To re-take or not to re-take…That is the question?!

Hello there my lovely followers, Sorry I’ve been a little quiet thelast week or so, work again takes priority and spare time to write blogs get pushed to the side!

This blog is about my entries for Dressage Riders Online this month.

I treat an online test the same as one I attend in person. I look to school the boy for about 30-40minutes before. He takes a while to get working nicely and waking up his back end, so I have a good schooling session before, working on transitions and lots of lateral work to get him listening and moving nicely.

Where possible we’ll do this in the jump field…we’re not fenced in and he always seems happier on the grass and in a more open space.

Friday I decided to film out tests for this months entries. He’d had Thursday off and was feeling good. He worked in beautifully, and felt nice and relaxed when we headed to the school.

Intro A went well, I felt happy with this test and how he performed and felt our contact was more consitent and our halt a bit tidier, bot things the judges keep mentioning.

Then to Prelim 2 – This test is SASSY! I love it! Lot’s going on, and quickly, you have to pay attention! I half knew it, but as always, had a caller, and even Justine struggled to call quick enough!

The first 2/3rds of the test felt good, again, he was being more conisitent and willing in his contact and I was riding him well…then the canter…oh lawdy…left canter was a mess, I’ve spent so much time fixing right canter we’ve lost out left! Wrong lead, disunited, flying changes…you name it, we did it. Ah well, right cater was much better, and both were more collected than normal, so there are positives!

Now, I’d given myself a talking to about canter recently, I often start to giggle when we go wrong, and then fail to ride him properly, so this time, I kept calm and tried to correct and help him, ok, it was still a mess, but slower and less rushed, so I see it as a win.

So, I could’ve re-filmed the test, however, I felt the rest of the test was rather nice, ok, canter still needs work, but we know this! so I’d rather submit a video with a bit of a mess in and get feedback, than keep filming until it looks tidier, but possibly loose a bit in the rest of the test, also…at a competition, I get one go! So, when I fim, I do the same.

I know our marks won’t be great, and we certainly won’t place, but I want our journey to be an honest one, and this canter issue shouldn’t be hidden!

I’ve added the videos of my tests below, and results will be announced on Tuesday, so with any luck I’ll have my sheets and feebdack with me by the end of the week.

Thanks again for reading!

See you again soon

Lucy & Bojack

xoxo

Intro A
Prelim 7

Doing it Online…Ooh Er!

The blog that’s probably not as exciting as it sounds!

I’m going to have a ramble about Online Dressage/Showing today.

I’ll put my hands up, I’ve only done one month of online comps, but so far I’ve really enjoyed it and been impressed 🙂

It’s really simple, you film a test at home, from the C end, either in a school or a marked out area in your field, and you can have a caller (essential for me, I can’t remember a damn test!). Then upload the video, I use Youtube or Vimeo (sometimes YouTube destroys the quality, so Vimeo is more reliable), pay for the class, send the video link and then wait for results, simples!

It’s a great way to compete if you don’t have transport, pennies are tight and show gear isn’t in the budget (as you wear smart yard clothes) or if, like me, anxiety and nerves can sometimes get the better of you. Or maybe you’d like a judges feedback and this is a simple, stress free way to do it.

I love the online feedback as it shows to me I can achieve it when out, so helps calm my nerves when I go out in person.

I’ve encouraged others on my yard to get involved too, for those without transport, or that can’t afford a regular lesson, then £10-£12 a month on a test, with feedback from a BD listed judge is a positive way to spend their money and receive input on how to improve.

I get a few comments regarding online tests, so wanted to address the most common arguments against it…

The judges are too easy on you and give higher marks – I’d argue that every day! I keep a record of my scores at shows and online and video most of my tests, and say they’re about the same, maybe online is 1-2% higher overall…but that’s because we’re chilled and relaxed at home and haven’t stressed getting to s ahow/warming up and them facing the judge.

The judges aren’t very good and have no qualifications – again, entirely wrong! I’m careful with where I compete and will only compete online if the judges are BD listed or extremely experience in their field.

The idea of online dressage is to encourage people to take part, see what they can achieve when calm and focused at home, and hopefully encourage them to go out and start taking part in local competitions.

