It's been a while since I posted about more than event results or training stuff with Ben, so I thought I'd take a minute to talk about the inspiration I've gained from following the Burghley Horse Trials all weekend. I also just wanted to throw in that I decided to re-route to King Oak this coming Sunday instead of attending Town Hill this past weekend due to various reasons. That is why there is no event report from Town Hill!
Watching Burghley or any huge event just makes me want to get out to the barn and ride my horse as well as I possibly can. And Burghley in general coupled with the amazing comeback story of Sinead and Allison makes me want to get out there and rock it even more.
Watching the good dressage tests like Sinead's and Allison's, along with William Fox-Pitt, Andrew Nicholson, Clayton Fredericks' and company just make you want to go and ride every inch out of your next dressage test. Watching those people ride is like a free dressage lesson. They use every centimeter of that arena to their advantage. They prepare their horses for every transition. They sit quietly and stay out of their horse's way but man do they ride.
Ben is coming to that time where his dressage is starting to get better. Its more relaxed than it ever was and he can go pretty quietly and more consistently too. But I'm starting to ask him for more. Being quiet and fairly obedient isn't enough to score competitively. He needs to be engaged behind and through his back and really moving well like he does at home to be competitve at events. And I truly believe he can do that if I ride him efficiently enough. I tend to go in the dressage ring and just beg him with my body language not to do anything stupid. The quieter the better. But now I need to be slightly more demanding and ride my horse, instead of just hold him together. It'll be a long road, and it certainly won't happen in one event, but if he can start to go at events like he goes at home he is very capable of being extremely competitve in the dressage.
Again, watching the big names on cross country courses that huge, making it look like its nothing, is just a sight to see. They are all focus and determination and they ride every stride. Even though our results wouldn't show it, I think I ride my best on cross country. Ben is a hard ride cross country and he doesn't give you anything. You have to work for everything he gives you. I am slowly learning to ride. every. fence. like my life depends on it. Eventually, I won't have to do that but for now, I do, and that's okay. Every single cross country jump we clear is a learning experience for both Ben and me.
I haven't watched too many of the stadium rounds from Burghley but I have watched enough to know that those horses were exhausted. And yet, those riders (especially the five that managed to go clear) rode those horses as best as they possibly could to get it done. I tend not to worry too much about stadium as it is easily Ben's best phase but its still a wonder to watch the upper level riders make it look effortless.
Yesterday was Ben's day off so I haven't ridden him since Burghley ended but today we are going to go and have an awesome flat ride in preparation for this weekend where we will hopefully rock our dressage test!
As always, thanks for reading, and I hope this post gave all of you guys some inspiration too.