It's a jolly good thing that I love Pea, because some days (i.e. today) he really does like to test me! It's been about a year since I last took Pea out competing due to his time off, then coming back into work and then dad's car slowly dying but we finally managed to get him out to a local dressage venue today to have a play at an Intro and Prelim.
I think Pea really didn't want to play dressage ponies because he came in with one leg absolutely plastered in mud (& then objected in needing his legs washing again!) and then had a bit of a grumble when I was trying to put his travel boots on being the most unhelpful by fidgeting... Luckily he was an absolute sweetie to plait up and stood there so well behaved for a change when normally he shakes his head! We then went to load and Pea wasn't too impressed! He had a few 'nope, not doing it' moments before eventually loading!
Peas really good in that we can go somewhere and he takes it all in his stride really well! He was rather confused by the people riding the polo ponies and leading others - very odd in his eyes! He also freaked out a little bit later on when someone was bringing in three ponies and had a German shepherd herding them along - clearly not a fan of that!
I popped on a few minutes early to give him a walk round so that he could get used to his surroundings but he was completely fine and didn't look at much at all! A few people had withdrawn so we ended up going in slightly earlier than planned but he had still had a good warm up with me trying to get him to open up a bit more. He was a bit lethargic in his trot work and not really moving forward but I think that might be a bit from being out competing for the first time in a while...
Pea took a bit of an objection to the boards and the small gap between them and the fence at the start of our Intro test so I had to walk him along before turning up the centre line and trotting as we entered which meant that I didn't get the greatest trot to begin with. He then looked at the boards as we went down the long side but soon relaxed more and started to focus on what I was asking of him rather than what might jump out at him! Some work was really nice whilst others weren't so much as he didn't bend properly but overall it was a semi-decent test, in my eyes, and for his first outing in virtually a year I guess I couldn't ask for more. He scored all 6's and 5.5's and some of the comments I didn't 100% agree with such as the 20m circle in trot allowing the horse to stretch - I thought Pea did this quite nicely but the judge reckoned there was no clear stretching shown... Her end comments were "horse now needs to be more submissive to both of your aids, more in front of your leg, and more accepting of a contact. Then his way of going will improve and he will earn the higher marks he deserves." He scored 58.91% and came 2nd which I was rather shocked at!!
Our prelim test is one that went a bit oops! In the warm up he started cantering reasonably well - I need to work on getting him to canter better in a warm-up arena environment as he gets a bit silly with other horses cantering near-by! He did have a bit of a buck but then carried on well, if only a bit stuffy but like I mentioned, I think the environment of having the other horses near-by was a bit too much. We started off alright, well I thought it was okay, and then we hit the first canter. He started well until the 20m circle when he decided that a few bucks were in order, so cue a bit of a stop and then I got him going again in canter fine, just not entirely straight or anything. We then had to change the rein and went off to canter on the other rein and I thought 'it's fine, he's got it out his system' but no. Four strides into right canter and he decides to chuck in a rather large buck and hide his neck so I just went flying straight over - right in front of the judge may I add! So cue a bit of an embarrassing walk back into the warm-up (which is right next to the tests so everyone saw). I did decide to get back on and give him a bit of a trot round but opted not to try canter - we'll save that for at home! However, the comment from the judge made me laugh: "what a shame - bad luck - naughty pony today."
So all in all, a bit of a mixed day. I think for a first competition in 11 months it was half decent, just not the dismount..
Thanks for reading,