Orange Grove Official Dressage

This weekend I took Henry along to his second competition at a local club. I entered on a bit of a whim, because his training is at a point now where we need to go out and do things with a bit of pressure. Orange Grove is a good place to go because even with 3 arenas running, there is always plenty of space to mind your own business in the warm up.

After our first competition at Walliston which proved to be a bit much for the baby brain, I decided that  doing just dressage would be a way forward. I also decided that our warm up would consist of lunging, then me hopping on and doing a brief walk, trot, canter for about 10 minutes right before we went in to minimise time spent in the warm up.

I was quite nervous all last week in the lead up to the competition. I was slightly relieved when the draw came out and I found I was the last rider of the day and by the time I rode only my arena would be running. That meant we wouldn't be surrounded by too many horses.

Our test wasn't until 2, so after a busy morning I headed to the horses and plaited up, then loaded both of the horses and headed to the grounds. Coolie was coming because being the last rider meant I could have the opposite problem that I thought I might have had... not enough horses. So he came to baby sit.
Busy morning spent making cake. 

By the time I was done plaiting I was nervous. The most nervous I remember feeling about anything. I was shaking and my heart was thumping. I had no idea what i was going to be like once I got on the horse. I told Andrew how I was feeling and he started distracting me, first with breathing exercises and then by making me laugh. By the time we pulled in I was feeling much calmer.

Once we got there, I settled Coolie in a yard and got to work slowly tacking Henry up. I felt better when he was being his usual calm ,easy self and he really wasn't bother about what was going on around him or that we were somewhere different.

As soon as we headed to the warm up I had a feeling things were going to go fine. Henry was quietly interested in the happening around him, and got right to work on the lunge. He had a little leap going to the right, but wasn't unsettled. I hopped on after a few circles and warmed up in earnest.

Look at how CUTE he is

I was so pleased with how he was feeling, calm and willing. He was nervous and alert but I could feeling him listening and relaxing when I asked him to do the same things we always do at home. I even felt like I could push him a bit and ask him for a bit more.

Our test was in the covered arena, a totally new experience for Henry. As soon as the rider before me was done we headed in to make the most of the tie around the outside. Henry, in true Henry fashion was a total wild child. Seriously. He walked in, looked at the photographer and then trotted around quietly.

After presenting to the judge we did another lap of the arena and then started the test. It's the easiest walk/trot/canter test you cab do, just a heap of circles. We rocked those circles though. He was quiet and obedient. He stretched in the stretchy bits, and cantered in the canter bits. The only really bad bit was in the first canter to the left. Left is his sticky lead and it took us a few goes to get it. The right was lovely and he felt so willing. I'm pretty sure i grinned like an idiot the whole time.

I was very pleased with him. we didn't place, it was a huge class with a lot of official riders. Our scores weren't amazing either. I expected to get a few more marks but I really don't mind. We went and did dressage. He was such a sweet little horse all day. He was so easy to do everything with and earned loads of compliments form people watching. They couldn't believe what a good boy he was.

I am proud of my baby pony. I am proud of me too, for pushing through my nerves and for sticking to my plan. We didn't set the world on fire but we had a really positive experience. Henry has come so far, even in the last few weeks with outings. I love him! Added bonus was the bag of carrots and the Off The Track jacket we got!


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