVER be possible before. Can’t wait for our next lesson now!
The best thing about coming into Winter is the fact it is JUMPER SEASON. As someone who lives in either a hoody or sweatshirt, it is probably the only thing I like about this time of year. Imperial COLT offer a fantastic range of jumpers, sweatshirts and hoody’s in all different colours. The soft feel and reasonable pricing should be enough for anyone to head over and order theirs now!
Until next month x