So after a few well deserved weeks off for both me and Parker after competing at Norton Disney, it was back to normal with a dull thud. I felt the familiar feeling of I can’t be bothered creeping into my riding routine. It was always dark or raining or both. Hacking was out of the question unless it was on a day off, galloping was out as it was so wet, Parker was always dirty – who buys a grey? Schooling was too much hard work or the school surface was too boggy ….. I realised then that I needed to change my mindset. The winter Blues were setting in!
This year I’ve worked really hard to keep Parker going strong not just ticking over ready for the beginning of the season. One of the main ways of doing this for me was joining an on-line dressage site called E-dressage. They set a dressage test for you to video and upload, BD judges judge it and you get really good feedback to work on for the next month (and if your lucky a frillie!) Another great thing about on-line dressage is no need for transport and hours of cleaning as although you should look smart they don’t want you in show gear. Since joining E-Dressage I’ve become obsessed with schooling and dressage again. It’s been brilliant and I’ve even had a go at a Novice test which I might not have done out and about. It’s brilliant except on the day the results are published as I’m so competitive I find myself clicking refresh over and over again!
My plan for January was to get myself stretched out. I promised myself I would work on my own body to make myself stronger in the core in order to improve my Dressage score. So far this month Parker has had a visit from the equine physio Sarah Harris who told me apart from a few tight spots Parker is beautifully built. I then went to see Laura Payne for physio. She believes I am indeed hyperflexible which sounds brilliant but instead is the cause of my back pain as my muscles are protecting important joints. So I will indeed have to do lots of stretching and pilates in order to strengthen everything! (Boo I just wanted to pay someone to fix me!) Cod liver oil and Aloe Vera Gel on the go. Watch this space!
It’s all about the PANTS! So I was reliably informed by my instructor that full seat breeches would change my life. Once she said this to me I went into full detective mode and got into the weird and wonderful world of dressage pants! I’m always up for trying anything that may help improve my riding so for Christmas this year I have ended up with a pair of gel padded dressage pants, seam free pants and the most amazing faux fur lined under-jod thermal leggings as well as a pair of Ariat full seat breeches.
So a few days after Christmas and giggling insanely to myself I got dressed in all my Christmas presents and prepared to start riding like Charlotte! Alas although I had a really comfortable ride without any of the possible underwear ‘malfunctions’ my riding didn’t really improve although I am looking forward to our first event to wear the seam free pants, always embarrassing to have VPL!
I have also realised that stressing about not wanting to ride only causes more stress. If I’m really not in the mood Parker doesn’t care as long as he’s warm, fed and has a hug. We’ve done a lot of long distance hacks on days off and to keep me fit trotting in a light seat ah the burn! Parker has been amazing out by himself as we explore the countryside. We have discovered the painted SLOW letters on the road. At first he was’t sure about them and we had to jump over each and any every one. Lucky we can trot over them now!
So now it’s back out to the freezing cold (of course wearing my thermal long johns and all my christmas socks, gloves, hats…) checking the BE website for when the first events open. We have a few weeks of fun planned including some showjumping, an arena eventing clinic at the end of Jan not to forget this months E-Dressage test!