Today I was doing my first of three C Squad rider tests for BYRDS at Moody Dressage. After spending so much time the night before chiselling the mud from Katrina's "fresh from the bog" coat, she was gleaming and looking smart in her white boots, I felt so proud of her.
My breath made clouds of steam while the morning chill made me shiver warming up in the outdoor school. The swarm of butterflies in my stomach wasn’t settling. Katrina and I had practised all the different moves and I had spent hours learning my dressage test, even sitting sketching the diagrams. I really struggle to remember tests and I desperately wanted to get it right today.
I know by now to have Katrina going forward and in a good frame once she’s warmed up, so we were ready to start when Hannah asked if we had anything we wanted to work on, and I explained that when we had practiced the trot walk trot across the diagonal movement Katrina had got a little bit unsettled in the contact and that I would love some help with the transitions. At first Hannah had me do the transitions on the track, suggesting that I sit earlier and we soon had her working through them well.
All too soon it was show-time... To score my test Hannah stood directly at C, I turned down the centre line towards her, completely blanked and forgot which way to turn! Desperate, I chose right at the very last minute, but it was too late. Katrina stopped dead.
Right. In front. Of Hannah. Oops!
After that things went better until the canter trot transition after X. I forgot to half halt so Katrina gave a transition that would have made a quarter horse proud by sitting and skidding into trot. When we weren't facing Hannah, I murmured reassurances to her to say sorry (shhhh don’t tell!).
Our final halt was square and I sighed with relief. Apparently our halt was so good, it was the best movement of the entire test. Our best pace is halt. Again. Unsurprisingly I was marked down for my preparation, and also my lower leg position so Hannah has sentenced me to three months of no stirrups. She was positive about my poise, balance and straightness which is great because I used to lean to the inside quite often.
I got a good score and know what I need to improve on for next time.