Competition 1 - BD Para-Intro Dressage, Cambridgeshire CollegeThis competition was specifically a para-equestrian event. There were five of us competing, of whom I knew two from my RDA group (so was rooting for them!). Two more came from a different RDA group. We were spread across three different grades (II, III and IV) but our scores would be compared across these grades.
|Trotting past the judge.|
|Unflattering concentrating face!|
|Bit wonky down onto my bad side|
|Canter just before the downward transition that did actually go OK...|
|Coming to a slightly fidgety halt.|
After the test, the judge popped out of her box to come and give me some face-to-face feedback. I wasn't expecting this, but although it made me even later for my concert it was REALLY helpful to have feedback whilst still sitting on the same horse I'd used in the test. I had a go at learning how to steady his trot better (which can be quite rushed after the excitement of a canter) and also at using my hips to turn him more when my arm can't. This is an interesting one which I will definitely be experimenting with some more - I have a lot of pain in my hips so I don't know if I'll be able to do it all the time just yet but it would be good to strengthen them up and as I have very good mobility (too good!) in them I should be able to do it. It's really helpful to have a way to turn him that isn't just relying on one arm (which can get stiff). It also reminds me to turn my left arm in instead of just leaving it dangling.
|Turning on this rein is really easy - I'm not so good on the other rein!|
Competition 2 - Cambridge University Riding Club, Dressage Cuppers
As a graduate of Cambridge, I've been aware of Cuppers competitions for a long time. They are basically a way of facilitating inter-college sporting competition, and almost every sport will have some form of Cuppers matches. With the riding club, these take place each term - the gymkhana was last term (one for me to look forward to next year); dressage was this term; and showjumping will be next term (hopefully they'll let me go round one-handed!). Usually, graduates of a college are not allowed to compete in these events unless they are still a member of that college (e.g. studying for a Masters or PhD), but as an alumna I was eligible to compete in Cuppers Dressage. Hurrah!
|All of us!|
|Riding Ash, with Dominique (left) and Kirsty (right)|
|From this angle I actually look quite a good size for him - which brings home my lack of height!|
|Trotting down the centre line.|
|What a lovely little chap!|
|A good use for the corkboard!|