6am, dark, absolutely pissing it down with rain and howling wind greeted me on Sunday morning. I actually sprung out of bed pretty easily, but still questioned what the fuck I was doing, going to do a dressage test outdoors in this shit storm. Thank goodness for my beige waterproof breeches! I didn’t get soaked to my pants while getting Belle ready for 2 hours in the morning, result.
Into the lorry we went, it was all going smoothly until I got a call from Ryan saying he kept getting stuck with trees blocking roads. I then had to do about 2 detours because of fallen trees. A 20 minute journey ended up taking about 45 minutes, not ideal. I then drove straight past the lorry park, the gate was shut and there was no sign. I then had to do the most awful 7 or 8 point turn to get back to where I was meant to be.
Clever Heather (for once) travelled Belle fully tacked up, and it’s a bloody good job I did as we arrived at 10:15am when we were due on at 10:30am. How I didn’t panic there and then I don’t know, I just got on with it and we walked the 5 + minutes down a muddy woody track to the yard from the lorry park. Ryan was stood there waiting, god love him. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without him! I began doing my usual freaking out, who do I tell that I’m here, where do I go, what am I doing. And in the process, had a little snap at Ryan (which I later apologised for, don’t worry).
We had a 10 min warm up, enough to do some transitions and to warm Belle up for a walk and trot test. I’d have liked more, but it doesn’t always go to plan. THE SUN CAME OUT. Honestly, how lucky was I, I had envisaged getting soaked all morning but when I got there the rain decided to piss off. Into the arena we went, and what does Belle do? She goes flat as a pancake, thanks hun.
I rode my test, like I did my first ever dressage test, solely focusing on the fact that my horse was being lazy. Diagonals went out of the window a few times, my circles definitely weren’t as accurate as I wanted them to be and Belle didn’t really work into much of a consistent contact. It just didn’t feel good, I was reasonably happy with my centre line, and my E to B where normally it’d be a wobbly mess. Aside from that I came out of the arena puffing, as I’d had to work so hard, but also feeling a bit meh. At least I didn’t cry like the first time!!
We waited around for the results, I wanted that test sheet to see my score and how it compared to our last test. I wasn’t expecting a better mark, it had been over 5 months since our last dressage test and in that time I’d had 1 flat work lesson. I had hold of Belle and Ryan walked over to grab my test sheet. He said to me after he was looking at the ones without the rosettes, because typical me, I’d said how shit I thought I was.
Over he walks with a rosette. I couldn’t believe it, and it wasn’t a 6th place one either, we came 3rd!!! Well, what a surprise that was. I was chuffed, but still in that overly critical mindset, thinking that I maybe wasn’t worthy of a placing, in my own mind. I looked at my score 65.65%, EXACTLY the same as my last score, how creepy!
I’ve been thinking about this moment for as long as I can remember. I did well up a little bit, but I think it was because Ryan was there with me. He’s always proud of me, always supports me, and as a non horsey other half just embraces my bat shit crazy passion that has me bankrupting myself on a monthly basis.
2 dressage tests, 2 different venues, both with the exact same score. In one, I didn’t get placed, and in this one I came 3rd. There are so many variables with dressage, it really is a bit odd. Now, time to practice and get better over winter.