The last couple of months have been quite eventful!
Earlier in the year I managed to qualify for the 2013 Interschool Nationals that were to be held in Western Australia on both CJP Diamond Dazzler in the elementary, and Acacia Ridge Vivaldi in the small tour. We made the decision that we wouldn't put the horses through the long journey to Perth, and instead chose to ride a pool horse.
The Perth adventure started at 4am on the 30th of September, when mum and I left for Melbourne airport for our flight. In the two hours proceeding the flight, I think we managed to get lost a total of four times! On our fifth attempt we were able to find where my pool horse Jonte was being kept, even if we were an hour late!
I was extremely lucky to get such a cool dude of a pool horse- he was so chilled out! Thank you very much to his owner for letting me steal your main man for a couple of days! Although he was very different to my young horse Danson Shakira, it was a really great challenge to produce a test on an unfamiliar horse with only 3 previous rides. We purposely arrived three days before the competition so I could familiarise myself with Jonte, and get a feel of the elementary and medium movements that I would have to do in the tests. As well as competing in the elementary and medium dressage, I also pretended I was showy in the rider class and show hunter class!
I was lucky enough to be given the role of team captain, and decided that the Victorian Team would really get into the decorating of the stables this year; so in the days leading up to the competition we went all out with our team colours of navy and silver. We even made a feature wall! It was great fun and a really good way to get to know everyone who was in the team.
The competition officially started on the 3rd of October, with the trot up being the day before. The whole Victorian team got through the trot up and then started getting ready for their first day of competing. On the Thursday I did an elementary and a medium dressage test. Jonte was such a good boy but I rode very tentatively; not producing the best of tests. The team had a very successful day with many placings and even a win! The next day I came out with a clearer plan in my head as to how I was going warm Jonte up and ride the tests. This paid off as we produced two tests that were a lot better than the day before's! I think I might have been concentrating too much on how I was going to ride rather than what I was going to ride, as I ended up with an error of course in my medium test! Nevertheless we came fourth in the elementary championship, and sixth in the medium championship.
Saturday were the showing classes, and I took extra care to remember the workouts! We entered the rider and the show hunter classes just for fun, and that was exactly what they were. We all had a great time prettying Jonte up with makeup and a false tail, and also laughing at me in my banana jodhpurs and short boots!
Overall it was such an amazing experience to be a part of, and I loved every minute of it! The small Victorian team of 15 members managed to place third out of all of the states; coming behind Western Australia and Queensland who both had teams of 100+ members. Go Team Vic!