|Getting mounted for the December competition.|
|The Plan for the first half of the morning.|
|It looked like this, until it unravelled...|
Anyway, we were second on so shortly after the first rider went out I did a few good transitions with Boysie, gave him a good long stretch in walk, then rode quietly around to the competition arena. The first rider was just finishing off and looked pretty good, but I could only see a small part of the arena from where I was, and I didn't have an especially good view of that part either so it was hard to get a good impression of how her test went. Soon it was our turn to head in. We walked in and then picked up a trot, and did a lap around the outside of the arena, during which the bell went, so then we started.
|Trotting down the centre line.|
I felt that our entry down the centre line was reasonably straight. Boysie was getting into the corners so nicely that I was a bit worried he'd just hop over the white boards. The bend on the first 20m circle wasn't brilliant, but it's a bad side for both of us so considering that I think it was pretty good. We then had a transition to walk 'for one horse's length' (i.e. 4 steps) before going back into trot. This felt pretty good - we'd practised them, so Boysie wasn't too surprised by what is quite an unusual request, and he stayed nice and active in the walk. There were then two half-circles of 10m diameter in trot to change the rein. I find these a bit easier than 20m circles as you don't have to have such good spatial awareness, although on the flip side you do need to keep the horse balanced a bit better.
|Half 10m circle right from E to X|
|Half 10m circle left from X to B|
We then had another good transition to walk and back up to trot, before a 20m circle on the other rein, which felt better than the first. After that there was the free walk on a long rein, which was something I'd wanted to improve from last time. Last time, the judge felt that Boysie stretched nicely but didn't move forward very purposefully. This time, it sort of went the opposite way! Boysie moved forwards beautifully in a very active walk, but could have stretched more - my fault.
|Stepping under nicely...|
|...but not quite stretching down as much as we could.|
|Slightly blurry pat at the end. This time a quiet halt, next time a square one!|
|Leaving the arena on a long rein.|
|Neither me nor Boysie is much good at getting bend on the right rein.|
|The bend looks a bit better from behind!|
|About to trot across the long diagonal, MXK|
|Long rein reward at the end of the test.|
|Beautiful Dan with his bounty!|
|Me and Penny celebrating and cuddling up for warmth!|
|I was not very good at the 'A Level results day' face.|
|Attempting to get a nice picture with Boysie in the presence of his haynet...|
|Tamsin and Shadow trotting around the arena before starting their test - little knowing what awaited them...|
|Penny, me and Tamsin - all safely in one piece!|
|With grooms du jour, Jonny (far left, looking scarily like John in a blue Peterhouse rowing top, dark tracksuit trousers and a dark hat) and Helen (far right, not looking anything like John!).|