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  • Writer's pictureLisa Marshall

That was a logistical wonder and an unexpected turn...


This weekend we headed off to Brinsbury for GDRC Dressage with 8 horses! What were we thinking????? I'm actually not too sure :-?

We had new ones and our challenged ones and of course Mr P...

We manage to plait wash and make them look as presentable as possible with the time allowed. Matilda is now a master at plaiting and she was all over it. Even the ones with the bushiest of manes. All lorries and trailers packed for our back and forth trips - checking and treble checking that we haven't left anything behind.

We head off early doors as Matilda has Strider, Doris (who's a super little mare with us for sale soon) :-). I take these two with Paul (the silent suffering hubby) following in the car, so he can take me straight back. We leave Matilda to sort these two out which was a little concerning as it's Doris' first time out and neither she or us have absolutely no idea what to expect.

We wave ta ta and then head off to come back again with the other lorry and trailer Bob a lob Blob (Marna is taking the ride on him even though she's only had a couple of short rides during the week, Rumba, with me, hoping to keep him calm, focused and less like a giraffe. Donald was also on board to attempt his ITC and hopefully hold his s*** together, and Glenda for the prelim with Matilda.

We arrive back with the others, Matilda has taken Doris for a little walk round which she was good with, even if a little anxious, with Strider waiting like a saint at the lorry. Within moments (where did the time go)? Doris heads up to the warm up and it seems there's no time, so Matilda heads straight in. Bless little Doris...Mirrors!!! Are we actually kidding her? She has absolutely no idea what to do so just plants whilst Matilda gives her a stroke and encouragement to try and move her feet. This is going to be interesting...

The bell rings and they have to proceed down that centre line. She's a little unsure, but is doing so well. The first few manoeuvres are pretty hesitant, she's still listening to Matilda and doing the bet she can with her first competition nerves. She does some lovely works amongst her wobbles and swerves away from the mirrors. WHAT A SUPER LITTLE GIRL SHE IS!!! Proud as can be of both of them. Doris for being so brave and honest and Matilda for getting her to this point!

It's time for Bob a lob Blob to strut his stuff with Marna. As she exits the warm up she said he was strong and not really listening, but she soldiers on and in she goes. To do a lovey rhythmical test and he was a mannerly boy. Marna came out with smiling and I'm sure Bob did too. He's been a long time getting to where he is now, so he's now ready to find a super sharer and start loving life and having fun...

Now it's Striders (aka Stroodles) turn. My hubby's words - why have you brought Strider? He doesn't do dressage...he's fat and pulls a cart. Well! How rude! I'm hurt, Striders hurt and we now have to prove that he and Matilda can do this! Matilda comes out with Doris, we settle her, have Strider tacked up and ready to go. We head up to the warm up and he's a good boy. Not a long warm up at all and it's time to go in. Not a bad thing for Strider to be fair. He goes in, does a pretty nice little test, a little unsteady in the contact which he tends to be if he's in his excitement mode. Considering he stopped being ridden and taught to pull a cart at a late age as he just became stale being ridden. (especially in the arena(loved a hack)). He loves to pull a cart and has really taken on a new outlook to life since. He has since been ridden and we just tend to do what he's enjoying at the time. We've had him in the family since a 2 yr old and he will continue to be no matter what his likes and dislikes are.

It's now time for myself and the beautiful Rumba (aka Watsit). He has been waiting like a gent as always. All brushed and beautified, tacked up and get on for him to do a little leap of faith and feel like he's about to explode.... great, so I keep him moving and walk the long way round to the warm up. We go in and he's instantly wanting to replicate my love for giraffes. He's not understanding my love for giraffes, stop with them... I love him more, he doesn't need to try and be one. It takes a while to settle him and have him working well from behind, again, not long to warm up so we head down and what will be will be. We start the test and he feels quite lovely. A few wobbly moments but generally gave me a lovely, confident (for him) and obedient ride. He's such a sweetie who's growing massively in confidence and learning to trust the process.

