I know these poor blog pages have been a bit dormant lately – and there is no real excuse for them (apart from multiple moves, a busy Happyologist business and a few life changes). I’ve started the habit of writing monthly reviews of my progress with Mickey so I am going to start sharing these on my blog here so you can follow how our dressage training progresses.
This was an epic month with Mickey – by far the best training month we have had in over a year. Every week (and even every day) we were progressing forward. There were no signs of his naughty behaviour (knock on wood!) and he was so receptive to all the new challenges I was bringing to the table. Some of my highlights included (starting from least important to most important to build momentum :D):
1. Taking him for his first hack in a YEAR. We went around the arenas and rode in the fields. This is a massive confidence boost because out in the open he can get a lot more excitable, nervous and wild – yet he was as cool as a cucumber. He definitely perked up but in a good way that allowed me to use more of his power. Basically he’s now using his power to work with me rather than against me. These mini hacks are something I’m trying to incorporate into my weekly routine now to get him desensitised to the outside world – because once we start competing there will be all kinds of things going on around us and he’ll need to learn to keep his focus solely on me.
2. Riding through a full dressage test with him. This is something I’ve never done with him before as since he’s so young we’ve only done young horse dressage tests which are so much simpler. When I rode through a simple novice test there were no major complications and this gave me the confidence boost I needed to realise we’re ready to go and compete. For sure there is lots of fine tuning to do and I’m not going out to win at this point in time – but simply getting him out there and testing the waters will be super exciting. Simply thinking about this makes me get butterflies in my tummy from excitement!
3. My trainer saying, “You’ve done great work with him”, when he came back from being away competing for a week. And he is not a man of many words or one that spoils you with praise (I love his tough love approach) – so hearing him say this made me so proud of my boy and me. It doesn’t hurt that he rides at Grand Prix level and that he’s the GB Paralympic team trainer – if he’s saying this to me he probably means there is some good shit there! 😀 😀 😀
4. Having numerous moments in trot where he has felt like a Grand Prix horse – his back was swinging, his hindquarters were actively kicking underneath him and his whole front end was rising up – darn it felt good! I know when these real wow moments come because I always get goosebumps (maybe when I get to the Olympics I’ll be riding a full test in goosebumps haha!). That’s when I know the going is really good! He is such an incredible horse and now that we’re on the same partnership page he is bringing his best to the table – and boy is it incredible! There is literally nothing in the world that gives me that same sense of accomplishment, euphoric joy and bliss that getting him in a perfect place does. It is truly magical!
On that note, I’m so excited what July has to bring. I’ve now renewed my competition licenses and booked my first shows for 8th August and 13th of August wohoo! I’m trying to find a transporter for a show on the 25th of July but if that doesn’t work I’m happy to start in August too 😀 I also have horsemanship expert/horse psychologist Richard Maxwell coming on July 18th which I’m super excited about as he will help us take our partnership to a whole new level yet again 😀 The best thing about riding? You never stop growing, learning and progressing!