The start of September saw the dreaded boot-camp. As someone who has never sent my horse for training I was not looking forward to having to drop him off. I packed him up in the lorry and off we went to JLP Dressage. I settled Woody in and he didn’t even look back for me when I left. Now it was a case of what to do with myself for the week with NO HORSE!
I had lots of updates from Jezz that Woody was doing very well in training and I couldn’t wait to go and pick him up. While Woody was with Jezz I went back home to Kent for my birthday and spent a few days with my family and friends. On the Sunday I picked Woody back up and shared lots of cuddles with him. I could not wait to get back on board! Our first training session was the next day and Woody felt INCREDIBLE. His changes were so much quieter, no more launching into outer space. Not only were the changes better, he was much sparkier and softer in the hands. We also had Rachel Quinn (our physiotherapist) out to see him. What is great is that all the training that we have been doing has been encouraging Woody to work correctly. His previous problems had not reoccurred and he was much looser through his shoulders, jaw poll and better over his back. This means that he has been working from behind more and lifting his stomach muscles, loosening the muscles over his back.
We had a slight drama in the two weeks leading up to the Petplans with Woody picking up a cut and resulting in me having to take the training easy. This was not ideal when you’re trying to get ready for a championship. The Monday before the show I had a lesson with Jezz at home. We worked on tactical riding and my position while running through movements and me doing less for Woody; thus making him work for himself! Jezz was really happy with how Woody was going, his forward attitude and how much better the changes were. We ran through the test, focusing on myself a little more, sitting up and using my core and really riding each movement like we mean it. It was the confidence boost I needed.
The night before I rode Woody, bathed him, plaited him and got all packed up for our 4.30am alarm call. I arrived at the yard for 5am much to Woody’s dismay, he was seriously unimpressed at the early wake-up call while he was laying down. We set off and had a great journey up to Widmer. Unfortunately, we just missed the arena walk. Woody was absolutely LIT in the warm up, obviously extremely happy about being out competing again. He was an absolute dream to ride. The test was great, however we had a couple of mistakes that were very expensive. I over-rode/didn’t set up his trot left half pass very well and that cost us with the marks (especially as it’s his best way) and Woody flicked a change in on the final centre line (note to self not to relax until the end of the test). Still, I came out of that test absolutely beaming! I could not have been prouder of how far we have come and the feel he gave me throughout the test. We had a really bad run up to the show, Woody had not competed since July and no arena walk, yet he went in and didn’t bat an eyelid at anything, such a champ. There was a bright red bus next to the arena, yes a bright red bus and he didn’t even flinch. We finished 11th and without the two very expensive mistakes would have been right up there. One very happy rider!
This result means that I am now going to try and get qualified for Winter Regionals Advanced Medium straight and Advanced Medium Freestyle which means October sure will be busy with the cut-off date for qualification being end of November. Can’t wait to get out and compete more, it’s safe to say we have both really missed it.
The Rae leggings launched and were highly successful. I absolutely love mine, being lucky enough to have different colours already from my amazing sponsors. Make sure you check out my other blog giving them a review.
Until next time x