A last minute change of plans meant that Miranda traveled with me in the lorry instead of coming out on the Thursday. She kindly did all the driving and having her there, in the run up to the competition especially, was invaluable. We had a really good day on the first day's competition - getting 62% - with 65.5% from one of the judges and very positive comments. A good result even thought Pip was under par - despite the loan from Debby Winchester of her Equissage machine - which really relaxed him - he was stressed - and lacking energy due no doubt to being considerably dehydrated as he was reluctant to drink and was not eating all that much either. We were quite worried.
Catherine came over from England on Thursday to help and support us armed with vitamin paste and new horsehage bales and we had been given a tip from the driver of the GB horses, Mark Perry - put a half a bucket of water with loads of fruit and carrots etc floating in it - after a little while Pip was apple bobbing and drinking the tasty water and soon was obviously feeling better. He though - along with the rest of us - didn't really appreciate the incredibly boggy, wet - and cramped - conditions in the warm up which was even worse on Saturday - but we all felt the test went really well - tons more energy and more forward - and so it came like a slap in the face to see our miserable score. One of the judges (a different trio than on Fri) I guess just didn't like us and so slammed us hard - even for the movements he did well (in our opinion) - the joys - or perils? - of dressage and its subjective nature!
But clearly there must have been issues with our test - unfortunately the limited comments from the judges on the score sheets held very few clues! It was doubly upsetting as for the first time that I have heard of & because of time constraints not everyone would be able to do the freestyle to music and so that poor score knocked us out of Sunday's competition - it was a double whammy as it is always a good end to a competition to have a bit of fun with the music!!
Although I was very upset - in the cold light of day I have been able to put all into perspective. The standard of competition was unbelievable - this was a good wake up call for 2012 because make no mistake all the nations are pulling out all the stops - a view I am sure held by all. Most of the top riders are actually 'pros' when it comes down to it - we googled a few and they all have their own yards and train others etc - riding all day every day... so I have made some plans - to get fitter - ride more horses and take heart that Pip and I have a lot more to come. Pip had many admirers and a crowd came in to watch our test on Saturday and gave a huge round of applause at the end - I think we were unlucky with the judging - but that is dressage for you...
So onwards and upwards!