It’s a fantastic stepping stone to gauge you and your horses readiness, and if you can do it at home and get good feedback, then surely that will encourage you to go out and about and give it a go too?

Or maybe you want to compete, but have no interest in all the faff of travelling, dressing up and getting out there, so enjoy the online shows!

In the last month or so I entered 3 different online competitions, I’ve written a little review for each below, which I hope you find useful.


The Mane Show £11.00 a class

This was the first one I entered in March, as recommended by a fellow livery at my yard.

It’s easy to understand the rules, complete payment, film, upload and share links. The tests are different every month, there are no restrictions, but it’s clearly stated in the rules to be honest about your horses and yours ability and will help you choose which class to enter if unsure.

The rules are also more relaxed than most, allowing for most types of tack, bitless bridles etc.

I’ve been lucky enough to place in both March & April tests, and have to say the frillies are stunning! Which is another plus point of online showing, money is saved on venue hire etc, so can be spent on stunning ribbons!

The judge is knowledgeable and fair with comments and feedback.

The closing date is normally the last day of the month, with results being posted between 1st-5th and then sheets and ribbons arriving by the 10th both months.

The only down but of the Mane Show is that the ribbons have safety pins rather than hooks, so displaying is a bit of a bugger! and I hate using safety pins around horses, so am super quick with any pics taken with BJ wearing them, but that won’t stop me entering.


Optimum Events £12.00 per class + £1.50 (myridinglife fee)

I’m filming later today for this month (2 days before the cut off…bad Lucy!) but I kept forgetting to schedule it in.

This is a local company in Suffolk which is why I’m keen to support them. They run events locally, but most start at Prelim, and I’m a few months off being happy to go straight in at Prelim, so am currently entering Intro and Prelim classes online to build up the brave pants!

The judges are all BD listed and definitely don’t go easy on you online, which I love! I want to know what BD listed judges think of our partnership and how we can improve so we’re ready to start affiliated competitions at the end of the year and know I’ll get honest and worthwhile feedback with Optimum.

Rules follow standard BD rules, filming is easy, pretty much the same as everything else, but uploading they ask for them to be sent via whatsapp. Due to the size of my files I couldn’t do this, so uploaded to youtube and sent the links via whatsapp, which they were happy to accept.

Cut off is normally the middle of the month, another plus point for me as it means I can get involved with online tests all through the month. Results are posted within 24hrs of the closing date and sheets and ribbons sent out quickly, mine arrived within the week.

Now, I placed 1st in both classes, but I don’t count them, and only looked at my scores/feedback, as in one class it was just me, and the other there was just 2 of us. I’m looking forward to these events gaining in popularity and seeing the classes grow. But hell…we all love a ribbon right? And these are stunning!


E-Riders £10.00 per class + £1 postage

With E-riders I entered April Intro B & C and had entered the Intro an Prelim for the Live Dressage on their FaceBook Group on the 12th May.

Again, rules etc are easy to follow and understand, filming is a little different as you have to introduce yourself at the beginning of your video, confirming your name, the horses name and event entered. Which is a fab idea to stop people using the same video for numerous online entries (but lets face it…those people are only cheating themselves!) and upload is easy too.

Cut off is the end of the month and results post the first day of the following month…and what a tense day that was! lots of refreshing and keeping an eye on the page, and wowzers! so many entries!

Both my classes were split into 3 groups of approx. 20. I was extremely lucky to place even with a 66% and 72%

I noticed a bit of backlash about this on the group and have mixed feelings about it. Personally I saw 75%+ and thought ‘Wowzers…these riders are good!’. A few comments suggested some were entering online Intro classes while competing at BD Novice level. If that’s the case these people should be banned from entering as they have such unsportsmanlike attitudes. While it’s difficult for any organiser to check up on this, I could understand the frustration from some people. But, at the end of the day, it’s meant to be a bit of fun, and if you were out and about competing you’d know that somedays a 65% will have you clear in the lead and others with have you bottom of the pack. That’s just how it goes, it just encourages me to take on board all the judges say and work together with my boy to improve.

