Andrea Parker – The Sand Arena Ballerina update

After a somewhat leisurely start to 2017, it is now in full swing.
Early in June my feet were beginning to itch with the desire to get back into the competition arena. Without the luxury of any local dressage competitions, I settled for a hack show.
In the days prior to the show the weather turned exceptionally cold. In Mackay this means that the mercury dipped below 10! I felt really mean when I pulled her out of her paddock at 5pm for her bath. But you can’t ride at a hack show on a dirty horse, so she was scrubbed clean and wrapped up in a blanket while I got busy plaiting her up.
With the show starting at 9am and a plan to skip the led classes, I was able to have a ¬†very civilised start to the day. As soon as we arrived, I got straight to putting the finishing touches on Nonie’s turn out. We went the full monty with quarter markers, hood black and make up. While I’ll always be a dressage rider at heart I secretly love turning horses out for the show ring.
We completed our hack show look with my Wilson Equestrian Show Jacket and Super stick breeches. Our turn out efforts were rewarded when we won ‘Best Presented’ later that day. Nonie worked beautifully for the whole day and we were sashed Champion Hunter Hack and Champion Rider.
The following weekend we were off to Bowen for a clinic with Kim Weston. Kim is an incredible clinician with years of training and competing under her belt, which she combines with an excellent ability to communicate with riders. This makes for incredible lessons and plenty of learning.
This weekend reminded me how useful it can be to have lessons with a second coach. A different coach offers an alternative perspective and I often find that different coaches will focus on different aspects of your riding and training.
Over the course of two lessons we focused on improving the bend through Nonie’s body particularly through the lateral movements and tweaking my position. The trot half pass is really starting to come together, and generally the quality of her paces is improving.
It’s been a little over a year since I have had lessons with Kim, so it was a real thrill to hear her say that Nonie and I had progressed well.
As we move into July, we have nominated for our first dressage competition of the year and excitingly our first ever start at medium level!

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