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Thread: Last Sunday I entered my first dressage test ever aged 39 and a half!!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2009

    Default Last Sunday I entered my first dressage test ever aged 39 and a half!!

    Hi all, haven’t been on here for a while, probably because I spend as much time after work at the moment with my hoss or walking the dogs- loving these long evenings.

    However as I used to be a regular poster in the nervous Nelly & mature rider sections on NR before TO came about I thought I’d share my first ever dressage test with those of you who maybe felt like I did and are reluctant/nervous about entering anything slightly ‘formal’.

    My friend and my riding instructor encouraged me to enter a local RC dressage comp doing the walk/trot test. I haven’t done any ridden shows since I think I was probably about 12 and Thea has only ever done in-hand showing classes but I really wanted to have a go at something so I thought I’d give it a go.

    Well after a few weeks of practice and trying to memorise the test the day came and we were first to arrive at the venue, Thea was good in the lorry having only travelled once before since I’ve had her when she ending up a sweaty squealing mess! So that was a good start and it still gives me goose bumps when I see her looking out of the lorry - reminds me of the day she first arrived!

    So plenty of time to go into the warm up area and settle ourselves down (me just as much as my horse!). All was fine when it was just us and my friend in there – I showed Thea the scary judges hut with the shop dummy perched inside! Thea felt potentially explosive but soon seemed to calm – the arena was huge too. Then it got a bit busy and exciting in there as more competitors arrived so we stood at the edge and just watched them.

    Soon it was our turn to go, I don’t know about you but I’m terrible at looking for the worst possible scenario which in this case was ‘what if she spooks and jumps out of the ring on the bank side and we fall down the hill!’ so I asked my hubby to stand by the fence there - just in case! So, we went in through the gate and amazingly she didn’t nap at all to leave the others. We were told to walk up to the judges box where they said we could have a little ride round before starting and to take out time (the organisers were just so nice). I did a circuit and a few circles and then I was ready for the off!

    The test flew by and I know it wasn’t the best we could have done but my nerves hadn’t completely subsided and there seemed so much to remember…ride, breathe, smile etc I made the mistake of swapping my whip over and I lost my concentration and steering slightly but we were soon doing our final turn towards the judges before halting. When I’d finished they all said ‘well done’ and I was so chuffed with Thea I threw my arms round her neck and kissed her…not sure if that’s proper dressage etiquette!

    As I was let out of the gate one of the organisers said ‘so how was it’ and I replied ‘I absolutely loved it can I go back and do it again!!’ I was beaming all the way back to the lorry. Me and Thea experiencing our first times ever together at dressage, me nearly 40 and her nearly 7!

    So, horse un-tacked we walked back to watch the rest of the class and wait for our scores. I didn’t even know what a good/bad score was but to be honest my aim was just to enter and finish so that seemed immaterial.

    Imagine my total shock when I was placed 4th behind my riding instructor on her new horse, it was a total surprise and a fantastic confidence boost to this nervous Nelly who is now looking forward to her next dressage comp in June.

    I think it really helped having an understanding team of organisers who wanted to encourage ‘newbies’ to join in and we were not made to feel inadequate against the seasoned competitors.

    I’m still smiling….

    Thanks for reading, I always gabble on!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2


    Well done you two

    Fantastic to get a 4th, 1st time out

    The first one is always the worse, next time you will know what to expect.

    Must admit this year for me is alot better than last year, but most test are still a blur to me, although on Monday I remembered thinking I rode that test how I would if I was alone, couldnt of rode it better if I tried

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009


    Well done both of you. Im 38 (not for long) and I still get really nervous of taking a horse to shows.

    Quality horses and ponies for sale.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009


    fantastic what a fab result for a first time out
    i've not tried stressage yet.... it's on my list of things to do

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    South Downs


    Well done you! I did my first test at 43

  6. #6


    She's looking great - well done you! Havent you come a long long way
    Horses are for life not just for riding

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    east mids


    wow - she looks stunning and what a great result
    i can beat you on the age thing - i did my first W/T test at 48 & ruby was 19
    my new fiction blog -feel free to share/critique/laugh like a drain at

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Nottingham East Midlands


    Well done, shes a lovely horses

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Barnsley, South Yorkshire


    Well Done
    Official PRESIDENT of the TO 'Blue Peter Badge Owners' Clique

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009


    Congratulations, fab result. I always find it is even better when you're not expecting it

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