Equine-wise, things have been fairly busy, and a bit out of the ordinary. On Monday the 10th there was an affiliated dressage competition at Foxes, and I found myself writing for the judge, Sarah Dobell BHSI. I hadn’t written for her previously, an writing for a new judge is always a bit of an unnerving prospect, but after an initial hiccup or two it went fine. Just as well, as the tests went up to Medium level. I’ve written up to Advanced Medium before now, but always for a judge with whose style I was already familiar. Just goes to show that you don’t have to be a dressage rider yourself to be a writer! Another interesting bit, before the competition started, was being invited to listen in while Anna spoke to a group of first-year vet students from Liverpool University about various aspects of running a riding school. Sadly, I missed the first part because I wanted to get all my test sheets written up in plenty of time.
Thursday the 13th saw me back doing my weekly stint with the RDA. The weather stayed fine, so we were able to get outdoors on all the morning and afternoon rides, but by the time the evening rides started at 5.30 it was threatening to rain, and between that and the dark setting in we were indoors for all three rides. Working indoors is different in that we do more halting and moving off, steering and changing the rein than we do when we’re walking outside. Plus we get at least one trot per ride! (A highlight for a lot of the riders.) I was leading Drummer, an RDA stalwart who had been on each of the rides, as he usually is on a Thursday. Eight in all, so four hours work for him (and Grace too). Good job it’s all pretty gentle stuff! He’d had a fraught day, having been turfed out of his stable to make room for a new horse and accommodated at various points in Linford’s stable and then in Oscar’s. Don’t know who was more confused – Drummer or the volunteers who had to get him out and put him back! To be fair, nothing really fazes Drummer – from the RDA point of view, he’s a saint.
More seriously, we struggled a bit in the evening because of a shortage of volunteers, especially on the last ride when we had seven riders. So if anyone reading this feels able to spare a couple of hours from 5.30 onwards(or preferably a little earlier) on a Thursday, you can find a link to the RDA from the Foxes website, which will tell you how to take things further.
We get a good break between the afternoon and evening sessions, so in alternate weeks I have a riding lesson. I was expecting to be taught by Heather again, but instead I was taught by Rachael for the first time. Great! I was riding Linford and got some of my best canter yet. (Not that that’s saying much.) Which reminds me; I never mentioned how I came to start riding in the first place. Guess that’ll have to wait till next time.
All the best,
As Peter mentioned above, if you could spare a couple of hours in the evening on a Thursday please do get in touch with the RDA, more details can be found on the RDA web page. Additionally, Foxes hold both Affiliated and Unaffiliated Dressage competitions on a regular basis though out each month, if you would like to give Dressage judge writing a go, pop us a Personal message on Facebook to express your interest and we can then let you know when we are next looking. It is a great think to do, you get to learn a lot even if you don’t compete.
Until the next time…..
The Foxes Team