Unaffiliated Dressage at Allen’s Hill

Venue: Allen’s Hill
Discipline: Dressage
Test: Prelim 7 Judge Jessi Staines
Percentage: 70.5% Place: 1st
Discipline: Dressage
Test: Prelim 12 Judge: V Watkins
Percentage: 72% Place: 2nd
Our first trip to Allen’s Hill, took about 50 minutes from Newbold On Stour so not a bad trip really.  Finn felt very relaxed.  I took her over to the warm up area and she worked in well but felt a little flat after the mammoth session with Claire McCormick yesterday, however, she did feel connected and supple.  She was focussed and listening to me – which was great.
Prelim 7
Finn felt like she was lacking a little bit of sparkle for this test, but she was obedient and balanced and didn’t spook or shy at the people in the catering tent or the green plastic portaloo at the edge of the arena .  The test was quite accurate but I don’t think I breathed for at least the first half!  It’s been a little while since I rode a dressage test in a competition.  The judge’s comments were: “Super partnership with lots to like, accurately ridden”.   I was pleased with the comment about our partnership – seems to be a theme for this weekend.  This was the first test I had ridden since the new BD rules came into force and we had a number of half marks on the sheet, which was nice to see.  We won this class by ~5%.
Prelim 12
Again Finn warmed up well, I did more transitions, but had to stagger the warm up as they were running late….  Finn started well and felt really good, but I made a mistake with the two half 10m circles through X: I put too much left leg on to ask for left bend and Finn jogged – resulting in a 4 for this movement; most of the other movements had been 7’s, with six 8’s.  We also got two 8’s in the collectives – for Paces (freedom and regularity) and Rider’s position and seat; correctness and effect of the aids.  We missed out on first place by 0.8% – If only I’d ridden that the two half 10m circles through X better!!!  The judge’s comments were: “An obedient test.  Now needs to develop a consistently round outline to secure the 8’s”.  
I was really pleased with our efforts today, and was proud that a number of people commented on how lovely and ‘straightforward’ Finn was, if only they knew her reputation!!  When we went to collect the test sheets, one chap (a professional dressage rider/trainer – Nicholas Somethingorother – riding HC for schooling purposes, as his arenas were flooded) said that he really liked her, commenting that she was very elastic!  I was chuffed that he even noticed us – never mind anything else – all down to the lesson yesterday I reckon.  Good news is that we were allowed back on the yard, I had been advised by Hannah not to come back unless we had red ribbons – phew!!