In the Saddle: Truly one for the bucket list

Anita and April
Anita and April

Well, it's always good to have some goals in life and a bucket list to tick things off. After all, everyone needs something to aim for and in the world of horses this is just as important.

I haven't had huge ambitions with my horses really until last year when I thought about what I wanted to achieve. It's been more of a mid-life crisis thing really.

I took my mare, April, to dressage and did our first prelim dressage test. When I only had one horse I could plan April's competitions, planning training months in advance. Now I'm lucky if I can get two weeks to think about it before entering.

April was a total star and she tried her heart out for me and I couldn't ask for more. She loaded beautifully and warmed up well, pulling off a decent test and getting 65% despite wrong left canter lead (which I corrected) on one part. We came third.

She started off as a giddy kipper but I know the best thing to do is to keep working her in circles on both reins to get rid of the excess energy. At first she feels very strong, like she might just take off, but after 15 minutes or so the excitement wears off and I can feel her listening to me.

We were warming up near some cross country jumps so she probably thought we were off doing hunter trials. And she does love to jump. It’s just a case of keeping her mind occupied and get her listening to me.

I like competing in dressage in a grass arena as that’s what we work with at home. We are not lucky enough to have our own menage. So, going on grass makes perfect sense, although I know for others who can ride in a menage it might not be what their horsesare used to. You just have to pick what works for you.

This is definitely one to tick off my list with April. She's matured into a wonderful horse and I hope I've matured wonderfully too in my middle age. Don't answer that one! Just nod your head and smile at me.