Andrea Parker – An Amateur Rider stepping up to Elementary Dressage

Walking out of the arena at our first competition of the year, reaching down to give Nonie a pat, you couldn’t have wiped the smile off my face. I’d had one of those great days where it all comes together, the lessons, the late nights on floodlit arena’s and the long trips to competitions.

In North Queensland we are a little slow to start competing, with last weekend marking my first dressage competition of the season. The event was held in Townsville, a casual 380km drive from home. Needless to say I was glad to have my partner Steve as my co-pilot for the trip. After loading up the ute and float (a feat which resembles a life sized game of tetris), checking my packing list about 3 times and putting Nonie on the float we were on our way. One coffee stop, a stretch for Nonie and five hours later and we made it to Townsville.

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The balmy overnight low of 21° meant that Nonie only needed her stretchy hood to keep her plaits firmly in place and a rip-stop rug. I was excited to try my Wilson Equestrian stretchy hood and I was pleased to find that it sat really well on Nonie, in particular the extra-large eye-holes stood out to me – this meant that it didn’t creep up overnight and rub her eyes.

With the goal of competing at the QLD State Dressage Championships in mind, I had nominated for three tests, with the novice being up first. Despite less than ideal conditions in the warm up arena, including maintenance work on the adjoining BMX track, heavy machinery nearby and killer plastic tarps blowing about unpredictably, Nonie felt great! She was up through the shoulders, pushing forward and focussing solely on me.

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This was my first time riding in the Wilson Equestrian super stick breeches and they did not disappoint! The material whilst being light and stretchy is substantial enough to cover even the brightest of bright pink undergarments, an accidental discovery on my part. I was really pleased with the test that we put forward, and the judges seemed to agree giving us a score of 68% which was good enough for fourth place.

Our next test was at 11.30 and I have to say that the Wilsons Equestrian long sleeved show shirt really came into its own, I felt cool in the light fabric despite a top temperature of 29°. This being our second elementary test and now having to ride the lengthened trots sitting, I was grateful to be wearing those exceptionally super sticky breeches. I know that I breathed a little easier once we got through the canter/counter canter three loop serpentines without breaking or changing – Nonie’s most recent trick is to pop a flying change in during this movement, but you just can’t be upset about that!

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My final test of the day was the 3.2 for which I was determined to be brave in my riding. I achieved this goal and left the arena feeling that we had really nailed the test – I was on a high for the rest of the day. As an added bonus we scored a 7.5 and an 8 for the counter canters. I couldn’t have asked for more from my mare and can’t wait to see what the rest of 2016 brings for Nonie and I.

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