Brand Ambassador Blog - Lizzie Robinson - May 2018
Hello and welcome to my first blog for Pony & Pup Photography.
This month has been full of firsts for Wigs and I. The month started with our first cross country session of the year at Lodge Farm in Matfield. This was only our second cross country session together ever. The nerves were delayed until last minute when we were packed and ready to go in the lorry. The weather had been torrential rain for the 24 hours prior to the training session and so I think I was convinced it would be cancelled. However, there were powers at work beyond my control and suddenly as we drew nearer to Lodge Farm the dark clouds parted and the sun made an appearance. As the temperature suddenly soared, the thermal softshell breeches and thermal base layer seemed like a bad idea. Well at least the softshell breeches would be useful if I took a dunking in the water!
Well we both survived the session riding several combinations and some scary skinnies. My pony was a dude even if we were both a little green. Me in colour, him in giving a few extra foot clearance for every jump. I am now feeling so confident and looking forward to our next session.
My sister Laura then gave us a gridwork session. When you go cross country you jump from a more open pace and you are in a more defensive position cross country. So, it is good to follow up with a gridwork session. I used this to regroup and re-balance. Practising coming to a fence in a steady canter with plenty of jump. If you do have problem with rhythm I would always recommend putting placing poles in front of jumps. The placing poles will help set you up to a fence. And if you feel nerves whilst jumping then remind yourself to breath as you go over the placing pole this will allow you to relax over the fence.
Next I headed to Badminton for a bit more Cross Country inspiration and a great deal of retail therapy! We went on the Friday, dressage day. To be honest I spent most of the day shopping and then went to a bloggers and photographers meet up in the afternoon, where I enjoyed a prosecco or two, naturally. I did glimpse a horse but missed quite a lot. I then caught up on all the action over the bank holiday weekend via the fabulous BBC coverage. It will be a Badminton to remember for many different reasons but I was so pleased to see Jonelle Price win. Girl Power! She is so consistent cross country and she truly deserved to win!
I was feeling inspired after Badders! I put an entry in for our first Elementary competition. It was unaffiliated, so that I did not put myself under too much pressure and implode as a consequence. I told my instructor Tania my insane plan and she helped me to learn and practice the moves required to complete our Elementary test. The test included half ten metre circles in canter which I thought might resemble a gymkhana race if I was not steady and balanced enough. Luckily Tania was there to assist me and made me practice the movements over and over again until we could perform the movements to the best of our ability. I had also entered a Novice test but I didn’t practice this instead I pumped all my efforts into the Elementary.
Sunday was D-day. I arrived at the show and looked at the board to see who would be judging us. My heart sunk when I saw who was judging our Elementary. I had always tried to impress this judge whose name gave me ‘judge fear’ whenever mentioned. I felt doomed before I had even begun. Not because this person is a bad judge, but the opposite, you have to earn your marks with this judge. But there was no turning back, I knew this judge would be honest and I would truly know whether we were up to the level of Elementary or not.
First the Novice, I messed up the second canter transition. If I am honest I did not give my full concentration or respect to this test as I had the Ele on my mind. However we scored four eights and a total score of 67.9% and fourth. Not too shabby if I do say so myself.
Next up the Elementary. The test went without a glitch bar a few problems in the downward transitions. Basically I didn’t have many breaks but I was pleased Wigs was forward and enjoying the test. We managed to keep the canter balanced and come back from the medium canter quick enough to perform the half ten metre circles. I felt myself smiling as we completed our halt and salute. I gave Wigs the biggest pat. He had done all that I had asked of him and I think he had felt the importance of this test to me. As we exited the arena, the judge opened her door and said ‘ he has really improved, he looks on fire’. Well this comment made my day. The marks suddenly became irrelevant as I had received the highest complement in my eyes from a judge I have always tried to gain approval from. I was grinning like a Cheshire cat! After skipping back to the lorry park and loading Wigs back on the lorry I then went back to see my score. 66.09%! I would have been over the moon to score 60% so I was elated with this result. Both my sheets had lovely, positive comments. We even got a 1st rosette. This has now been put up outside our stable to mark a special day and memory.
We have also received the news that we have qualified for the Dressage Master’s League British Dressage Semi Final at Hickstead next month at Novice and Prelim level next month. Report to follow in next months blog!
Lizzie and Wigs
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Keywords: all the gear, bbc, blogging, brand ambassadors, british dressage, crosscountry, dressage, equestrian, equestrian lifestyle, equestrian photographer, equine photographer, eventer, eventing, hickstead, horse photographer, horses, photographer, ponies & prosecco, pony & pup photography, portrait photography, showjumping, training
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