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NSEA Ella's December Blog - Dressage Bootcamp Is Underway!

Amongst all the festive celebrations we’ve had plenty of time to fit in lots of competition practice, focusing on cracking Happy’s dressage whilst out and about as well as getting some practice over some bigger showjumping tracks.

December started with a dressage outing for Happy. It was the first dressage test he’d done since our rather explosive attempt at Bicton so I was very excited to have a go at putting all the training we’d done at home over the past month into practice. It was a very successful day and I was very pleased with a 2nd and a 1st in his two novice tests. It was good to see the hard work paying off and very exciting to see what he’s actually capable of!

The next week we had a very valuable dressage lesson running through my dressage test for combined training the following weekend. With Happy’s way of going having got so much better we were able to work on each movement in detail looking at ways to polish off the test and gain as many marks as possible.

We headed off to combined training at the weekend feeling very optimistic for the dressage phase but unfortunately, this wasn’t to be… I was thrilled with how Happy warmed up but unfortunately, he got very tense in a spooky arena for a bit of a cricket score! However, he did redeem himself for his dressage antics jumping clear round the 1.10 and then we had a go at our first 1.20 and he jumped a brilliant clear around a very big track! We also took Sky out for an outing and he was brilliant, finishing 4th in the BE100 combined training, doing his first dressage test for 18 months for a 34 and a clear showjumping. After such a long time off its so lovely to have him back out again - he’s just so much fun! The next day April went to an NSEA arena eventing qualifier and jumped two double clears to finish 4th in the 1m, just going a little bit speedy but she was amazing!

After a couple of days at home, we took April and Happy up to Valeview for training with Caroline Moore over two days. April was on brilliant form having a play through some more technical lines and feeling amazing! We also had a play round Valeview’s incredible surfaced cross country fences which was loads of fun and it was great to blow some of the cross country cobwebs. Happy’s lessons focussed on his flatwork and we really benefitted from taking everything back to basics and making sure he was working completely over his back and relaxed.

After 10 days at home, we took Happy another dressage competition which, armed with a new bit and some new dressage tactics was very successful! It was a very spooky indoor arena so I was thrilled to keep his concentration all the way through both tests - something which definitely wouldn’t have happened a month ago! A very safe prelim test was followed by a lovely novice test, a couple of mistakes kept us out of the placings but I was very pleased with him.

After a lovely week of Christmas celebrations, we managed to squeeze in another combined training trip with Happy and April in the novice. April did a very sweet test, her first since October, for a 33 and a clear showjumping round a very big track to finish 4th. I was very pleased with Happy’s dressage test, managing to keep his concentration in the same arena which he didn’t fancy last time! He produced some lovely work with a couple of mistakes of my behalf for a 35, followed by an unlucky 4 faults in both the novice and the intermediate show jumping.

It’s been a brilliant month to end what’s definitely been a crazy year! We’ve had our highs and lows along the way but April has had a very successful eventing season, I was unbelievably lucky to welcome the lovely Happy into the family, Sky has come back into work and is feeling fabulous and Lexi has just finished her time off and I’m currently getting her fit to get out and about in the spring. Combined with my upcoming A level exams I’ve definitely got a busy year ahead, with plenty of exciting things to look forward to and big plans for the future. A massive thank you and happy new year to everyone who helped me to live my crazy dreams and to KBIS for their support this year. I can’t wait to give 2020 everything I’ve got and, with the support of everyone around me, fingers crossed we can make it the biggest and the best yet!

Short days have been against me getting any decent photos recently so I’ve included some of my favourite moments from this year!

Until next time,

Ella x

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