I have just got back from the Hartpury CDI, having had a very successful show! We left at about 6.30am on Friday morning, as I found out on Thursday that Carl had managed to fit me in last minute for a lesson. He hadn’t seen Laddie since April, but was so pleased with how he has come on, he said the difference in his pirouettes was astounding! We then packed up and headed all of 5 minutes round the corner to Hartpury. We settled Laddie in to his stable, which was next to Carl’s horses which was handy, and started to get ready for the trot-up. He was obviously feeling very excited as just as I turned to run back down the trot up he decided to make me run even faster and canter! Despite a cheeky moment he passed easily. Friday was PSG day, and it was hot; doing a dressage test in 25 degrees wasn’t something I had done before! Laddie coped with the heat really well, Carl helped me warm up which was great; the only major mistake in the test was Laddie jogging through the whole of my extended walk, which with 5 judges was a VERY expensive mistake! We came out with 66.8, which given the 3’s and 4’s for the walk wasn’t too bad. I had some lovely comments about my riding from Stephen Clarke which was very encouraging. Saturday was even hotter in terms of weather and competition! There were some really strong combinations in the small tour this year, and it was quite a big class, so I knew we needed to do a good test to get through to the music. Laddie was on much better form, with no jogging and some of the best canter work he has done in a test; I came out and was really pleased when Alan (Carl’s international groom) came up to me and said how good the test was – so I was hopeful for a good mark! Just as I left the warm-up arena my mark was read out of 69.1% – our highest score internationally (or nationally for that matter!) at that level to date so I was ecstatic! I went into 2nd place behind Michael Eilberg. A few more really strong combinations went and I slipped to 5th, which I managed to hold on to until the last few riders pushed us to 7th; even so, I was over the moon to get such a high placing in such a strong class – and we went through to the music in style! Sunday was music day…not Laddie’s favourite! I’d changed my music but hadn’t had a chance to practise it, so really wasn’t sure what would happen! He did a good test and was much calmer than in previous freestyles, but a mistake in both pirouettes kept us just under 70% on 69.7% – considering I had never ridden it before I was pleasantly surprised by such a high mark! I ended up 11th so only just missed the placings. Laddie will now have a two week holiday, and we are just waiting to find out if we have got in to the Hickstead CDI – fingers crossed!
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