University, train and repeat..

Where has the last month gone! I feel like the past few weeks have been none stop with university and competing. 

I was due to go to Saumur CDI at the start of the month however unfortunately it got cancelled due to an outbreak of equine herpes. I was really disappointed that we couldn’t go however the safety of our horses must always come first. It also meant that I didn’t have to miss a week of university just before my exams started which is always a little bit stressful. I did however manage to go to a show that weekend where we had a run through the PSG. I was so happy to get a new PB and I felt like everything we have been working on is really starting to pay off.

Then the start of my dreaded exams came, I can’t believe that my first year of university is nearly over it has just flown by. I had been feeling really rather nervous before my first exam and I think that is because I didn’t know what to expect as I hadn’t done any proper exams at university yet. However once my first exam was over I felt much better and ready for the rest to come. Unfortunately, my exams fell over Somerford premier league this year, which is one of my favourite shows. We managed to get there on the Sunday though after having an exam on Saturday afternoon. Whoever’s idea it was to do exams on a Saturday needs a bit of a talking to! I have to say having my exam on Saturday has made me feel really muddled up with what day it is as I am not used to getting up and going to uni at the weekend! Anyway, we did manage to get to Somerford on the Sunday and I had a very civilized time of 12:38 which meant that we could go there and back in the day. I was so pleased with how my test went as they have built some new arenas which don’t get me wrong are beautiful but quite spooky. But Uvi behaved impeccably and didn’t even bat an eyelid at the family having their picnic on the side of the arena. We did unfortunately have quite a big whoopsie in my 4 time changes and a couple of other little niggly mistakes but overall, I couldn’t have been happier with the progression, and we still managed a good score. We finished 7th in a very big class full of lots of professionals, and when you are 4th to go after Charlotte Dujardin, Emile Faurie and Sue Carson I could not be happier.

Uvi and I did have some sad news this month though that Uvi’s wonderful physio Maxine is retiring to France. Maxine has known Uvi since he was 3 and has helped massively with his progression over the years. We would both just like to say a massive thank you for all you have done for both of us, you are going to be hard to replace. 

I am now nearing the end of my exams and its nearly time to have a summer filled with ponies! We have got a few more competitions lined up for the next couple of weeks and we also need to decide which regionals we would like to go to. As when I went to manor grange I managed to qualify for the regionals in one outing which was the cherry on top. My summer is starting to get busier and busier by the minute but I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Holland bound!

Well the past month has been a super busy one for Uvi and I. It started off with Keysoe CDI which didn’t quite go to plan. My team test started really well and after the trot and walk I was on 70%+ however mid canter half pass Uvi took a large disliking to the camera man moving around in the corner which left us with a very disappointing score. I was then more determined than ever for my individual test to ensure that Uvi behaved himself. We unfortunately had a lot of tension in the test and some big mistakes once again. I also did a line of 4 time changes rather than 3 times, which is slightly ironic as I am supposed to be doing a maths degree. Then it was music day, however we woke up to the car park white over with snow and the yard at home was snowed under. We had to unfortunately make the decision to withdraw and try and get home which was disappointing. Luckily, we did make it safely home, even after a fair few hairy moments with the lorry skidding. Although Keysoe did not go to plan I learnt a lot and gained invaluable experience. 
Uvi and I then had two weeks at home to relax and train before we set off again to CDI Zeeland Outdoor International in Joosland Holland. During these two weeks, we really worked on the way of going and everything being on my terms not Uvi’s. It also gave me a chance to go back to Fit Missions (Crossfit Bakewell) at home as I have been on Easter holiday from University. The one thing I love about crossfit is wherever you train there is always a sense of community and people always want to support each other to help push yourself harder. Tom Oldfield at Fit Missions started helping me with my riding and general fitness 3 years ago and has been a big part of my training regime ever since. I feel very strongly about the benefits of exercise, clearly there are the obvious benefits such as being fit and healthy.  However, I think it is so beneficial to your mental health. I know personally the gym is a bit of me time and is a massive stress release. Especially at the moment with my first year exams getting closer and closer, going to the gym consistently becomes even more important to me to help me maintain my focus.

