Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Olympia, hot headed Mr P and Annabel takes a few dunkings! Steph Croxford keeps us posted...

Since I last updated you we have battled on with the snow and competed a very keen Mr P at Olympia! It started brilliantly with me opening up the Olympia programme and seeing a big picture of Totilas opposite a big picture of Mr P - I think that will be the first and last time we are on the same page as Totilas!

The preparation was certainly not ideal for Olympia - the snow caused havoc and I didn't actually canter him until the sunday at Olympia - so to say that we were a little excited is an understatement! I would say that the Grand Prix was a bit 'fly by the seat of our pants' and can only describe it as a little rough round the edges - however we performed all of the movements so were a little disappointed with our 66.7% mark - especially when other competitors (mentioning no names) had horses that totally blew up and failed to perform movements and scored higher than us! But as we all know - that is dressage!

I felt slightly panicky in the warm up as he was so hot headed that I could barely put my right spur on his side - I forgot how buzzy the atmosphere was and it can turn the most relaxed horses upside down - at one point Mr P bolted off with me and we were within an inch of a head on collision with Judy Harvey! He was slightly explosive and all the way down the centre line I could feel him daring me to touch him! Once we were doing the test though he settled and got on with his job and I was pleased with him. You forget how hot the horses get in there - when you are warming up during set up all you can hear is staple guns which are like guns going off and the horses totally freak out at them! Also the temporary stables back on to the warm up so every now and then you get a nose poking out of the top - doesn't help concentration!

I was slightly disappointed to read on the BD forum that spectators were saying that horses at this level should be prepared for the atmosphere so I was quick to respond! You have no idea how buzzy the atmosphere is until you are riding in it - it blows their minds and even at competitions like the World Games and Olympics it is not so intense because it is outside. At Olympia as soon as you go through the curtains you are hit with an immense heat from the hall and it is like a humming sound of people talking, eating, and moving around. You simply cannot criticise until you have been in that situation!

We finished 9th overall and considering our preparation I was pleased as we certainly didn't disgrace ourselves. The main thing is that at the age of 17 he still absolutley loved it and catapulted me down the centre line! You can't ask for more than thaty can you?!

We are having a quieter time now, Clyde is gearing up for the Regionals and we are also playing with him at home, teaching him changes and piaffe from the ground - it is a bit confusing for him though as he can't quite understand why he then has to go back to doing Medium tests after doing all the fancy stuff! Captain Mac has begun his education as he is now rising three so has been bitted and lunged over Christmas, watch this space for his progress!

Annabel is continuing her quest to stardom - but has suffered from a few dunkings over Christmas - four to be precise! Her pony has learnt that if he puts his head down Annabel shoots over his head - so a Daisy rein has now been purchased and despite landing in a puddle on one occasion and being soaking wet, Annabel has got back on each time - mainly due to me saying that you are only a good rider when you have fallen off 10 times - we are up to 6 so not long to go now!