Monday, September 21, 2015

Recap of a Busy Competition Season

As I sit here and remember everything that has happened since my last post, I realise how fast time flies and how much one can achieve in only just a couple of months! 

In July I competed in two internationals, representing Australia for the first time ever as a senior rider! I did the Small Tour classes (PSG and Inter 1) on Seb at Hickstead CDI and Hartpury CDI. The experience was amazing and I actually didn't do too badly.

At Hartpury I finished near to the bottom of the class on the first day in the PSG, then on the second day I improved to get into the top 15 places in the Inter 1 to qualify for the Inter 1 Freestyle, and in the Freestyle class I just scraped into the top 10 placings to get into the prize giving. I honestly couldn't have asked for a better result and was so chuffed that I was able to improve every day and not put shame on Australia! At Hickstead Seb and  I got 4th in the Inter 1 with an improved score from Hartpury which again was a great achievement. It's all about taking small steps towards where you want to be and only competing against yourself and knowing what you can achieve.

So another exciting thing that happened last month was that Chad WON the Open Elementary Regional Championship at Addington which meant a qualification through to Nationals! The lead up to the competition is quite a funny story actually... Basically I didn't feel like Chad was on form. I was trying all sorts of cross-training to help him feel stronger in his work but it felt like we were stuck in a bit of a ditch that only time could help us out of. However we didn't have any time, as Regionals were happening right then. I said to mum I really didn't think it was worth the hassle of taking him (he was on super early and Seb was on at 6.30 in the evening and we were only travelling in for the day) because he would probably come towards the end of the class and I didn't want to present him as he was because I know he could do so much better than that.

Well, mum wasn't having any of it and said I had to go. And we don't argue with mum. So I was up at 3am bathing him before we left as he was still covered in mud from the day before, and we headed off at 5.45am. Maybe it was the fact I was zombie-tired, or that I really wasn't expecting great things at all, but it turned out that Chad did the test of our lives and felt absolutely incredible! I still didn't expect to actually win though, I just was proud of my test. Winning a Regional wasn't even something I had in my eye-line as a goal yet! So when I saw that I won with over 72% I was over the moon.

The Nationals were this weekend just gone, and again I was so in awe of the fact I was actually there, I think Chad could have gone around on his back legs and I still would have been chuffed to ride in that arena! However, it was a morning where everything that could go wrong, did go wrong, and was all extremely rushed to make the 7am arena familiarisation and then be ready to be back into the warmup an hour later plaited and ready to compete, so we only ended up with 10 minutes of a warmup before we were forced kicking and screaming (not really) into the arena.

I have to say I was really pleased with what Chad gave me, he stayed with me most of the way and the only thing that brought us down was that it was like hauling back a steam train to get him to halt, and our rein back took about 5 hours to achieve. Apart from that he felt great and we managed a 69.75%! Still no where good enough to get a top 10 place, but hey, I RODE AT NATIONALS!!!

Now its time for a bit of chill time on the competition side of things and get stuck into training and preparing for next season. It all kicks off with my amazing German trainer Leonie Bramall visiting us next weekend to do a clinic, which I can't wait to post about!

Bertina in a June/July edition of Horse and
Until then, happy riding :)

Chad in an August issue of Horse and Hound