Category Archives: Dressage

Product Review – Eskadron Competition Numbers

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Eskadron competition numbers in use on Sammy at Dressage Ireland

As part of my recent blogging opportunity with Horseworldeu.com I was invited to pick some products to try out and review. Along with the Horseware Riding Tights, I also chose the Eskadron Competition number set. My reasoning for this was this was I felt another new innovative product.

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Elementary my dear horse

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Why the national championships?

Goals are personal and what matters to each rider really does depend on their own experiences. For me, competing successfully at the National Dressage Championships has meaning because when I first started proper dressage training a few years ago it seemed ridiculously unlikely that I would ever be good enough to be able to do it.

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Eventually Eventing

 

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Way back when – eventing on board chestnut TB mare Sally at Russellstown Riding Club I think this was in 2003. One of the best mares I ever rode and still sadly missed. 

While I have focused on dressage and showing for the last number of years I actually used to event. I evented for a few years on the riding club circuit in the intermediate grade. I used to event whatever I was allowed to sit on. My biggest challenge was a chestnut mare ex racer who went like a bullet cross country with her head between her legs. In the show jumping she also went like a bullet but would either jump clear or turf me off. I used to be terrified as the speed had my eyes streaming but after a few events, some of which we won I finally had control of her. At our last event together we would have won the national championships, having led from dressage only I was so delighted at having the mare going well I missed a fence cross country and had us eliminated. It was a hard lesson to learn and I was angry at myself as it was completely and utterly my fault. Sadly we never had a chance to try again as the mare died from a kick a few weeks later.  I still think of her often – she thought me the power of positive riding and more importantly how to stick your bum like glue to a saddle. My last ever riding club event was in 2008 or 2009 on a gentleman of a gelding who at 21 years old still thought he was a young lad. We had done a few events together and he was so experienced at his job that all I had to do was steer him. At that last event, also the riding club championships our team placed second which was a lovely finish to my eventing adventures. It is safe to say that I had learned from past mistakes and did not omit a fence.

 

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People You Will Meet When Using an Arena

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When you are riding by yourself with other people in the arena….

These are the other riders you can often meet…..

The Magnet

It doesn’t matter how big the arena is or how much you try to ride exercises and movements in your own space – the magnet will gravitate towards you and stick to you for the entire time making it impossible to practice anything except escape. If you try to hide, they will find you. Magnets are usually completely oblivious to the fact that they are essentially following you around the arena as they have no concept of herd instinct or of asking their horse to ride independently.

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Things you should know before having dressage lessons

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Competing at dressage

  1. Get used to being on a circle. You won’t be moving sideways at the greatest of ease any time soon. The circle is your friend, embrace the circle. Don’t go large around the arena – this does not go down well. If you have enough grasp of spatial relations to be able to ride a circle that is circle shaped (unlike me) this is a bonus.

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Hail To The Bystander

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Hail to the bystanders

Always waiting to say

You shouldn’t be riding

Your horse in that way

 

Always ready with advice

When you fall to the ground

Although their only riding experience

Is reading horse and hound

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Getting A Second Chance

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Sammy as himself

Last Spring I was helping my partner to sell a horse. It was a horse that I referred to as ‘that idiot cob’ having seen him cart himself full speed around the arena with riders on more than one occasion. My partner had bought him as a four year old from a dealer at a sale and always believed in him but unfortunately a career in the riding school or as a student horse just didn’t suit Sammy so as an eight year old he was up for sale to try and find him a new home. We brought him and another horse that was for sale to a local venue to do some schooling. I’ll admit I was very much surprised – with a professional rider on board the ‘idiot cob’ became something else and despite not having left the yard more than twice in four years he didn’t even look at the fillers in the indoor arena.

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2015 – Show Horse to Dressage Horse

Lianne & I at Mullingar

Lianne & I at Mullingar

 

In 2013 and 2014, Dolly the big chestnut mare and I focused on and achieved many goals in the show ring. We had not achieved what I hoped we could in dressage and given my passion for dressage this always frustrated me. I had performed well on ponies before but Dolly and I always fell somewhere short of the mark in competition. In a class of seven we were usually fifth or sixth in our advanced intermediate grade and with this consistent mediocrity I was afraid I was becoming one of those people who bang on about ‘potential’ for years without ever delivering any actual!

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First World Equestrian Problems

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I want a pair of new shoes but I spent all my money on ones for my horse.

The horse now has three shoes, one bare hoof and a smug expression.

I can’t get a fly veil in the right shade to match my saddle pad.

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Being An Equestrian With A ‘Crooked eye’

Absolutely dreading the phrase ‘do my stirrups look even’…..seriously you are asking the wrong person

 

Spending ages laying out a dressage arena, standing back to admire your handiwork and realising it looks like you were drunk when you did it.

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