This morning I read a progress post and it willed me on to look back at the last year and a half with Cee and how far we have come…
Cee is not what you would call an easy ride. He’s not naughty whatsoever, but he does need to be ridden every step of the way. He’s absolutely great to hack, but with flatwork he will try his hardest to not work if he thinks he can get away with it!
I first tried Cee in march 2014, so we have not been together very long at all. Here is what we looked like at first:
I really don’t like this photo. In fact it makes me cringe a little bit. My position is horrific, I have no idea what my hands and arms are doing! My teacher still calls me “gimpy wrists” to this day, but I hope they have improved slightly. And look at that leg! My stirrups are about three holes too short and I’m gripping with my heel. No wonder he wasn’t working in an outline or moving forwards.
We persevered with weekly lessons until I decided I was ready to do some showing. I hadn’t really done much showing at all, but I think I had decided that it would be more fun and less pressure than a Dressage test, besides he’s gorgeous so I thought that might help swing it!
Our first show together was a success and I came 5th place in a ridden class of about 20.
I really wanted to crack the Dressage though, so I entered my first one with him that winter. It was hilarious because he is normally so sluggish in the school that I have to keep my leg on with every single canter stride. He was the same in the warm up, but when I asked in my test, he decided that then was the time to become a racehorse and shot down the long side of the school with me so fast that I honestly didn’t know how we would stop! He put a hoof over the board at the far end of the arena, but I’m not quite sure if the judge spotted that or not! So we lost marks there and the judge also commented that I lean forwards too much, which you can see below. I scored 58.2%.
Meanwhile, we were also turning our hoof to a bit of jumping. Now I know that I am the problem here. Cee is a great jumper and he loves it. The only problem is that I find it unnerving because the more he gets in to it, the bigger he will jump over fences. It’s great because he makes a lovely shape over them, but I tend to lose my balance and my nerve, which twice now has resulted in a sticky ending and me with a face full of sand!
Here we are having a little play around at home. Unfortunately, that’s about as big as the jumps get – for now!!
We have been chipping away at our dressage and have slowly been improving our scores, winning a few rosettes and ignoring the time I had a complete mind-blank and went the wrong way.
One thing I love so much about Cee is how calm and perfectly behaved he always remains at shows. He is a pleasure to be around and will happily stay tied to the trailer munching his hay. The first time I took him to do clear round jumping in the New Forest, there was the biggest open space to warm up in. It was literally acres and acres of open field and I was nervous that he was going to hot up and go a bit loopy! However, the boy was a saint and remained calm and collected and we ended up getting our first clear round together that day! I think he knew that he had to look after me to be honest.
The highlight to date was when we came 2nd in our last Dressage test with 72% and I finally felt like my training had paid off.
I’m sitting up straighter, my leg is better and my hands are less “gimpy”. I know I still have such a long way to go with him, but when I look back at the first time I sat on him, I can see how far we’ve come together and it makes me so excited for our future together.