68.6% - the second highest score EVER with one of my own

9 March 2019

Following on from last weekend, entering the dressage at Cannington was a bit of a late decision. I decided to do two tests this time - both "intro" tests.

I felt a bit anxious on Thursday, so I did a longer yoga session on that evening and also on the Friday evening.

Then approaching the yard on the Saturday morning, I reminded myself that I do this because I want to, because when I'm not competing and I watch everyone else riding around the arena, I wish I was doing it.

Remembering that feeling rather than imagining all the worst case scenarios meant I got to the showground feeling calm and positive. A major bonus given that the wind was howling and I'd already decided to try an alternative to the motorway when I went home because it had pushed the car and trailer around on route!! I also reminded myself that this is the showground where Freddie is his best, so I didn't need to imagine frightening scenarios.

​Tacked up and ready to go, I climbed on board and didn't get involved in any spooking conversation. The result was that he and I stayed focused and worked in well. My instructor (the long suffering and lovely Jayne Smith) was there to help me and reminded me to "treat this as practice, play with the trot try and get the trot you want, don't take less. Who cares if you lose marks? You're here to learn."

As we entered the indoor arena to do our test, the wind dramatically crashed the steel doors against their rivets and Fred leapt away, but I just stayed calm and asked him to work. The first test contained 3 'extra movements' (AKA spooks) but I managed to contain the 'high-alert' Fred-brain and continued on. We did our final halt having avoided death by blue cups, sun-shine patches and noisy steel doors. Still, I felt I had ridden to the best of our ability given the wind and was pleased that I stayed out of the anxiety conversation with Fred.

We had 20 mins to get a cuppa and then it was back to work in for the next test. I warmed up again and having decided my last test was probably poor (% wise) I reminded myself that "today is practice so let's just push for the extra and see what happens. We are here to learn, not to prove I can read." This test went much better, we had forgotten the earlier pony-eating-monsters and even managed to contain the reaction to a horse trying to load alongside the arena. Once again, I came out really pleased and felt I'd ridden the test better than the previous and to the best of our ability given the wind and additional distractions.


I had expected around 60% for my first test and was pleased with 64.1% for 4th place. BUT when I discovered I'd got 68.6 for the second test (my second highest score ever!) and was placed 3rd I was actually choked. That's 7% higher than last week! This staying calm seems to be working. ​

*EDIT* 10 March 2019 - As an added bonus I discovered that we had also QUALIFIED for their final competition in November!! ​

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