Area 13 Dressage to Music Qualifier

Back in January Vicky Allen announced to me that the Christmas dressage, that had been rescheduled was going to be running with the fun music classes towards the end of the day. In Vicky's wonderful way she had decided that after having my horse put down over the new year period, I needed to be dragged out whether I liked it or not for some of what Vicky described as great fun. 

She had ear marked her wonderful school mistress 'Lyric' for me to ride. Lyric needs little introduction in riding club circles. She’s twenty five years young and turns her hoof to all sorts. She gives you the world when you ask her correctly and will soon tell you off if you're not up to standard. Vicky was joining me in our pair with Somni who’s Lyrics youngest foal. He is six years old and learning fast. 

We had a great time and it was just what I needed, going for a boogie with the best of horses and one of my best horse mates. We have since named our rehearsals 'booging with our besties'. I cried at the end of that first test. Lyric had looked after me every step of the way.  I was trying to get used to a new normal of not having a horse at that time. Dear Lyric seemed to know and was completely on song.  

In the run up to qualifiers we redesigned our floor plan to make sure we did more of the test together, as this is one of the requirements. It was then off to Plumpton Collage for a practice at a show being run there by Westend Riding Club. We did a pleasing test and won but best of all we got to have a really good feedback session with the judge. She made us think even further as to how we improve the test, so that we stayed together all the time. 

Lots of practices took place again as the floor plan was altered in order to ensure we had used all the advice we were given as best we could. 

As we went into the arena to do our test for the qualifier Lyric knew exactly what we were there for. With her ears pricked and smile on she was so ready. Mean while Somni was very cool and calm. I'm not sure Somni gets excited about much, he’s a very laid-back horse.

As the music started from our halt Lyric saw the mirror and got all tense. I think out of excitement. It was a huge balancing act as to how to get her to settle. Vicky whispered some good advice which helped greatly much to my relief. 

The problem was we had got behind in our music. We both know the music well. But I'm sure Vicky could sing the song to you without hesitation. This played into our favour very well as Vicky kept whispering instructions so we could make our time up that we had lost. 

Keeping together in the walk work I find the hardest. As you really try to show the best walk it's so easy to lose being up close with your partner and I was worried this showed in the test.  Our final turn and halt on the centre line was bang on. Lyric didn't grab at the reins and try to take off which was great. In our practices we were turning right onto the centre line but she would then take off with very little notice. Hence why we chose to turn left instead. 

The Judge wrote some constructive feedback and it was nice to get some complements too. 

The lorry journey home was a joyful one. We are so excited for our adventure to nationals to represent the club. There are plans to make further alterations to improve the floor plan, so it flows better. I make it sound like we have constantly changed our floor plan. But in all honesty, it's been really fun to work towards improving it after each competition. 

I really recommend people have a go. Its such fun doing it with a friend. The horses enjoy it too. I think us as riders ride differently when there is music on. It changes up what could be a routine schooling session to one that is very upbeat, different and very fun. 

So get planning, our club's dressage to music classes are only five months away!

A huge thank you to the club for allowing us to do qualifiers. We’re going to Nationals!!! Thank you to Teresa and Jenny for helping sort out the declaration forms. I promise to read passports very carefully from now on. I'm so sorry to scare you about the microchip numbers, entirely my fault, thank you for your patients with me. My final thank you has to go to Vicky, for her understanding about my dear horse Boots, for knowing the early days were going to be really tough and for listening to all my worries. She knew what I needed more than anyone... A boogie with my besties. Here's to Lyric and Somni who have brought a whole new dynamic to my riding.  

Jenny Hickman