September Dressage

The Evenlode Riding Club summer dressage series was meant to come to a conclusion back at the beginning of August, but due to a local strangles scare, it was postponed. The new date coincided with my first day with my new class but I decided to go ahead with the show anyway, knowing full well that Pea’s appearance would suffer due to lack of time.

I survived the day at school and got to the yard to find Pea the dirtiest she’d been all summer! It had rained the night before and she’d obviously decided to roll on both sides. There definitely wasn’t enough time to bath and dry so I opted for elbow grease and my much loved Eqclusive brushes. I think I just about managed to rescue the situation. Apart from that little bump in preparations, I was actually feeling quite relaxed; I only entered to do one test, I knew the test and I had had a good lesson just a few days previous.

My warm up is never great before a competition but I tried to think about everything that we had gone through in the lesson at the weekend. After three laps around the arena we..

  • Entered down the centre line, drifted to the left, corrected a bit too far to the right, smiled and turned right, mentally leaving that movement behind!
  • Did a half 20 metre circle to E followed by a much straighter centre line and a bearable half 20 metre circle to B
  • Trotted a three loop serpentine trying desperately to change the bend when necessary


  • Tentatively trotted to K thinking “sit, don’t panic, this is going to be the easier canter to get”
  • Promptly ended up striking off on the wrong leg, tried again and miraculously found myself on the correct lead to continue the circle!


  • Attempted to get to M but flopped back into trot too soon
  • Changed the rein in a very free walk on a very long rein trying not to make it obvious I was nudging and nudging to keep walking, gathered the reins up desperately to get ready for the trot
  • Managed to get a functioning right canter on the first try even if the circle was more of an 18 metre than a 20 metre and it nearly disappeared a couple of times
  • Turned a little too keenly down the centre line and halted progressively but wonkily!

Although it was by no means a seamless test, I was really pleased with Pea (and myself) when we came out of the arena.  Alex (who is becoming quite the dressage connoisseur ) said that the canter work was the best he had seen us do in a test so I decided to take his word for it!

As the penultimate combination, we didn’t have long to wait for the results.  We got 64.81% and a lovely comment from the judge who then came over to us and told me how she had fallen in love with Pea while watching the test.


While we didn’t earn a rosette this summer, I’m really pleased with how I feel we have improved and our marks are certainly getting more consistent.  Now to make some winter show plans!


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