The Lovely S and I got out of bed more or less on time.
We did the usual stuff then left the house more or less on time.
We arrived at the yard on time.
I loaded the lorry.
Groomed a surprisingly mud-less Vin.
Put him in, gave him a haynet to munch on and we…
Left the yard early (shock horror!).
It didn’t rain (more shock horror!).
Arrived at Allenshill way ahead of schedule (so much shock horror that it defies description!).
Had a cup of tea from the excellent refreshment stand.
Watched a small group of horses working-in.
Walked the show jumping course.
Walked around to the dressage arena and watched three tests.
Got very confused because the first test we saw wasn’t the one I’d learnt!
Realised that that test belonged to an earlier ‘dressage only’ class.
Watched the first Prelim 18 competitor.
Watched the second, just to cement the test well and truly in my head.
Got confused all over again!
The second competitor rode a movement that I hadn’t learnt!
Dashed back to the lorry to check that I had learned the correct movements after all.
Got Vin out of the lorry, ran a body brush over him, tacked up.
Put my show jacket on, slipped the smart silk on to my hat.
Put on my riding boots and gloves.
Mounted up and walked in to the warm-up arena.
And began working in.
Vinnie (bless) was brilliant; laid back, supple, obedient.
Until, about 10 minutes away from our test…
I asked for a right-lead canter.
And he blew up.
Minor rocking horse action accompanied by a couple of bucks.
One of the other working-in combinations were so spooked by Vin spooking that the rider fell off!
We got called forward and rode in to the arena.
I felt we executed our dressage test pretty damn well.
With one exception.
The second canter – right lead.
Yep, he had an issue with it again and let me know, again.
I asked three times for the correct canter lead and three times he told me where to go.
In the end I ignored the unasked-for counter canter and just resolved to finish the test.
Back at the lorry we swapped tack (jumping saddle for dressage saddle).
And began working in: canter-work in a forward jumping position.
Then rode in to the jumping arena and popped the practice fences a couple of times.
Announced we were ready and…
Went for it.
Vinnie jumped like a star (even if the star in question had a resemblance to a stag on speed).
No stops, no poles down, no crookedness, no hesitation, (in fact lots of quickness of the almost too variety).
I don’t know where we finished in the placings.
We had to leave Allenshill as soon as we’d jumped â- a prior commitment with Harry Potter.
But I do know that Vin was a total star.
We raised our Prelim 18 points by a further 20 on our last Prelim 18 outing – brilliant improvement.
I also know that today’s competition filled both of us with confidence and elevated our partnership to a new level of trust and understanding.
I just hope that the whole thing wasn’t too boring for The Lovely S who accompanied us.