This weekend Leinster Dressage held their regional show in JAG Equestrian (aka, Winterdown or Kildare International). Thank you JAG for allowing us to prance around on your beautiful surfaces, you have done an amazing job on improving the place. It was a really well run show as usual, however as my (suffering) husband likes to say, it would be a great country if you could just put a roof on it.
What is wrong with me? Dressage is not an adrenaline filled sport with the buzz of the crowd to keep you hyped. It’s a form of mental torture, striving for perfection and the stress that comes with it. I don’t understand this addiction, there is no adoring crowd, no applause, there is no money involved – and I love money!
JAG, Leinster Dressage or even God himself – by the looks of things lately – could not control the driving rain and wind. This mixed with gloopy muck in the car park made for a fun filled weekend, something like the lyrics of Spike Johnes’ Hello Mother, Hello Father comes to mind. Despite my best efforts of trying to blind the judge with diamantes, gleaming tack and Duchess glistening from hat to hoof (thanks to Dressage by Design, note the stunning stock), the weather made sure our spark was kept well and truly dampened.
Duchess was a trooper and worked so well but torrents of wind and rain didn’t help and Valegro she was not. With torrents of rain and running mascara, she and I both went stiff and just couldn’t preform, plus we were both exhausted for the second test. I really question my sanity sometimes. Weather aside dressage is basically a constant bad report card from teacher. It takes a strong stomach and titanium ego to do it – I’m not sure if I have either.
The mad thing about Dressage is, the tests are just five minutes long! The prep, travel and warm up is about 3 hours in total, never mind the training and practice and trying on lots of sparkly accessories. Sometimes I’m pleased with my five minutes, delighted that it all went well, other times my mind wanders to the chip van (Boswell June 2010, then we jumped the M marker), or Duchess sees an apparition in the distance or there is an umbrella! God forbid if you’re a photographer with a clicking camera, I’ve seen some riders set a photographer on fire with just a look. I get my score sheet and it’s usually the opposite of what I thought I would get! This weekend was one of those opposite times, sadly I didn’t get a qualifying score, I was just 2% off it.
Back to my bad report card now for analysis and ‘character building’ (which does not mean crying in the corner). I have to remind myself yet again that I am on an Island, the last one before the Atlantic. From where I’m sitting I’m 416km from Carl Hester, 1,319km from Edward Gal (as the Crow Flies and please give or take a few), but only 38km from Smithfield Market and 122km from Ballinasloe. More punishment lined up for next week.