Any of you who know me, will agree I am a complete perfectionist and this last few weeks it really has bitten me in the butt!
I am one who wants to train my socks to be good at something, I then want to train and learn even more and be the best I can possible be. Its funny, I am all about cutting everyone else a break and not being to hard and my clients but when it comes to myself, I am terrible. I want to be "correct" in my approach and in everything I do. I really do dislike getting things wrong, So much so I was missing a beat with my training, I have been so focused on perfection and being exactly where I need to be I've been holding myself back.
Our aim was to get Orange ready for Medium BD but the half pass was really getting under my skin with him, I had made it such an issue Orange was getting so stuck he literally came to a halt when I asked him to half pass. I tried so many different ways to try and get my point across, confusion was rife.
So in a moment frustration, sitting at home thinking about my holding myself back I decided I need to do something about it, all this training was making us stagnant. I decided we needed to just get out there, it was time to compete, time to show my boy off and have some fun.
Now because the half pass was a bit of an issue I thought about taking him out at Elementary but this was a bit of a blow to think about, we have worked so hard with the more advanced work going out at elementary felt unfair. So in a moment of madness I entered us for an Advance Medium thinking that if we forfeited our half pass marks we could lift our scores with the changes and our lovely trot work. After all it wasn't about winning, it was about getting out there, having some fun and getting some perspective.
We booked three lessons and began preparing for our test. Lots of hacking too, we both love hacking. The day to compete came around very quickly and the week before it was somewhat challenging, I also had to dismiss my groom (nightmare) so not only was I getting ready for our first big outing I had no help with the horses or the yard, to say I was busy and tired was an understatement.
Luckily I have the most amazing liveries and friends who all jumped in to help! I don't know what I would do without any of them.
We parked up and Orange was hot and sweaty! It was 25D I sponged him down while having a little cuddle and redid one plait which resembled a golf ball. A quick nip to the ladies and it was time to tack up, I have a few routines for getting us ready and made sure I stuck to them to help keep me focused, in true form for me I couldn't find my stock, luckily I had a rather nice Horseware shirt that had a big collar and lovely buttons so it actually looked really nice without my stock. FEW....
I hopped on and made my way down to the warm up, it was full of huge Warmbloods all in double bridles, I have Mr Orange in a snaffle still, all strutting their stuff and doing Grand Prix half pass's, hehe
Thankfully I am very good at blocking everything out and getting into my little bubble, just me and my little Orange boy.
His eyes were popping out of his head and he was very busy in his mind so I changed my game plan slightly and bumbled around for a bit allowing him time to take his surroundings in before I picked him up and began working long and low to stretch him and warm up his muscles.
He wasn't really in the mood to trot so I picked up canter and worked in this pace until he began to settle and focus. Once focused I began trying to get him to really engage and soften over the back, a little tricky at first but we got there in the end with a few unconventional techniques that did get a bit of a stare!
When it was time to go in I was pleased with how he had worked in, the trot was a little sticky but this was our best pace so I didn't put much thought into it and assumed it would just be there in the test........ More fool me.
On the walk up to the arena Mr Orange got more and more tense, his walk became almost unsittable, when we got in the arena I had no trot, he was tight and almost worried, mmmm ok lets not panic lets just go forward and work it out, he was strong and throwing his head around in true stallion style but I just told myself we need to enter in collected canter anyway so just think forwards! I pushed on in the canter and tried my best to get him to settle, we got once round and the judge beeped us and that set him off and he became short and tight, well it was now or never!
The turn down the centre line was good and he was straight, he was like a puppet but it was collected canter so I hoped we had got away with it a little, the halt wasn't bad and I took the opportunity after I gave my salute to gave him a big scratch, I prayed for trot and he gave it to me, GOODBOY.
We came down the centre line again for our half pass which he cantered instead. He was so tense and sensitive he just kept giving me forwards, the next half pass I snuck my leg back and gently gently asked him to go and to my amazement it was the best one we have ever done and earned us a 7!!
I then took a wrong turn, I think I was so pleased with the half pass I just lost my way. We then had a medium trot which was terrible, again he cantered and exploded, we recovered it but it was awarded a 4.
Overall the test had lots of mistakes, mainly because I'd backed off him a little too much and he fell out of balance a few times, but I was pleased how hard he tried and we did it.
I am so proud of both of us for how far we have come in such a short time together, its only been 8 months of which 3 were unridden so to be where we are is amazing, I love this little Orange horse more than I could ever find the words to describe and I can not wait for our next outing!
We need to improve our fitness and strength and find the balance of when I need to ride him, over ride or under ride and then I think our scores will massively improve.