Since my last post on show shopping I have acquired some more bargains. I found some white cotton gloves for £2 and carried on keeping my eyes open for long boots without much hope. Then I found some! Not only did I find some, they were very much in the sale; reduced to £12 and then a further 10% off! They’re basic rubber long boots in an extra wide fitting. The shop was a general sports shop with a riding section, so I hadn’t expected to find anything there really. The shop only had 3 pairs left but one of them was my size. I was utterly delighted. Sometimes these things only happen after you’ve resigned yourself to not being able to get any. I was so happy that I bought a white saddle pad for the show as well, although I’d previously planned to make do with my black one.
Unlike the Easter show, the summer dressage competitions are held in the smaller of the two outdoor arenas. This is the correct width for a small dressage arena but over-long, so they divide it off at the correct length with plastic markers on the ground. So around 3 sides the limit of the arena is the fence and on the 4th side there’s just a white strip that a horse can easily step over.
They put these strips out the night before so that people could practice. So we practiced … and several times he took control of the steering and we ended up over that line and out of the arena. Oh dear.
Following the biomechanics session the previous day, I was concerned that our first dressage test might include bucking. I was pretty sure bucking wasn’t quite the thing…
So the night before the dressage test my goal was to get through the test without bucking or exiting the arena and to achieve a vaguely recognisable version of each movement.
I’d arranged to have the day of the show off work so I didn’t end up rushing there pushed for time, trying to plait in record time. With that freedom I decided to ride him in the morning to tire him out. Hopefully that would mean he’d have less energy to buck. I also decided it was time to give in and buy a flash noseband to stop him opening his mouth to evade the bit. Hopefully with the flash on I’d have more chance of keeping him in the arena. I’d buy the flash as soon as the shop opened and then go and ride him in it.
The next morning came and I purchased my flash. It also occurred to me at this point that I really needed to ride in the long boots ahead of the show. It was a beautiful sunny morning and I spent a long time grooming him in the sunshine, hoping he wouldn’t get too dirty between then and the evening. I tacked him up using the new flash noseband, put my long boots on and went out to ride.
The noseband did help a great deal, although he was not too impressed with it. We were able to remain within the arena. There was no bucking either. I did find the boots much harder to ride in than my half-chaps & short boots. In order to fit me around the calf I’d had to go for a width fitting that was very loose around the ankle, making it hard to feel the horse, but I felt happy that I could ride in them that evening. I found it hard to find the “canter-button” in them, but as I was going to do a walk-trot test, canter seemed a bit beside the point.
Satisfied by a good ride, I dismounted, put him back in his stable and took all the tack home to clean before the test.