Eland Lodge – Dressage Clinic with Liz Mason- 18 August 2019 (AND TRAILER-GATE)!


Liz Mason is a List 5 BD Judge and is able to work with horses and riders of all levels, whether you’re just starting out or you’re progressing up through the levels. Dressage Tests available from Intro to Elementary. The clinic consisted of an individual sessions of 30 minutes, where you ride your test first, then Liz provides feedback and discusses ways to improve your dressage marks, which you can then ride through again or concentrate on certain sections.

I chose Prelim 14. However, before we could get started i had to register and have Nash’s passport checked. I had forgotten the passport!! Mild panic ensued as I tried all different angles to get a photo of the passport to prove vaccination status. Finally (after about 40 minutes) we got the picture and were allowed to unload and get started. Very kindly Liz stopped on and waited for us!

Got ready very quickly and warmed up whilst Liz had a coffee. I rode through the test for her and got some decent marks (in the 6.5 to 7.5 region), but Liz had some pointers for improvement. Mostly concentrating on balance and supporting better throughout the transitions. I rode the test again after a little coaching from Liz. Marks improved with quite a few 8s, and the test certainly felt more fluid and relaxed. I need to be a bit braver and ride forward to prevent him coming behind the vertical…..

Very pleased with him, we put him onto the trailer and gave him a drink and his haynet. As it was such a warm day we left the opposite jockey door open so he could get some air through into the box – and we went to get a cup of tea before starting the journey home.

We were in the cafe when a call came through from the lorry park about a loose horse. There were only a few lorries there, so a quick process of elimination meant we narrowed the bay horse with a white lead rope down to Nash! How on earth had he got out? He was secure in the trailer! Anyway – it transpired that he had jumped the breast bar and got himself out through the jockey door! He had a few scrapes (his hips, elbows and face) but was completely sound and relatively unharmed! The trailer on the other hand…….

John (Copuland) was absolutely brilliant and fixed the jockey door so it was safe to travel home. Didn’t even have to ask for help – he just stepped up and sorted the problem! Nash walked straight back on the trailer once John had completed that running repairs, but then panicked again once the door was closed, and I started to drive off – getting himself stuck over the beast bar across his middle in front of his stifles – he was curled around the partition in a very awkward position. He stood very calmly – thinking quickly we dropped the breast bar by unscrewing it with the broom handle from the outside (I had only mentioned this to Lynsey last time we were out as she was asking why I carried the handle everywhere).  He stood very calmly and backed out around the partition. We extracted him safely, once again causing himself very little damage! Not wanting to tempt fate again, he stayed overnight with Eland Lodge.  

Once home with the trailer, Chris and I removed the partition, I collected him on Monday morning with no partition and travelling on cross ties. He travelled home like a rock, without incident. He’s a little stiff, but bar some grazes and bruises Nash is feeling quite well.  Next job is to get the trailer fixed!!!

P.S. – Nash had a few days off and was back in work within the week – a very lucky escape! The trailer, however, cost £3k to fix – took the opportunity to get single breast bar and breech bars and to have a camera fitted. We also had a new jockey wheel fitted as Chris damaged it by driving off with it down to get a quote for repair to the jockey door – it never rains…. The partition is sitting in Sabrina’s barn as I’m not keen to use it with Nash again!