i signed up to do the Wobbleberry Challenge last year. Up until the point I signed up, the most I had done was weekly lessons and hacking.
I’m not entirely sure I knew what I was actually signing up for, however, I figured it would get me to push myself out of my comfort zone and fulfill my ambition of doing a One Day Event.
My steed at the time, Bart, was happy with just plodding out hacking and foing to lessons, but always with a bit of a battle to catch and load him, however we persevered and finally, last year, we went and did our first ever dressage test! I was elated, even though my score wasn’t that great, plus Bart was dragging himself round slower than a slug, but we did it!
With that under our belts we did a few more. We also started jumping lessons and sid a ‘Clear round’ event at the local riding club. I only did 50cm, but I felt absolutely chuffed as nuts!
The issue that I had was that Bart wasnt very enthusiastic, and it was a major operation to get him to show any enthusiasm, and after 2 1/2years, I made the decision that I needed to find a new partner because Bart wasnt a very forgiving horse and our partnership wasn’t right. I was absolutely gutted. I cried a lot all over Christmas and New Year, and Bart left to go to his new home on the 6th January. so it was a hunt dor my new partner.
Harry was my new steed and he arrived 3 weeks later, and hes been here now just under 7 weeks.
I decided that in order to keep a log and notes of my riding and what we are doing, I used my Leroy and Bongo planner, and I started looking for potential events.
I have a bit of an issue, in that, I have Crohns, Fibromyalgia, Arthritis, IBS and Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and take lot of medication, including a chemo drug I have ro inject weekly and another fortnightly, and unfortunately, I never kniw how I will be fron one day to the next, and fatigue is a massive issue.
I was absolutely thrilled that I had won a day with Andrew Hoy, but because it was two weeks later, I had to take the upsetting decision that I couldnt go because of a) my health and b) my new partner, who at the time had been with me about 3 weeks.
i have deferred until next year.
So what I have been doing when schooling is to work out what I would like to achieve in that session. For example, this week I wanted to practice my transitions, particularly my canter transitions, so my bitesize was to do that.
I also wanted introduce some poles in to our schooling. Harry has been there and got the tshirt and jumps well, whereas I have only jumped about 3/4 times.
My bitesize was to start at trot poles and then a little crosspole. Ideal and we did well.
I find that if I dont write down what we do and my aims and objectives, I end up wandering around in the manège with not a clue what to do!
I have also been taught that you need to focus on the positives, so after each ride, I write down three positives down.
I also dont use any derogatory comments about myself or Harry, eg ‘I’m just a crap rider’ because if you say it often enough, I believe we convince ourselves that its right.
for me I use the word of Success or Learning, so if we did well it was successful, and if we didn’t then I see it as Learning (ie that didn‘t work, lets try another way).
Putting these in my planner and also keeping a page on FB, Team Lewis- Wobbleberry Challenge, I can see how far we have come.
Dont get me wrong, I am being optimistic, but also realistic, in that it may take me some time to complete this challenge, but I am happy for it to take as long as it needs, because its not a competition, for me, it’s a personal challenge and journey.
I am hoping Team Lewis is going to have a great year this year and my aim is to do a prelim dressage test, get up to 60cms and to do a small ODE in September.
In the short time that Harry has been with me, my confidence and mojo are returning with a vengeance, and that fills me with joy, not with fear, so thats an awesome start!
Watch this space!