I’ll also add the scores and notes from the judges were on par with other judges, both online and in person, so I don’t believe these BD listed judges were being generous, I think there were some fab combinations taking part and they deserved the marks they got!

This then led to a new set of restrictions coming into play, overnight. Which effected my Live tests, I contacted Susie and we discussed my options and we decided it was best for me just to do Prelim, rather than the intro I had planned too. GULP!

Having only been competing 6 weeks, I’ll not lie, I felt a little pushed out of Intro and I’m only working at Prelim at home, so not 100% ready for just Prelim tests, but, big girl pants on, we gave it a go. And along with Georgia and the fabulous Spirit, our yard mates, we got a JOINT 4th! Spirit and BJ bring it home to GHL!!

Unfortunately, due to the restrictions I won’t be taking part in e-riders for a month or two now, I need to up my game before throwing my hat in the ring again.

This is not a complaint at them, they want to make it fair and encouraging for everyone, which I totally respect and will be back when I can take part competitively with them 🙂

I received my sheets and ribbons yesterday, so the 14th, which was a little longer than I’d like in all honesty, and I’ll update this when I receive my live sheet from Saturday as it may have been a one off for slow postage this month. I like to receive online tests within the week, so that I can start working on what the judge has said to start improving for the following month, so mid month does leave me a bit on the back foot. However, there were a LOT of entries so that must have slowed down the sorting/posting of the sheets etc.


Looking forward to May I’ll be entering the Mane Show again, they were my first and I do love them! Optimum events will be filmed today, and as a new one I’ll be trying Dressage Riders Online.

I hope you’ve found my rambling review useful, and hope to see some of your joining in the online fun!

Until next time, love and smoochies!

Lucy & Bojack

xoxo

Please Note – all information is correct as to how I have read and understood it, please make sure if you’re entering any online competitions that you take the time to read the full rules and terms before filming etc.

A Matching Pair!

What a day!

It was our first solo outing to a comp and I couldn’t have asked for more.

The day started chilly…no..freezing! Up at 6 and on the road by 8 to attend the Gipping Riding Society unaffiliated dressage.

I’d decided to stick to intro for both tests as our canter still needs work to be ready for Prelim, so first class of the day, Intro B, we were due in at 9.48

I pulled up next to a familiar face I’d not seen in about a decade! Quick hello then on with the stressage!

There was a HUGE field to work in, that suited us just fine, he likes having room to stretch his legs and prefers the grass to a surface to keep him calm.

Our first test went ok, he was a little against me for the first 1/3 ish and took a while to settle. But I was happy overall, I made sure not to rush, to focus on my rhythm and tempo and keep him steady and consistent. Really trying to focus on riding each part of the test to completion and not rushing to get to the next part.

We scored 60.65%, with no scores under 5, so only just in my comfort zone, but we managed a first and I was proud of our achievement and the notes from the judge.

Then came the long wait for our next class…class 3, intro C, we were second in at 12.36.

The boy was a star, stood so well on the pony Express and made me so proud! I turned to a small block of ice and felt I’d never be warm again however!

By 12noon we were back in the warm up paddock and having a good mooch about, I didnt feel the need to do too much and kept him at walk and trot, he was very willing and ready to go!

The second test felt fantastic, a few blips down to my error or him losing a little focus, but I was beaming and so happy with him, starting to get all teary again and had to give myself a talking to!

The club was so friendly and welcoming, a really nice atmosphere to compete in, and a huge thank you to Alison for calling my tests for me.

I took the boy back to the lorry to un tack, groom,clean tack and be ready to head home before popping to check on scores.

Well…theres a shock…68%!! What a darling boy, it’s something special when you get a good score after a test you’re proud of!

We loitered to get our score sheet and ended up placing 1st again…a pair! I had to dash before getting all teary again!!

I gave my second chocolate bunny (perks of a first) to one of the girls parked next to me, a lovely family, 3 generations out for the day with the sweetest ponies and riders, one of which was extremely nervous competing and had placed 3rd, a really sweet family, I failed to properly introduce myself to and don’t know the names of, but another huge thank to them, not only for my cookie but also for keeping an eye on the boy when I left him alone.