Joosland came around ever so quickly after Keysoe and what an enjoyable show it was. It was such a fun show from start to finish, and the fact that our results where good too put the icing on the cake. After Keysoe I wanted to make sure that Uvi behaved himself and was completely onside with me. All week Uvi behaved impeccably and did not put a foot wrong, he did everything I asked even when I may have asked him wrong. We scored consistently all week and made it into the music on Sunday, which was an interesting test for me. My test was going really well until unfortunately we had a really big miscommunication in the canter zig zag which resulted in me having to turn right at C rather than left. I was therefore going the wrong way and had to improvise my floor plan to try and fit in all of the compulsory movements and finish my test on time. Luckily we did finish on time and although the zig zag was costly I was so pleased with how much we have improved in such a short space of time. Going forward from Joosland I am going to work on getting the canter work more confirmed and established as I feel that this is what is stopping us from getting the higher marks at the moment. 

Joosland wasn’t just an exciting show for me but also we got the privilege of watching Charlotte make her debut with Mount St John Freestyle. Wow is all I can say, what a beautiful horse and so beautifully ridden too. It was very inspiring having all the seniors there with us and being able to watch and learn from the best. The atmosphere was just brillaint.

We are now safely back home and unfortunately its straight back to the books for me. I have got three weeks until my exams start so time to get my head down for the next month or so. Fingers crossed we will  make it to a couple more competitions before then.


Welcome to my new blog!

Welcome to my monthly blog, where you can follow the ups and downs of my journey through international dressage and my first year at university.

The past month has been a busy one, with going back to university and the season starting. The month started with international test riding and squad training. On the Saturday we rode in front of international judge Peter Storr. Uvi warmed up brilliantly and I felt like I got the way of going the best I ever had at a show, we then went down the centre-line… The trot work felt fab gaining some of the best marks I’d ever had for my shoulder-in on both reins, I rode the half passes with too much bend which brought our mark down slightly. I was then really pleased with the walk tour, as Uvi is a very hot horse and can be very tricky in the walk. However, the past few shows I really feel that I am learning to get the best out of him on the day. It was then time to canter! It started off great with my two half passes, I then came into the canter pirouette left and made a big boo boo!! I completely over collected the canter and did not ride forward enough so in Uvi’s defence he couldn’t do anything else but break and stop. This proved extremely costly as they are a double marked movement and it took me a while to get the canter back. Although the rest of the canter work was mistake free it was just slightly messy in comparison to the rest of the test. Overall, I was really pleased as I felt like the improvement from our previous show was massive. 

On the Sunday we had Squad training, which involved a training session with Paul Fileder, performance development with Jill Day and Strength and Conditioning with Simon Cushman. I thoroughly enjoyed my lesson with Paul, he really helped me to work on the mistakes I made in my test the previous day and improve my test riding. Our talk with Jill Day was really interesting and made me think about how important it is for us as riders to prepare completely mentally as well as physically for competition. As we put so much focus on our horses and sometimes forget about ourselves. It was then time for my strength and conditioning with Simon. Simon is also a fellow crossfit lover like myself so he could really help give me exercises that I can put into my weekly routine that will improve my riding but also my crossfit. Finally, I have to say a massive thank you to Sharon for organising such a fabulous weekend, the selectors and Fran at the Unicorn.

The past month has also meant settling back into Uni after exams in January. I am studying for a mathematics degree at the University of Sheffield as this means that I am only half an hour away from where Uvi lives with my wonderful trainer Sonia. The past few weeks have been topsy turvy though as our lecturers have been striking over their pensions, which has meant a lot of cancelled lectures. This has been great for riding in the day, however I am a person of routine and it has made me feel slightly out of sorts not knowing what I am doing all the time. Then the snow came! Which don’t get me wrong looks very pretty, however when I have had to be pushed out of my car park ever day this week has made me really hate the stuff. I was due to compete this weekend to have a run through the PSG but the snow has meant this wasn’t possible. Its not all bad though as we are very lucky to have just had an indoor built at the yard. So once I am out of my car park and on my way I can still ride.

Uvi and I have got an exciting month ahead as we have just been selected for Keysoe CDI in a few weeks, and then Joosland CDI in Holland at the start of April. So fingers crossed the snow goes and my lecturers pensions get sorted out then everything can go back to normal and we can focus on our training.

Picture Milly Moncreiff

Picture Milly Moncreiff