Rhapsody spent the last week of September training with Andrew and we headed to Patchetts for a para competition early October with high hopes. We won our first class but I struggled to maintain Rhaps’ full attention in the second class and came third with a disappointing score. My frustration was tangible and action was required to keep positive during the month while Andrew was away in the states at his clinics. Sally George, owner of the yard where Rhaps is stabled, kindly offered me her lorry to take him across Reigate to Liz Hale's 20 x 60 school at the weekends.
The past three Sundays, regardless of the weather, we have gone there, working on a few issues I have. This has coincided with me starting a Pilates class which has pinpointed some of the (less obvious) problems I have being with so ‘one sided’ which no doubt contributes to the hiccups he and I sometimes have, especially in canter. Our Sunday sessions have brought positive progress addressing MY riding and have improved our partnership - such a vital part of the equation. You may ask why I have not been doing this all along? Good question... I asked myself that - but I guess this is just a natural progression in our training and is now something to build on.
Also in October I made my debut as a dressage judge - marking the walk & trot test at the Surrey Union Pony Club show. Three sections from lead rein to unassisted meant a wide (age) range of riders and after feeling a bit apprehensive to start with I really enjoyed it - trying to be as encouraging as possible but still pointing out when movements were incorrectly ridden so the same mistake would not be made next time round.
With the clocks now gone back, like countless others I find myself having to ride before work during the week - the very early alarm call is going to take a bit of getting used to! Scraping ice off the car already this week, it really does feel like winter has arrived! Fingers crossed it is not a bad one again!