It’s been a while since I’ve written a little Miss G update. We’ve been quietly working away as best as we can in this wild winter weather and have been having fun between hacking, lessons and helping with the planning of an exciting new event.
So, G moved home at the beginning of December after an extremely fun year of showjumping. We finished our season at Cavan Christmas show, where we won a 90cm class and despite a pole in the 1m, I was extremely proud of Miss G and how far we had come over the course of the year; all thanks to the support and encouragement of our friends and trainer. (I’ll name and shame you all one day!)
After a relaxed Christmas with family and some leisurely hacking I decided I’d like to focus on some flat work and dressage training again. Giselle was showing a little lack of enthusiasm towards her jumping towards the end of the season, and I felt she could do with a break from colored poles. Being 17 years old this year I’m also very aware of how important it is to keep her supple and in shape so getting back to the flat could only benefit the both of us. Plus – I really do love my flat work and love the challenge of learning new movements, especially on my wiggly temperamental mare!
So it’s back to regular lessons with our dressage coach Simone Hession. Our lessons are shared, which adds a lot of fun and banter. There is much debate over the standard of apple tart provided post lesson these days… I’m afraid to tell them apple PIE is actually much nicer than tart.. but I think that may be too controversial!
Our aim this year is not only to upgrade in riding club to advanced intermediate dressage, but to compete in a couple of Dressage Ireland shows and to ride some Novice tests.
Novice tests incorporate movements like medium trot and counter canter. Our medium trot is getting a little more refined and consistent, but it’s counter canter that is really the challenge. It’s something that Giselle finds hard to grasp as she has always been a showjumper and she knows which leg she’s supposed to be on – making my life easier in the showjumping ring!
Asking her to essentially canter on the wrong leg is completely confusing her, but in our last lesson we managed a few strides before changing and I can feel that once she understands and with consistency and hard work (from me) it’s something we can crack.
That’s what I love about riding. You’re never really quite there and you always have something you can learn, something you can improve and something you can work towards. The work in progress continues.
And what are we working towards? Well, our dressage goal at the moment is to compete at the Wild Atlantic Dressage Festival at the beginning of May, at Ard Chuain Equestrain Centre, Co. Sligo. This is a new two day show for our region and is down to the drive and ambition of Simone.
I’ve been helping with the promotion and the organizing of the festival. It’s very exciting to have a prestigious show like this in our area and I’m not only looking forward to supporting it and competing, but also to welcoming the many riders who will be travelling from all corners of the country to compete in our little corner of Ireland!
I’m also hoping to improve our cross country record and recently took part in our riding club regional training day. Last year we came close to qualifying for the riding club eventing National Championships, which is something I would really love to do. So with that in mind I booked the arena cross country lesson and flat work lesson.
Giselle absolutely loved the change and was super over the solid fences. Some changes to my position and the suggestion to go up yet another hole in my stirrups made a big difference to her. Nicest of all was that the instructor recognized Giselle from her previous life and commented on how well she looked, but also that she looked happy – which obviously made my day, and felt a bit totes emosh, what better compliment could you get other than your horse looks happy?
We also had a serious work out in our flat work lesson and some great feed back, which shows the work is paying off and coming together.
So that’s it… we’ll continue to work away quietly, and hope that the weather co-operates! We hope to make it to a Dressage Ireland show in a couple of weeks and a riding club show at the beginning of April.
Our competition season might be starting a little later than normal, but we’ll just keep working away quietly until then..
Slán go fóillín