So another regionals have gone and we had some highs and some lows!
Louise Baker's Roh Classica was a superstar! He was Reserve Regional Champion in the Medium Restricted and Regional Champion in the Medium Restricted Freestyle.
Romeo is such a little trier, and the sense of achievement I felt from his results is greater than any I have felt before. Romy has Kissing Spines and dodgy hocks!
Over the years he has been medicated however surgery was never an option. When he came back into ridden work in Feb last year I knew then I was playing the long game with him. At home he is never ridden on consecutive days and we alternate riding with lunging in the equiami either on the flat or over poles. Over time we have built up his strength levels and what is asked of him and it certainly seems to be paying off!
Needless to say he is a regular to be monitored by the physio, Emma Dainty, and his vet, Simon Woods, is also kept up to date on how he is feeling. With the help of the Back on Track products and the supplements from Hack Up Romy has gone from strength to strength.
His Regionals for me was all about the freestyle. I absolutely love the music that Chris (Lever Dressage Music) wrote for him and it truly is a piece where I feel like I am dancing with the horse. We were last to go in both classes and it is clearly a position Romy likes to be in!
In fact Romy actually knocked Val out of a qualifying slot in the freestyle!
But to have qualified through in both classes was just the icing on the cake. I'm so proud of him and how he has come back from everything that compromises him and he is a very lucky horse to have such a great owner as Louise.
So Romy was the highs of the show....which means Val was the lows!
In fairness to Val he really only had 10 days prep for the show following over 5 weeks off over Xmas and well into January. The time off was due to him just being 'not quite right'! He was trotting up sound but under saddle he felt terrible. Long discussions with both Simon and Emma led for us to try a few treatments and he definitely feels like he is improving.
As far as the show went he was just underprepared. He was obviously feeling better than he had for some time and as a result reverted back to his stallion days! He thought it was great fun to regularly stand and wave at the judges! There was no pattern to his rearing and so I'm fairly confident that it was not pain related. And I think that I was just a bit too soft on him and let him get away with it.
So in order of our tests....
The medium restricted..... Rearing during the test in a half pass resulted from 1s from all the judges for that movement....needless to say we didn't make the top ten!
Next was the Elementary Open Freestyle. Val warmed up nicely and in all honesty had kidded me into thinking it was all lovely and soft.... We entered the arena....music started....Val stood and repeatedly reared and wouldn't move! I eventually managed to get him in the arena and after the quickest halt and salute in history we were then playing catch up to the music....needless to say we had a very disappointing result!
Following a little break in which I watched back the video my friend Jen had done of the last test it was time to get back on Val for the Medium rest freestyle. At this point my goals had gone from striving to do well to getting the horse off my leg! So with a completely different attack in the working in Val suddenly started to actually move again and I finally had a positive response to my leg aids!
The freestyle itself was a bit hit and miss but overall I was relatively pleased with the improvement.... At this point Val was the temporary class leader....then we got knocked to 2nd, but still in a qualifying slot... That is until Romy knocked him into 3rd. Sadly I don't think there will be a wild card.
Our final test was the Elementary Open and despite Val attempting a few antics round the outside of the arena the test itself felt a lot better. We were not far outside the top ten in quite a hot class and I think had we have not been disrupted over the winter and had the full preparation time that he would have been competitive in all his classes. As it was when he was off my leg he needed to rely on my hand a bit too much as the balance and self carriage just wasn't there.
So all in all it was a good regionals with Romy qualifying and an important reminder in the way Val needs to be ridden. They are 2 such different horses that it is always interesting to ride them in the same classes as I have to clear my mind between riding them to make sure that I ride them the way each one needs to be done.
So with just 49 sleeps to go until the Winter Champs I now need to refocus and plan my training for the next few weeks. Meanwhile I have also 3 new rehabs arriving in the next week!