5am – The time that a Dressage Rider generally starts the day!! Andrea Parker Update

5am always arrives early, particularly if like me you are not a morning person. However, over the last few weekends I have had the opportunity to observe the phenomenon that launches equestrians out of bed at the crack of dawn for a competition or lesson when on any other morning they would be hitting the snooze button multiple times pretending that they don’t have to start the day.

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Saturday the 4th of June saw me out of bed early to travel up to Proserpine for a two-day official dressage competition and an opportunity to obtain our last qualifying score for state. It was one of those perfect early winter days, the weather was mild, the sun bright in a perfect cloudless sky. However, 20ml of rain the night before left the grounds damp and slightly muddy in places. Trotting around the arena readying myself to enter, my friend Ally who had just completed her test called out to me that the ground was very boggy. The arena at these grounds has always been a little on the deep side so I didn’t think too much of it, as I rode down the long-side for the first time, my heart sunk along with my horse. I could literally see water coming up through the hoof prints which were horses before us had been. We soldiered on managed to score 68% and win the class. The arena was moved over a little on Saturday afternoon and our tests on Sunday felt much better. We scored a new personal best in the elementary of 64.8% (which would have been 65% except for two rider errors). Every time I wear my Wilson Equestrian Super Stick breeches I am stunned at just how comfortable they are.

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The following weekend saw us redirect our focus to training at a clinic in Mackay with the awesome Danielle Keogh. Despite the close location of the lessons, I was still in for an early start, leaving home while it was still dark. One of the things I do love about getting up early is catching some stunning sunrises. Over the course of two lessons we really raised the bar, as we work towards achieving more engagement through all of our work. A big part of this is that Nonie now has to engage and become more active in response to the half halts we also focused on the trot and canter half pass, and I feel like I am really starting the wrap my head around how to ride this movement. My new Wilson Equestrian Italian leather reins came in handy, as the notches allowed me to keep my reins the correct length while I get used to riding with one rein shorter than the other in this movement.

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Since then we have been working hard in preparation for our next competition at the beginning of June. Danielle has been emphasising the importance of attention to detail and mental discipline, as Nonie and I prepare to move up to medium level. My pink and grey suede breeches from Wilson Equestrian have become favourites for everyday wear, they are just so comfortable (and as an added bonus the grey hides dirt very well!).

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