Saturday was a very early start for our dressage test, and we were certainly dressed for the occasion in top hat and tails, Candy warmed up lovely and I was confident about performing an accurate test after the intense training we had with Hayley Colwell. I must admit nerves slightly got to me, and just before going in I started to panic going through my test and forgetting bits which I had no reason to do after practising it over and over numerous times before! I took a deep breath as I came up the very long centre line in sitting trot. It felt never ending!! A few other bells were going on while I was performing my test which made me doubt myself, the bell went again, damn I knew it, I had gone wrong! Quickly trying to compose myself I went back to revisit the few strides of walk I had forgotten, then I carried on. It was soon time for the rein back, this I had perfected beautifully. Shoot me now it was shocking! I carried on (again!) now for the canter... I had it all nice and bouncy (in correct dressage terms obviously!) so really went for the medium canter in hope that I could regain some of the marks I had lost in the earlier movements. The right rein was good, so I eased up and started to smile. The counter canter was great, a quick change of leg at A onto the left rein was late but never the less not bad for a young horse. Again I pushed on for the medium canter, then it all went wrong... She went disunited, then broke into trot for a few strides. I picked up canter again, then just before I was due to do the counter counter she went disunited AGAIN!!!!! I was devastated, everything that could have gone wrong.. did!! I guess that is young horses for you, her inexperience (and mine!) really came to light. It was just very disheartening when you know how perfect they can perform the test and within a few minutes its all over. At this stage I had to put the test behind me and concentrate on the next task in hand, which was walking the cross country.
Sunday after 3.15 approx it was time for my show jumping round. I had watched all the 2 star and the whole first section of the 1 star. All I wanted was to just get on Candy and jump! It seemed like forever until my time came. I would have much preferred to be on, bright and early. When our time finally came, I had gone off the boil (so to speak) The warm up was crazy, fences bigger then Candy's ear's with the steward shouting regularly "that fence is above the allowed height, please put it down now!" There were horses flying around and it was hard to see any stride coming into a fence as you couldn't tell when you would get ago. So I was circling, circling, more circling then quickly popped over a few fences. To make matters worse the horse in front kept stopping and rearing it was just horrid! Anyway I'm sure you get the picture it was manic to put it politely! The first few fences went OK, Candy was a rushing more than usual, I think she had scared herself taking out a fence in the warm up. The course was nice nothing too big, but it was tricky for an unbalanced 6yo. There were lots of turns which she came into the fence either on the wrong leg or disunited causing her to take out a few poles. She wasn't listening to me like normal, when I said go she wanted to chip in a stride and when I get wait she wanted to go. We were not on the same page which was such a shame. I finally had had enough by the last fence which was a triple. She came round the corner, head high pulling me into it, I remember thinking "If you know what your doing, you do it then" and splat she went on her face! We did finish on a good note believe it or not, she came back round and jumped the triple beautifully.
After a very disappointing round (to say the least!) I decided not to risk going cross country. We just didn't feel like a team or together that day which is upsetting after all the hard work we have put in. Looking back I think that no amount of training could of made up for the runs she had missed. This season has been a total wash out, I had a count and she should have done another 5 BE Novice runs before this 1 star which were cancelled. Her lack of experience really showed and now a week after looking back, I am 100% certain I made the right decision to withdraw for the final phase however disappointing it felt at the time. I have decided to drop Candy down a level to have a fun easy run before another Novice run. At this stage I will have already entered Osberton 6yo championships so I am just hoping with 3 runs up to it will be enough to set us up for another shot at 1 star. If any more events are cancelled it could be the end of the season for us.