Happy New Year to you all!
Leo and I have enjoyed a lovely Christmas break which included catching up with the Childéric UK team at Olympia. The stand looked great and it was brilliant to see so many show visitors taking the opportunity to see why Childéric offer simply brilliant saddles across all the disciplines.
Leo and I have still been busy throughout December training hard preparing for last weekend's FEI test review weekend for the GB Pony Squad riders.
On the Saturday all 26 riders rode the Pony FEI Team Test in a formal competition judged by Clive Halsall (an International Judge) and if that was not pressure enough we had to do it whilst the GB Pony Selectors sat and watched each rider pony combination. This individual competition is one of the named selection events for riders to be considered for the forthcoming International shows in 2017 so all the riders wanted to do well.
Whilst we rode as individuals, we were all also placed in teams of 4, of which the teams highest three scores counted and went through into a team competition too. It was great that fellow Childéric UK supported rider Sophie Taylor and I were placed on the same team and even better news, I am pleased to report that Sophie came 5th individually, Leo and I came 10th individually and our scores counted and so our team ... well, we only went and won !!!
I was so delighted that on only his third attempt at the FEI Pony Team Test, when in such a pressurised environment and against such strong competition and amazing proven international ponies Leo really tried and was rewarded by the judge with great marks for all his trot and canter work.
Walking, however .... well it appears to be a challenge for us at the moment, and quite another story. Leo struggles with the walk pirouettes, he is still learning how to master them and as such gets frustrated and cross with himself. This is creating issues for us in our tests as he now knows the Pony FEI Team test well and so as soon as we go into collected walk he starts worrying about his pirouettes creating tension in his walk.
We had a one to one with the Team GB selectors to review our test and they were very supportive and understanding of the challenges of bringing a young pony up to this level which was great. We discussed the walk at length and we are going to try and relax a little more in the walk to try and make him feel less under pressure as it's critical that we do not make this into too big a thing for him as we could create a much bigger longer term issue.
The selectors and I discussed that as Leo and I have three full years left in Pony FEI it's important we don't try and rush him in his learning. Who knew that what is literally the easiest movement and pace for Leo normally would become our biggest challenge in the Pony FEI Test !!
This weekend, we (and the GB selectors!) are off to Addington for the BD High Profile Show. Leo has never been to compete at Addington before so let's hope it's a good experience for him and fingers crossed we get another solid score and I am hoping the forecasted snow does not make an appearance and let's also wish for a better walk too!
Next time we will let you know how we get on!