On Saturday, it was jumping in the rain. On Sunday, it was dressage in the heat -just shows how unpredictable British weather can be! Our test was at 9:35 am and already by that time I was melting in my medium weight wool navy habit. I was glad that I didn't have my heavy weight black habit any more or else I would have been a puddle on the floor. Jackets were waived after but I couldn't have shown without a jacket as I was wearing my pink show shirt underneath my habit!!
I decided not to jump Hattie as part of the warm up in my friend's school but instead go straight to the show and warm up in the semi cool indoor school there. We did lots of walking and circles to help loosen her up, transitions and cantering to wake Hattie up and she went really well!
Call me strange, but I find it also helps if I talk to Hattie before a show and then before a class and tell her what we need to do, how were going to do it and if we're feeling cocky, that we want to win, then she always does it. If I forget to talk to her, then we always do poorly so now I've gotten into the habit of talking to Hattie before we school at home what we need to do, our goals and why, etc and we always do better.
I'm not professing to be some sort of horse whisperer and I'm not really into New Age Horsemanship (although some horses probably need it so it has it's place) but it just seems more than coincidence that we do crap when no talking happens and then win or do very well when I do talk to Hattie so now I always do it and so far, so good. Hattie seems to like being spoken to as well as her eyes close and she drifts off - either that or she finds me boring, lol.
Maybe Hattie is just some weird horse that understands the English language or maybe it's good for my brain to put me in the "zone" with riding but talking to each works for both of us! It's a natural aid and beats whips and spurs so why not?!
Hattie before our class waiting to go in...
Any ways, I spoke to Hattie before we schooled and before our class (and I told her that we want to win today as there was some stiff competition from some seriously nice moving horses) and guess what? We won!! 65.22%, probably the highest score in stressage we've ever had!!
Hattie was brilliant today and most of our marks were 6's, 7's and 8's. We got our only 5 as our center line at the end was wobbly, Hattie slipped on some worn away arena surface which wasn't really her fault. The judge wrote "A nice change to see a side saddle test." but said "Be careful not to use your voice as this is not allowed." All I did really was tell Hattie that she was a good girl as she was, well, being good during the entire test but didn't think I was speaking very loudly. I stand by my choice of praising her but will have to remember to whisper it next time, Hattie has good hearing any ways.
Here is the video of our test:
We got our red rosette and won won a voucher for free entry to the next show and a dressage lesson with respected dressage trainer and rider, Danielle Steed (she was also the judge at the show today!) at her barn. The only problem with that is that is her barn is about 12 miles away and since I have no transport and it's too far to hack, it's going to be a bit difficult for me to partake of my prize. I'm going to call her and ask, if I pay her fuel and time, if she would be able to come out to me. Hopefully, she will say yes! :)
Lesson here? Talk to your horse! :)