Lord Ben and I managed to qualify for ROR Novice Dressage Championships at Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials, and I am not sure if someone thought it would be hilarious to have two days of retrained racehorse on grass arenas. I guess it will prove how well we have all retrained our racehorses!
I am not going to hide the fact it did make my stomach churn a little, and with the extreme heat the ground for the most part has been too hard to train on, which has made me a little more anxious not being able to practice on grass. An opportunity arose a few weeks ago to enter a showing show to support the wonderful air ambulance and give us some well needed riding on grass practice. As a glutton for punishment, I also decided it was a great opportunity to get Django out to a large show too, so it was a full day showing Saturday in hand with Django and a full ridden day on Ben on the Sunday.
Saturday was a very long day for such a young horse, but as per usual he was foot perfect, and came home with a 1st, 2 x 3rds and 2 x Judges choice awards. It was a wonderful experience for him with lots of waiting around, in a very busy environment. Now it was time to get home and get Ben ready for an early start Sunday.
We arrived at the show and Ben was very calm and relaxed to get tacked and warmed up, and much to my surprise he was very relaxed in the ring. Due to the hard ground, there was no group canter, which may have been the only reason it was so calm, but I will take the small win! As obviously there will be no group canter in my dressage (unless we end up in someone else's arena!!) I have never really done much showing, certainly nothing on this scale, and to my absolute delight and surprise we came 2nd in both our very large classes. The feedback from the judges was incredible, saying we had a very strong future in showing should we wish to pursue. Ben is now 18, nearing 19 and while still young at heart and touch wood sound, I know soon he will need to start winding down from dressage, and now feel like he could move over to showing, which is far less physically demanding.
The weekend was a roaring success which isn't something that often happens with horses, let alone two horses over a whole weekend, and I am now very excited (and still pretty scared) for the championships, so watch this space...