Graduated and Raring to Go: Smug Mussett

Socks and Heather haven't had the best track record when it comes to dressage competition - could things be about to change? 

It’s fair to say that I went into the second half of January in high spirits – even the incessant rain couldn’t dampen them. Even though it definitely tried.

As we all know, my previous attempts at BD haven’t been particularly successful. I don’t know what happened to suddenly make Keysoe so scary, but either way, I decided that it was time for a change of scenery.

Now. There are two competition venues near to me with very similar names. One is half an hour away and I’m told, quite convenient to get to. The other one is just over an hour and involves going on the M25. We all know which one I meant to book. And there’s no prizes for guessing which one I did book.

Off to Essex we went!

13th January 2018 – BD Dressage, Brook Farm Training Centre

There I was, confident in my understated use of diamante and ready to show off everything we’d been working on.

The warm up got better as it went on. I’m getting much better at sitting quietly and ignoring it when Socks dances on the spot because somebody cantered less than 10 metres away from her. And, instead of being terrifying, the speakers on the fence were only mildly disconcerting.

Result!

Usually, the pattern goes something like this:

1.     The warm up goes really well. Heather gets her hopes up.

2.     Everything inexplicably goes out of the window as soon as we enter the arena.

We trotted around the edge, with me braced for the inevitable explosion… and it never came. Socks was relaxed, focussed, and listening. We really felt like a team!

 I was so pleased with her! Pic: Gary Bowden

I was so pleased with her! Pic: Gary Bowden

The lack of nervous energy did sadly mean that I had to make up the deficit. Who knew dressage was so exhausting?

When we got to the free walk, Socks immediately put her nose on the floor in a well-earned rest, and it was all I could do to stop myself joining in. I wonder what the judge thought of my asthmatic wheezing?

All in all, I won’t begrudge myself getting a little fitter if it means that every test goes like that!

We made it to the final salute – Socks in much better shape than me – and looked up to see a friend standing with Mum. Georgie (and fellow Your Horse blogger) had arrived!

I was in her neck of the woods so I’d tweeted her earlier in the day and she came over to see us. Socks showed how much she’d missed Georgie by slobbering all over her, as she does. It was so lovely to see her, and two years is a lot of livery gossip to catch up on!

 Catching up with Georgie 

Catching up with Georgie 

Scores out, and we came out with 66% for second!

Now, here’s the quandary. Obviously, I was beyond happy with an affiliated personal best. But does that count as me achieving one of my goals I set for the year? Not already, surely.

We all know what I’m like: I’ve got 66, so now I want 68. When I get 68, I’ll want 70. Will I ever be happy?!

(I can almost hear Debbie, my yard owner, telling me to calm down, even as I write this…)

Targets aside, I was over the moon with my clever bear for being so wonderful, and if I’m honest, she seemed pretty pleased with herself, too.

We’re a right pair of smug Mussetts.

 “Go away, I was sleeping!”

“Go away, I was sleeping!”

Our next dressage outing will be our Riding Club areas, and a return to the haunted house that is Keysoe – but before that I’ve got some more jumping planned, and we’ll be seeing Socks’ long lost husband again as he comes back from injury!

I’m excited!

Don’t miss the latest issue of Your Horse Magazine, jam-packed with training and veterinary advice, horse-care tips and the latest equestrian products available on shop shelves, on sale now