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Jess Parsons - Dressage

February may only be a short month but we have managed to squeeze an awful amount into our February! 

We kicked off with a little bit of showjumping! Knowing that we have a busy few weeks coming up, I thought we could have a little bit of fun. Show jumping has never been a strong point of ours but just recently Tilly has really started to get the hang of it and also has a great time while doing so.

The following Friday we attended another test riding clinic with Maria Griffin and Becci Trower. We chose to do Elementary 44 as I felt it was the closest test to our squad test what we would need to ride at camp. Tilly was in a bit of a mare mood that day, the kind of mood where she knows best including the movements of the test even when they were not needed! We cant always have good days so to have a slightly tricky one and to be able to seek the help from Maria and Becci was very educational for me. We did still manage a respectable score of 67%, which I was very happy with.  

The following day we competed at home in novice 37, Tilly’s high-spirited mood continued to from the previous day. Tilly was very excited to be at a party where normally she doesn’t care which resulted in me having to put her through her paces in the warmup to get her listening to me. The test itself flowed relatively nicely but she was still a little tense through the movements but had some highlights to the test. Not quite the percentage I had hoped for from the show, however, we came away with 2nd place narrowly missing out on first by collectives.

The following week we set off to the eagle awaited BD Youth High-performance camp at the Unicorn Trust. We arrived on the Wednesday night and Tilly made herself at home straight away. We, on the other hand, had a slight lorry dysfunction when the fuse box had melted which resulted in no light but luckily we had electricity to run our much-loved heater as it was incredibly cold! Dad to the rescue as he went to the local shops and bought some torches for us to hang as lights! I then attended the first workshop of camp which was goal setting and warm up plan activity followed by dinner!!    

The following day we started off our day by having a lesson with Clair Moir, which was incredibly educational working on straightness and suppleness of the movement, and we learnt many new tricks to try, one that has proved very helpful is riding a diamond shape with lots of transitions incorporated within it.

Tilly had a quick afternoon nap while I attended a Performance Profiling group which was very insightful on how to plan and aim for your goals. It made me think about dressage in a totally different way.    

After lunch it was time for test riding, poor Tilly was happily asleep but happily complied with being ridden again! The previous night we had been given a warm-up plan that we had to compete with what we were going to work on and how long for, I gave my plan to Clair who assisted with our warm-up with the help of my plan.  The test became slightly delayed by 20 minutes which extended the warm-up to longer than I would have planned, however during this time I gave Tilly a good walk and worked on flexing and moving off my leg more in walk than I ever have done and it made our warm-up so much more effective before our test. We had a great run through of Novice 37 and received some lovely comments from the judge; we even received an 8 for our halt (Tilly's favourite movement!).

We ended the day attending a few more workshops, followed by dinner. I think Tilly and I slept very well that night after our day’s adventures.  

On Friday I started the morning but going to pilates! This was quite a painful way to start the day with my dodgy shoulder, but it was good to do before riding.

My lesson with Clair was late morning; we continued to build on the work from the previous day, which was very helpful for the lesson but also for the continuing of our training at home. At the end of our lesson, we ran through our squad test to finish our day. We are very happy to now officially be on the BD Youth B squad.   

Camp was an amazing experience; we met some lovely people and have many happy memories to come away with. I would like to say a massive thank you to B&W vets for their continued sponsorship, without their help events like this would not be possible for me.         

When we returned Tilly had a well-deserved time out in the filed for the weekend.

The following week began our preparations for the regionals.

On 21st I entered Tilly last minute in the freestyle, with very little preparation or schooling we went in for it hoping for the best! And incredibly glad we did! We received our best freestyle score yet of 71.11% and winning our section, gaining great scores for our floor plan and music choice. 


To continue our practice the following Sunday we went and hired Summerhouse’s indoor arena to familiarize ourselves with the arena and to have a run through of the music with the help of Helen James, who was a great help and gave us some last minute homework to perfect our test which we have been doing so far this week.

I hope everyone has had a great February and is managing to stay warm while the ‘beast from the East’ visits us!

Jess and Tilly xx  

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