2017 was such an eventful year I barely had any time to write here. That’s why this post summarises some of my best horsey highlights and biggest learnings of the year.Let’s start with the highlights.
First, I competed Mickey at his first ever Winter Regionals. He was a bit tense with the atmosphere and I was a bit tense warming up in the same ring as Charlotte Dujardin! Overall, the result was decent and I was just happy to have taken part.
Second, I qualified Mickey to the Summer Regionals at Elementary level. Despite being at this level for over a year, I saw this a feat to be proud of because the start of the competition season was shaky and wild. My competition nerves got the best of me and Mickey’s spooks got the best of him. Luckily, by going out at least twice a month we both got ourselves in shape and managed to qualify. The regionals themselves were a bit shakier again due to torrential rain and bad nerves on the rider’s part. It’s definitely something I want to work on in 2018!
Third, I qualified Mickey to the Petplan Area Festival at Medium Level (with two tests!). And… we bloody won it! I was ecstatic about this win as we were very new at the level. Despite that, we produced a clean, accurate test which secured the victory. It was our first ever prize giving so it was even nicer to be able to lead it 😉
I also qualified Mickey to the Winter Regionals at Medium level. They are coming up in February 2018. Keep your fingers and toes crossed for me!
So what did I learn from this year looking back on it?
First, patience and persistence can get you anywhere. When things were at their worst with my competition nerves and Mickey’s tense tests, I could have easily handed Mickey over to a professional to compete and deliver the results. But what would be the point of that? I love the sport, I love my Mickey, and I love to compete. So it was up to us to figure it out together. And I’m so glad we stuck with it because we did.
Second, trust your horse. Once Mickey calmed down from the spooks and the tension, I had to learn to give smaller aids and more freedom so he could develop his own confidence. I had to learn to trust him and give him the chance to show he could do it – and simply be black and white when he made mistakes. This was critical in my journey in becoming a better rider as if you don’t give your horse the chance to make mistakes, neither you or he will learn or move forward.
Third, have fun with it! Sometimes in the midst of the competitions stress kicked in and the pressure got on top of me. This was when I enjoyed it the least and also performed the worst. That’s when I really realised in the end it’s just dressage and we are all here to just have a good time. So put your smile one and enjoy your horsey times!