Back to get Strider and Donald for their classes - both have to canter - Eeeek, Striders party trick is to have a few little non descript excitable bucks as he canters, so it's Matilda's job to try and diffuse these. Donald... well likes to explode into canter, bronc and show off his gymnastic tricks to the world, so it's my job to try and prevent this. Matilda first... She and Strider look wonderful, he had one tiny buck on one rein and was super on the other. So filled with confidence, I've got a wonderful uphill trot with Donald so ask for the canter. Wow! we are going great guns, he feels out of this world. We change the rein establish our trot again and I ask for left rein canter - Well Donald definitely didn't disappoint!!!! He leapt (like a massive leap of faith) into canter, proceeded to bronc like a very talented rodeo (OMFG!!! Do I try and regain the balance, sit deep and try and ride him out of it... NOPE!!!! Not happening.... I'm now very quickly figuring out that I need to get my feet out of my stirrups and how to hit the deck in the best way possible. Wow!!!! I went up and then down and hit the floor like a humungous crater!!!! Man, I need to lose some serious weight if I plan to continue this riding malarkey as the falling part if far more painful with the addition timber, that's for sure!!! Matilda shouts over to check I'm ok? I'm actually not too sure, winded and my back/hip is excruciating. Matilda trots off to catch the loyal (not) Donald who proceeded to f-off whilst throwing additional shapes. She comes back with both horses askes again if I'm ok and says "thank god there's just us in here Mum, are you ok to get up?" I'm no too sure if this was concern or relief of me not embarrassing her too much. Although I think the people at the other side of the centre saw as I fly above the grass mound to come back down again... Matilda pulled me up, gave Strider to one of the lovely ladies that came up to help, took Donald down to the arena, hopped on and asked if she could just run through the walk and trot test without being judged. What a good girl!!! The main bonus of all of this is that Paul (hubby) had gone home with the little lorry to swap horses over, so he didn't see. I'm supposed to be riding Mr P later... we'll see.

Back to juggling horses and tests.... who's next?? It's Strider for his intro to canter (avoiding the bucks). Well, they do really well! One tiny point of excitement with a little buck and the rest of the test is lovely for him. He's always quite tense and struggles with a consistent contact, he loved it though.

Next up is Glenda in his prelim with Matilda. She hasn't ridden him much in the past as he's been keeping others occupied. He's been struggling with correct canter leads and rushing through his tests. So she goes in with all of this in her mind. He rushed the centre line a little, she managed to get him back once she was in the rhythm and he was doing so well. The canter is coming and he was literally foot perfect on both reins. A little bit strong in parts where he was then losing interest, but she regained his concentration and did a lovely test.

I head back to drop the 4 off that have just been whilst Matilda starts to warm Mr P up for the Novice. Heading back and Matilda is on and like hurry P is like a tank and not listening to her. He's feeling good and literally loving life on his terms. I get there, get her to use a stronger seat and he starts to listen and be a little more obedient. She goes in a lovely lady reads the test for us (very lovely and friendly lady). Her test is good, he didn't truly settle or relax over his back, but it was super otherwise, very proud.

Terri & Rocky take the arena for their prelim and followed quickly for their Novice test and what a lovely tests they were!!! Terri came out stressing that neither were too good... I will eventually have her believe in herself and Rocky and believe that their partnership is wonderful and able to achieve wonderful results. They were lovely fluid & well ridden tests with absolutely super results!!

Next up is hopefully me on P for the Elementary. Mmmmm... not sure how this is going to go as my butt and hip are killing but I'd really like to give it a go. I get mounted with a lot of help, get to warm up and yep... he is like a tank (she wasn't making it up). I try my hardest to get my seat engaged and have him working from it, but man I'm hurting. I continue, get some nice work out of him and he is feeling actually quite nice. It's time to go in and as soon as I walk into that arena, it all went a little to s***. He was such a good boy although took advantage of my nerves and my lack of seat and was nothing like the work we just had in the warm up. Albeit, I felt we did ok... It is definitely something I will be continuing to work on and enjoy with Mr P!!

Summary of the day!!! NEVER DO IT AGAIN!!! That was a logistical and warm up nightmare. Loved every flipping minute of it (apart from the catapult part) but it was definitely a long day juggling and racing around with horses, whereas if we'd taken half of them, we'd have had quality warm up and possibly no fall? Hats off to my wonderful & talented little Matilda who rode 6 very different horses in different tests and was able to get a tune out of each of them. So, so, proud of the work she's putting in and the results she's achieving.


RESULTS:

Intro juniors

Strider & Matilda 2nd 63.48%

Bob & Marna 3rd 61.96%

Doris & Matilda 4th 61.52%


Intro seniors

Rumba & myself 1st 68.04%


ITC

Strider 1st 60.71%


Prelim juniors

Glenda & Matilda 3rd 62.37%


Prelim seniors

Rocky & Terri 1st 69.23%


Novice

Rocky & Terri 2nd 68.96%

Mr P & Matilda 3rd 66.88%


Elementary

Mr P & myself 1st 64.21%




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