I am sitting here still so disappointed, but I’ll go back to the beginning.
Over the last couple of days pre test, Remy had been training well, on Saturday I was a bit worried that maybe we had taken a too ‘softly, softly’ approach with the build up of the work and that maybe we should have put a bit more pressure on earlier in the week and been able to back off closer to the time but on Sunday he was in top form and my worries we put away.
Sunday was also trot up day, Remy showed off at the trot up even more than he normally does with about 100 people watching so off course he passed with flying colours and I had to have my running shoes on so I could keep up with him! We also got back into the main arena on Sunday, this time it was set up like it would be for the test. Remy was very cool about working in the big stadium and took it all in his stride, one less thing to worry about. Then came draw time and I was pulled out as 6th starter, most people I know are never happy with their draw, either too early, too late, after someone too good, not good enough, during the hot part of the day, the list goes on... so needless to say I wasn’t overly thrilled with mine but these are the things you cant control and you have to get on with doing the best job you can regardless.
We were at the stables for 5.20 Monday morning so I could plait Remy before taking him out for a little leg stretch @ 6. I do this so that he is a little bit loose when I get on him for the test and get down to work a bit quicker. In the time between riding him the first time and getting out for the test I watched a video of a test I rode in training shortly before leaving and took time to really concentrate on my test and what I would be doing. During this time I felt like I could nearly get sick with nerves but as soon as I started to get changed the nerves were gone and I felt ready. I was then telling the others that they needed to keep it together!
On the 15 min hack it takes to get to the warm up ring, Patrick reminded me of the things I needed to keep in mind... stay loose, keep focused.
Warm up went really well, Remy was loose, forward and listening, our work strategy had been right. I felt cool, calm and collected warming up, a new experience for me under these conditions to be honest but something we have worked a lot on also. Then test time... I got my last minute advice that Johann had sent through Steffi and I felt ready to show what we could do.
Well the test didn’t go as I had planned in my head, we had 3 big (expensive) mistakes (partly due to my lack of being able to count to 6) and our score suffered because of this.
As we leave the arena I hear the score of 61.1%, to be expected really considering the big bloopers we made, still really disappointed as I felt that without these mistakes we would have done enough to be in the second round, the special, which was my goal before coming out to Kentucky. One mistake we may have been able to take but not 2 and certainly not 3.
Despite the result I’m really proud of Remy, he went in to the big stadium and didn’t get fazed by it or become spooky. When I remember what he was like when I got him as a wild 7yr old you wouldn’t have thought he would take this whole experience so much in his stride. I feel we have learnt a lot here and we will take this and work on it at home and after a short break (for both of us) we will be more confident in ourselves and ready to show the dressage world what we are really made of! Bring on next season!
Tomorrow morning Remy and I start our journeys back home, he flies back to Liege where my friend Kim is picking him up and bringing him home to Voerde and Patrick and I fly with the eventing team back to Dublin.
After nearly 3 weeks away, I am ready to go home, we have covered huge distances every day, either by foot or by bicycle and I am looking forward to getting back into my normal routine, seeing my dogs and riding the other horses again. I think Remy will also be happy to be back in his own box and making cranky faces at JP when JP tries to annoy him (which is a fairly consistent thing!).