All in all it was an awesome day, a wonderful atmosphere with friendly and helpful people, I’ll definitely be back and have booked into their showing show in a few weeks.

I got all emotional and sent a very gushy WhatsApp to my trainer Hayley when I got home too. Although I was a competition groom for 8+yrs I never really rode, I had no confidence and doubted my ability, and until I met Hayley 6 months ago never thought I was any good at riding.

Well, 6 months on, we started competing 3 weeks ago, 4 competitions entered, 8 tests, 8 ribbons 1st – 4th. If it wasnt for Hayley’s guidance, knowledge and belief in us we wouldnt have achieved it. No words can Express my gratitude for having her train us, #dreamteam baby!

I’ll stop my rambling now…

As always, thanks for reading, I’ve added a few pics below and also a lil video, mainly for mumsy, but if you fancy a watch please do!

P.s. I just got confirmation I’ve got a slot at the Charlie Hutton clinic next month…what a fabulous Sunday!!

Lovely big warm up

Standing on the box like an angel!

First test sheet back, complete with chocolate bunny!

Red is definitely his colour

Who doesnt love a moustache!

The days results

Our ribbons so far, no words 🥰

Our Debut

Well…what can I say!? 

I’m still totes emosh, which is rather pathetic I know, but I’m beyond proud of my little man.

Today we headed to our first ever show, The Halesworth & District Riding Club Dressage.  I’d originally planned to just do class one, Intro A, and then was badgered into doing a second by the fabulous Krisstey on Thursday, so we also did the Intro B in class 2.  We still have a lot of work to do on our canter!

It’s ridiculous to think that I have accompanied an Olympic rider to the Nationals in the first year or so of my career and I was an utter mess at taking an Irish Cob to a local riding club show, I’m a mess!

I have to say how friendly and welcoming everyone was, I was so at ease and after being pointed out to me that I looked terrified! I remembered to smile and enjoy it.

Travelling went well and he was a superstar when we arrived, straight off the Pony Express to avoid any attempts at climbing over the partition or breast bar (we’re working on it!) a quick walk round and then tied up with his HayGrazer.

Ian had a crash course in becoming a groom and did a smashing job!

The warm up started well, he was a little tense, but I was wired so let him off and kept reminding myself to chill, it’s an intro.

A few springy bucks in canter, a million serpentine’s, and a few stop n natters and we’re all set to go in.

I accepted the offer of a caller, as had nightmares of me forgetting mid test.

So, here it is…our first ever Intro (and by that I mean neither of us have ever competed in Dressage before…ever…)

I was beyond happy with his performance.  Our first ever test…and we scored 70.65%

I’m still overwhelmed and speechless.

Lowest score was a 6 – our half circles – never been our strongest point so wasn’t surprised there. And at one point he tried to duck out at A!

Highest score of 8.5!!!! for the final MXK change of rein in working trot. and 8.5!

Final note being “Pleasing test with some super moments. Well Done!”

I honestly couldn’t be more pleased with my lad.

We then had a little break before our second test, results for the first class came in as I was worming up and I overheard Krisstey and Hayley “Don’t tell her, she’ll cry” Thanks Krisstey, so figured he’d done a good test and maybe we’d placed, but I tried to ignore it and focus on our next test…that I didn’t know….

Quick warm up and in we go…

A few more 6’s in this one, I lost my tempo and rushed a bit, always an issue with me.  But the bit I was so proud of, was our 20m circle allowing stretch, he normally giraffe’s at his point, but no, he felt amazing, massive smile on my face! and a respectable 7!

Again, a slight wobble at the first pass of A, oops! But overall comments were awesome.

“Lovely chunky fellow showing pleasing movements. Now needs to develop suppleness over back for consistent roundness & softness.  Take care not rush the tempo (with your rising seat) as results in pushing out of balance”

Overall it’s been a fantastic debut, more than I could have ever hoped for.  Fantastic comments and lots to go away and work on, especially our constantly crooked halt!

Anyways, my rambling needs to end now, thank you for taking the time to read/watch.  And keep watching the socials and the blog for our future adventures!

See you all again soon

Smoochies

xoxo

The full day Vlog is below