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  • Writer's pictureRobyn


Ok, so it' s been a while since I wrote anything. Term started and I found myself mostly asleep on the sofa in the evening - but more about that later.

One of my new year's goals was to take Keith to a competition. We worked a bit over the summer, and were starting to get somewhere (at least in trot) when I got a message from the lady who runs the yard saying they were heading to dressage that weekend and did I fancy going along. Dressage was Saturday. It was Thursday at the time.

On Friday morning Keith had about three inches cut off his mane and a lot of poo washed out of his tail. I dug out my old competition kit - thankfully jodhpurs are forgivingly stretchy, although one of my boots did have to have a little tape wrapped around the toe to stop them from falling apart. We were ready for our first outing!

Saturday dawned, it rained lots, but Keith went in the trailer and off we went. It was a day of lots of firsts - he'd not been in a trailer since he went to the vets for that operation as a baby, never seen an indoor school, never seen dressage boards, never seen me in a hacking jacket! He coped with it all really well, and despite coming last in the class I was really pleased.

We had another go this weekend - this time in torrential rain rather than just normal rain. It didn't go much better. I think I freaked out a bit and overworked him in the lead up. A fortnight ago, cantering was something that happened utterly out of control and at speed, but with some speedily scheduled practices I managed to make it into something pretty and even managed to teach him to start on the right leg. But in all the practice I think I cooked his brain and he forgot how to trot. A bit of a problem in a dressage test.

So, the new plan is this - give the little horse a couple of hacks and calm things down, and then have another go in a few weeks time. You see, apparently the new years resolution wasn't just 'take Keith to a competition', it was 'take Keith to a dressage competition and get a rossette'. This is a bit of an odd situation - dressage has never been at all my thing.

With Max, dressage was something to get through in order to get to the fun show jumping and cross country bits of an event. He'd leap over hedges and not bat an eyelid about diving into the water jump, but no matter how much we worked at it, dressage never really got better. Judges used to say things like 'disengaged' or 'stiff through the corner' - still, he was a long skinny ex racehorse and we were ok with that. Keith on the other hand is about 2 1/2 foot long through the back and has nice, bouncy, balanced paces - and after our initial outing, I found myself wanting to have another go. I've had horses since I was about 12, this is literally the first time I have found myself actively wanting to do more dressage. The situation is especially odd as we came seventh... out of seven!

And the timeline part of the title? That would be the baby that is taking up an increasing amount of space in my belly. I rode till about 6 or 7 months when I was pregnant with Sally and Pip, but most of that was hacking around the countryside and cutting out the trot when my belly started bouncing up and down too much. Now I'm 4 1/2 months through, squishing my bump into jodhpurs I bought when I was about 17 and trying to work out how many more weeks I can get away with getting away with it all for.

I did say more about why no posts and mostly falling asleep on the sofa... that's the answer. Growing a baby makes me sleepy.

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