Competing Kicks Off

Brook Corey head shoulders website

by Brook Howells

This last two weeks I’ve had my first jump, my first dressage lesson, my first competition and my first (and hopefully last) injury. I’ve also been to a great facility near the yard for the first time a large covered arena at New Barn Farm, which gives me the opportunity to school on weekday evenings after work. At 60m long it will be perfect for practicing my dressage movements for Badminton and I look forward to returning over the next few weeks.

I’m very lucky that Mum’s house, where Corey lives, is only 20 minutes from Somerford Park Farm and so most of my training takes place there. A week ago we went for our first jumping practice and had lots of fun. We concentrated on popping a small fence out of a good rhythm to check he’d remembered where his legs went and then I jumped an upright at 1m a couple of times to judge our postholiday confidence. All good. Later that week we were back at Somerford for our first dressage lesson. I have trained there with Ann Harrison for the last 16 years she knows my riding really well and also pushes me hard for success; exactly what I want from a trainer. I only expected a ‘basics’ lesson, to make sure we were starting the year with good habits but was surprised how well Corey felt, capable of some really good work. He’s clearly come out of his holiday in fine health and Ann commented how much his canter has improved since last year. This put me in a competitive mood ready to start the year fighting for a win!

We had our first dressage competition on Sunday an Open Eventers dressage competition organised by our local riding club, ECCTG. We were honoured by several top riders bringing out their horses for a preseason warm up and one of my friends thought I was one of the professionals in my Dengie jacket and saddlecloth! What a compliment! My warmup routine needs work though. On the whole I was pleased with my test, some stiffening against my hand in trot and I pushed too hard for a forwards free walk and he jogged, but a real nice steady canter. It was only when I read the judge’s comments and watched the video back that I realised how fast my trot was virtually medium trot! I was happy with a 6th placing and a score of 30.5%.  Below is a video of my test.

We finished off with a spin round the farm ride a great opportunity to open him up and have some fun. He reminded me how quick he can be and I had to bridge my reins once or twice, as he blew away the cobwebs. The only problem was that having befriended a lady whose horse was napping, we rode together to the end of the ride and just as I was trying to open a gate her horse napped again and bucked at us, kicking my shin in the process. Ouch!! Thankfully no harm was done and Corey was uninjured a lucky escape but no more incidents like that please!

Brook

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