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Jess Parsons - Dressage

August….. It’s been and gone in a flash!!

Our main aim for August was to compete at the Midways Championships and the Petplan Area Festival at Hartpury, so August was mainly focusing on preparations for that. I like to keep Tilly as fit as possible and believe that time out of the school is so important for her, also helpfully she loves exploring the Cotswolds and we are very lucky to have some lovely big hills for hacking which is perfect for her fitness work. After being inspired after attending a talk at B&W a few months back which showcased how physio Anna Davison uses the Equi band when working on a  horses fitness I introduced this into our fitness programme and into my hill work to really get Tilly working from behind.  Preparations with our schooling work was going to plan and we were consistent in our routine of hacking and schooling through the weeks.  

On the 12th August we decided to have one last competition at home at Burrows Court before we went away. The day before we tried a new schooling approach with Tilly and I think that it was safe to say we found her go button! A little more than we expected as I went to warm up and asked for trot and we were off and there was no stopping Tilly.  It was lovely to have so much energy but we suffered a slight steering  malfunction! Our first test was Prelim 17, we entered the test at about 100 mph! down the centre line and how we managed to turn the corner I still don’t know! but after that Tilly did decide that maybe it was an idea to listen to me!! We had a lovely test and scored 67.01% to come 2nd  which gained us our first four points towards our winter regional qualification.  Our second test was Novice 27 which is a test we have not done before. We had a lovely rhythmical test and scored a PB of 68.21% at affiliated Novice level and to also come =3rd. we also had some lovely comments from the judges which made a lovely day’s competition.  

This month I have taken on the ride of the lovely Bud who I school once a week for his owner Julie. He is such a lovely horse who is always so keen to please you. It’s great for me to ride other horses as it enables me to develop as a rider and gain experience on different types of horses. I most definitely receive the evil eye from a certain horse of mine when I ride Bud though!! 

This month have also been busy helping out with the running of some dressage competitions, the unaffiliated at Burrows Court where it’s always  lovely to see so many familiar face’s out for an evening of dressage. And also the Berkeley Hunt Supporters Dressage Day which had very good entries and luckily the weather was good to us. It was so lovely to see everyone do so well and get some great scores, under the spectacular setting of Berkeley Castle down in the meadow. 

The week of the Midways Championships came around fast. We packed the lorry and plaited Tilly up on the Thursday night ready for our early start on the Friday morning. Our test was at 8.41 which by the time we travelled there was a rather early start especially for my poor Dad who had his first day off in a long time and was kind enough to be lorry driver and groom for me. Our warm up went well for the first test. The test itself went well although Tilly dropped me a little in the test which seems to be her new trick when competing which was disappointing after a good warm-up, however we scored 65.88% which put us in 10th place over night.  

We had a little break in between our tests, which allowed time for a sleep in the sun for Dad and Tilly!! Our second test was the Music Freestyle which as at this point the weather was getting a little warm, especially in  the indoor school,  I decided to keep the warm up short and sweet. I went into the test and was able to get her more in front of my leg than the previous test and felt a lot more determined in the test.  The test went well and it was lovely to ride the Music Freestyle test in the big International Arena which has such a nice atmosphere. We scored 66.33% which meant we finished in 3rd place. I was so delighted when I found out that later on that night we would  attend a mounted prize giving, which is something I have always dreamt of doing and hoped we would achieve one day.  The down side to the prize giving was that it was at 20:45 at night which was most definitely past Tilly’s bed time!! She was slightly confused about going out in the dark! We went back down to the International Arena and Tilly was an absolute star in the prize giving where we received a stunning rosette and also a prize, Tilly stood like a rock and loved the round of applause for her.  

The next day we had an another early start in preparation for our test. The warm-up went very well and Tilly was listening well but was a little on the tired side, we had a good consistent test but sadly Tilly did drop behind my leg again. We scored 63+% to finish in 11th place overall, which I was still so pleased with.  We were due to stay on another night to compete at the Petplan Area first round but we took the decision to pull Tilly out. She had been so well behaved over the weekend and to come in 3rd place and attend a mounted prize giving was more than I could have ever of dreamt of.  I could have pushed her another day but felt that it was best to leave it at that, the Petplan class was huge and getting in to the top 10 to get to the second round with a tired Tilly was looking unlikely!  

Tilly was very happy to go back out in to her field and enjoy the bank holiday weekend in the sun! I have given her a fun week of hacking and jumping before we crack back on with the schooling and try and crack the dropping behind my leg during the tests!!  Exciting and enjoyable times ahead, and of course hard work and dedication as always.

Hope everyone had a great August Jess x   

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