Lauren Dallison - Eventing
Never have I packed, unpacked, and repacked so many times in my life! At the start of the month I returned from Canada, where I had sailed in the Tall Ships RDV in Canada, which was such an incredible experience. On my return we headed off to Pony Club Eventers Camp at Pontispool, I packed what seemed to be my whole tack room and kitchen sink into the lorry, before we set off for a week of training. Donald was a saint all week. I felt his show jumping and cross country improved massively, despite him popping round slightly exuberantly! Cross country has been our weakest faze recently, as over his injury break we seem to have gone backwards with his confidence in a competition atmosphere, so it was nice to have him feeling as though he was enjoying it again. Our dressage is improving all the time, and despite this being our strongest phase currently, it’s nice to see an improvement. We have now got a lot of exercises to use, especially for keeping Donald entertained over the winter! Unfortunately, the long sessions really tired Donald out and he became quite tight over his back. Luckily, on his arrival home, our fab physio Megan King had a few sessions with him to get ready for the Pony Club Championships as well as a trip to Osteopath Gavin Scofield. As Donald arrived home, I headed off to Cornwall to the Boardmasters festival for the weekend.
We had a lesson with Maggie Doel for a final run through of our test for champs, and work on the weaker movements. We perfected his counter canter, and worked on his medium trot, which we have since learnt that he can do, having seen him do it beautifully when he trots across the field as I try to catch him……
The lorry was repacked and everything sorted for our trip to the Pony Club Championships at Cholmondley Castle in Cheshire for the Intermediate Dressage. On the Friday evening and Saturday morning we hacked around the beautiful Cholmondeley Castle to stretch Donald out and settle him in before a final run through with Nikki Clarke, our Pony Club trainer in the evening. He went superbly, despite the deep and sticky going in the exercise arena, which gave us confidence before the test. On the Sunday morning, Donald warmed up rather exuberantly… enough that I was very grateful for my neckstrap! However, he managed to contain his excitement, and channel it into his inner Valegro and produced one of his best tests yet. For his first time in a very atmospheric 20x60m arena, I was over the moon! Luckily, the judge agreed, and he scored 71.45% to place 6th individually, and 10th as a team! I couldn’t be prouder of my superstar pony! After the long journey home, Donald had another session with Megan before having a few quiet days off in the field.
I then got my GCSE results back, which I was very happy with!
Next outing, we took him to an unaffiliated event that was within hacking distance! Donald obviously realised he was so close to home (and our normal hacking route) as he was a little cheeky all day. He produced a very smart test to put him in first by about 5 marks, but I let him down in the show jumping to have the gate down. Cross country, he was being rather silly so we picked up an armful of time faults to drop us to fifth place. However, he jumped the final, and most technical half of the course perfectly, so I can’t complain, and it gives us something to work on!
I then had a mad rush to prepare for my Pony Club B-test where I happily passed both the riding and care with a special commendation for the care section which I was chuffed with.
In my next lesson we worked on making sure he was in front of my leg right from the start, as well as showing me how to deal with his stubborn moments. We spent a lot of time getting the right canter to jump, and me not firing him at fences if I see a ‘flyer’.
Next outing was a hunter trial at Larkhill, over the BE100 course that I competed over in the spring as a confidence run and he was a star! I had a completely different attitude and went out of the start box with no hesitation (despite his attempts to stay in the warm up as long as possible…!) and he flew clear inside the time! Finally the result we wanted, and I can’t wait for West Wilts BE100 next weekend. I start sixth form this week which is a very daunting thought!
Until next time,