September was another great month where I feel like we made a lot of progress. He had the first week of the month off (as I did too!) and came back feeling stronger, fitter and more ready for work than ever (as did I!). That gave me a nice foundation to work with and at the end of the month we had our second competition of the season where he felt like a proper dressage horse!
He was incredibly well behaved again on front of the judges and totally aced the tests. We got 67% and a fourth place in the first class, and 68% and a third place in the second class, giving us 9 qualifying points toward the British Dressage regional winter championship in a day – wohoo! I need 20 so I simply have to get 67% or more three more times to make it happen. With 4 more shows with two tests each time booked, I’m confident we’ll make it happen. He’s feeling stronger and more confident in shows, so much so that there has even been a bit of cheeky attitude. I think this will be a part of his personality for life but the good thing is I can now laugh at it and quickly get him over himself.
The horse psychologist Richard Maxwell also came back to do more training and this time it was a lot of practical bits I could start playing with too – which I have been testing ever since! I like how he gives a very holistic view of Mickey – from the biomechanical side of how his body works (he’s also chiropractor and physio) to the psychological side. It helps me to get my head around what Mickey naturally does and why, and how to use certain simple techniques (like pressure – release) to get him to move better through natural aids. He’s given me homework to work with so when he comes back in four weeks I hope he sees a change – either way I’m having fun with it!