Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Dressage This Sunday!

Well, hopefully if it doesn't snow! Every winter, I get all excited for a show only to have it cancelled due to the weather. This thing is, when I rode in Canada, we had shows in all weather! Here in England, the weather isn't as bad and things get cancelled...

I'm really not ready to do any Prelim tests yet as what little riding I have managed to squeeze in between taking care of my son with a tummy bug, work, running my business, etc etc, is killing me due to my lack of fitness. I don't remember my muscles hurting nearly as much in my right thigh before! Must be getting older, I can't bounce back as quick as I did before but I did find my balance and position was a lot better today than it has been all week and I'm starting to get the suppleness back in my hips again.

I decided to do the Intro B test this Sunday and Hattie and I will be doing it side saddle which will be, um, "interesting" as I've only ever ridden the Intro B test once before (earlier this year) and that was astride. I don't like it as much as the Intro A test as I don't find it rides as smoothly and there are a few boring change of reins across the diagonal in it. There is an interesting move in it where you have to do a 20m circle in working trot at A and do it on a loose rein to allow the horse to stretch while keeping the forward movement and keeping the circle "circle" shaped!!

I have been practising this by really turning my head so Hattie can feel where to go and tapping her with the dressage whip on the inside to keep up her impulsion and not to let her drift inwards. At the same time, I have to use my outside leg to stop her from swinging her hind quarters out. So far, Hattie has been doing this well but I have to make sure our circles stay circle shape while at the same time, trying to make my equitation look easy and elegant when really my body just wants to bounce around, LOL!

Every dressage test we have done (except the one we did at the Side Saddle Association show), said that our free walks on a long rein across the diagonal were "lacking in purpose" and needed to be more forward. We have been practising that as well by me lightly tapping Hattie with the whip with every stride (like what my leg would be doing if I were astride) as it is a easy move that is so easy to mess up by the horse drifting and not being forward enough. If I can pick up a few extra points on a relatively easy move, then all the better!

Next month it's the Intro A test at the show but the Prelim ones on offer, are the hard ones with the RSVP letters in a long arena and too hard for me to cope with at the moment so I may try the Intro A test in my off-side side saddle for a challenge! Need to find an off-side apron to wear with my habit jacket though.

It's also the Christmas dressage show next month and I think that we will go with the Christmas Angel costume. I going to make a unicorn horn for Hattie and get silver tinsel and plait that into her mane. I need to go to the thrifts and see if I can find some white curtains or something to make an apron out of it. White velvet would be lovely but what are the chances of finding white velvet curtains?? There is a cheap fabric shop in town that I may visit to see if maybe I can get some cheap velveteen to fashion myself a apron type garment out of it. I'll need to find myself a white jacket or something for on top too! This is going to take some planning.

After this dressage show, I need to have the saddler come out and reflock both my nearside and my off-side saddles before I do anything else as they are desperate for flocking. I have a sheepskin girth cover with no seams on it that I've put underneath the front of my nearside saddle to lift it up a bit and that seems to work nicely for a temporary fix until the saddler is able to come out. My off-side saddle needs the right thigh building up A LOT as the flocking is squishy.

When I went to the Your Horse live show the other weekend, I came across these mounting blocks and I thought they would be excellent for getting on a side saddle as they come up higher than normal mounting blocks...

I stood on one at the show and I was much higher than my normal little Rubbermaid folding mounting steps. I'm finding with my current mounting steps, that I struggle to get on my new side saddle (especially with my body protector on) as it's higher than what my old saddle was or even my off-side is. Unfortunately, these plastic mounting steps priced ridiculously for a hunk of plastic and out of my budget for the time being but I think it's something that I will save up for in the New Year to save wear and tear on my saddle (and on my back!).


  1. How much higher is this block? How tall would be your ideal height of mounting block? I remember at Betty Skeltons yard (Harrow Way House) the mounting blocks were all very much higher than I have ever come across at any other yards.

  2. My folding steps are 43cm high which are fine for getting on astride or a side saddle that isn't padded up so much (my C&W was on a Wykham pad so had a close contact). The plastic block is 62cm high. They do a 4 step one too and that is 82cm high. I stood on that one as well and that was a bit TOO high for what I need, LOL.
    The 62cm would have been ok for me as I'm 5'9". I felt like I was going to fall off the 4 step one though!

  3. We now do a budge range 3-step Priced at £59.99 rather than the Premium 3-step at £79.49 - check out

  4. Too late, I already bought one months ago :(