Our competition season continues but sadly I didn’t qualify for the RDA Nationals at Hartpury. It was disappointing particularly as last year I did qualify but for various reasons we couldn’t attend. But that’s the way things go sometimes. Emily and Thomas did both qualify; Emily in her riding test and Thomas in the Countryside Challenge. This was wonderful for us and so they will be off to Hartpury in July and hopefully will bring back some ribbons. For Thomas it will be his first time at a big competition. He has done so well in his first year of riding.
The Regional Competition was held at Scropton this year. Based in Derbyshire it’s not far for us to travel so with Rio in his horsebox we duly set off. The weather was dry and temperate so not too hot or too cold which is always a good thing. Rio and I did our working in and then waited for our time to enter the arena. As it was only Rio’s second time competing independently with me I was a little nervous but he was a perfect gentleman. Yes he did get a little distracted by the whinnying horse in the field nearby and I got distracted by his distractions but aside from this he worked the test very well. We did have an unplanned halt when he decided he needed to poo but what can you do – he’s a horse! I made a couple of silly errors in my circles. One was too shallow and the other too small. Couple that with me almost turning at the wrong point and you can see why my marks were not what I hoped for. But we did do some lovely halts; something we had been working of for a few weeks before the competition. Overall I think it went well. Rio was very good and we managed to complete the test without any upsets (apart from the poo!) and the judge was very taken with Rio – I think she would have taken him home if she could! I can’t really complain. I did make silly errors but that’s all part of competing and I will work on what went wrong to try and make sure we don’t do the same thing again. The day was a good experience. It takes so many people doing so much to make it all work. Our volunteers Liz, Ann and Gill made sure Rio looked a million dollars and that I could actually get on him and Danielle took some fab photos of all of us during the day.
As I wasn’t going to be competing at Hartpury I decided to do the Dressage Anywhere Championship final. I had qualified so thought I may as well have a go. We did do an accurate test but this time I lost marks because Rio wasn’t on the bit enough. As I am still working out how you get a horse on the bit I wasn’t expecting this to be a consideration. So again, things didn’t really go to plan but I am being more positive now and thinking that all of these issues will help me be a better rider if I can just harness them properly. So for the time being my competition season is over. I may decide to do another Dressage Anywhere test in the future but I am still waiting to be classified so might wait until then before pursuing any more. My partnership with Rio gathers pace and we are now working very harmoniously. Rio has a mischievous side to his character which is really quite sweet; but he can be a bit of a monkey as well! Our lesson a couple of weeks ago saw a pony that was a little too round and sluggish – I wonder why? He had managed to escape his field the night before and find his way to the grass on the other side of the fence – yes, the grass really was greener on that side – and boy did he avail himself of it – naughty boy!
Now that the summer is almost here we are getting much busier. Lessons now take place on both a Tuesday and a Thursday and we have started our Silver Hour again for the disabled elderly. So far we have had wonderful weather and been able to welcome a couple of groups of elderly to see and interact with our horses. Last year we had a 98 year old come to visit and this year we have topped that by five years – yes our oldest participant has been 104 – how amazing and so animated and chatty about the horses and how in his younger days he worked for various racehorse trainers. So interesting. The care home that brings along these wonderful people is so interested in getting their residents out and about and book in regularly to take part in these equine sessions. It’s not easy transporting a group of people in wheelchairs but they do it all with a smile and you can see that they really love their residents and will do anything for them. It’s quite humbling to see and be part of.
Radio Lincolnshire’s Melvyn in the Morning show featured us in their “helping others” spot. Liz and Karen went along to talk about Kesteven RiDeAbility, what it does and how we are progressing. It was a really interesting interview that wasn’t rushed or hurried and the host seemed genuinely interested in what we were doing, particularly with regard to our Silver Hour.
With warmer weather arriving our Saddle Club began again. This enables our younger riders to come along after school and have a riding lesson as well as learn how to look after their pony. All of our riders really enjoy this and have great empathy with the horses they ride and our volunteers get so much pleasure out of the sessions. So we are hoping for good weather now so that our summer can continue with Silver Hour sessions, Saddle Club and of course the weekly riding lessons. Here’s hoping!
Kesteven RiDeAbility. Sue’s Blog. May/June. 2019. www.kestevenrda.co.uk
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