Still trying to improve

I am riding hard every day, trying to improve. I am nearly managing to get my canter transitions right. I just need to improve on accuracy. I am still trying really hard to get the right balance between school work and riding and this has been a really hard adjustment as somedays there simply does not seem to be enough hours in the day.

The weather is cooling down but this means some mornings that there is really high humidity and we are literally riding in the clouds as you can see from some of the pictures.



Pushing hard

Last night was really hard. At the beginning of the lesson we started with simple trotting poles, and then I started to do just trot over jumps using walk, trot, jump commands. This was over a single jump first and then on to double jumps. It was all about learning control and trying to slow B down as she loves to jump and can get very excited.

After the jumping lesson Declan really pushed me hard to practise my transitions from walk to canter. We repeated and repeated many times, by the end of the evening my hands and arms were in so much pain, B was sweating and I was exhausted.

Then as i walked her back to the stable she stood on my foot, so not only do I have really tired arms this morning I have a sore foot as well. We are pushing hard as I am hoping to do my first cross pole competition at Desert Palm this weekend (although this will probably not be on B and I will ride Creme)



This weekend was great fun and a bit of change from the normal routine, we had some friends drop in for the weekend on their way back to Australia. Mum hadn’t seen them for 13 years and I had never met them. They were brilliant fun and Jayne even had a go at riding B in the morning.

On Friday due to the very late Thursday night, we didn’t have the planned early start and ended up getting to the stables about 9 so it was already getting warm. Mair had already given B a good schooling so we took the opportunity to do a little jumping on her.




My Sister having a little ride on B

A “second” type of day

Today was not quite as hectic as yesterday but busy all the same! Mum had to pick me up from school, she had a quick meeting with the learning support teacher and then we headed up to the competition in Habtoor Polo Club. My test was at 5pm so there really was not much time from getting out of school at 4pm in Sharjah to getting to the show in Dubai.


Aljoud had kindly allowed me to ride her amazing pony Creme again for the dressage and this was the first time doing this particular test and including the practice on Tuesday only the second attempt. Luckily she had arrived early and had Creme warmed up so all I had to do was to jump on and go. Declan read my test out as I was not sure if I would remember it or not.


Creme is such a lovely pony and already knew what to do, so that made it very easy for me. I am looking forward to being able to take B to dressage as well as jumping but in the meantime I am grateful to Aljoud and Nada.  I So I am calling today a “second type of day”. It was my second show, and I came second. I have to say I am so pleased. We didn’t even have dressage kit until the night before so it all a bit pulled together, but luckily it was so hot we were allowed to ride without jackets so that was definitely a bonus.

I am calling today a “second type of day”. It was my second show, and I came second. I have to say I am so pleased. We didn’t even have dressage kit until the night before so it all a bit pulled together, but luckily it was so hot we were allowed to ride without jackets so that was definitely a bonus.


I know I am really lucky to have this opportunity and my trainer from Dujumping – Declan, gave up his whole evening on his birthday to help and support all of us. It was a really successful evening for everyone from the Dujumping team. Aljoud had a third place and Zac had a first place in elementary while Theo who rides in a mixed class of adults and children above me came fourth.


Looking forward to the next one. Still so much to learn and practise, but we have a 10-day break to catch up with school work and I can have a lot more lessons in that time to really learn as there is so much I simply do not know.

There is still so much to learn and practise, but we have a 10-day break to catch up with school work and I can have a lot more lessons in that time to really learn as there is so much I simply do not know.

Catch you all later.



Chaotic Tuesday …

So Tuesdays are always a little chaotic. Mum collects us from school on her way home from work at 3.20pm and my sister has her riding lesson in Desert Palm at 4pm. Normally it takes about 25 minutes to get home so there is just about time to drop off her friend Bobbie who does a car share with us, grab our riding kit and go again to be in Desert Palm at 4pm. We were on track until…

We have 5 dogs all of which have been rescued off the street over many years, most have been seriously injured or harmed and we have nursed them back to health and rebuilt their trust, unfortunately we have one dog (Fudge) that none of the other dogs like and he lives in a fenced area so they don’t attack him, yesterday evening it would appear that the maintenance man had left the gate open, so as we arrived all the dogs including Fudge ran to meet us at the gate which resulted in a huge dogfight. We only have a 3-minute turn around time, to get back out. We all leapt on the dogs and with some difficulty separated them.


Mum and Kitty got changed and raced back out the door, I stayed as I had homework to do and also I wanted to check that Fudge was ok. He had a nasty bite on his chest, so I cleaned it with betadine and put him on a comfy cushion, got out my homework which was really hard maths and I had no idea how to start so I had some supper and waited for Mum to return from Kitty’s riding lesson. I needed Mums to help me do my maths get me to my riding lesson but most importantly check that Fudge would be ok.

Mum and Kitty arrived home at 5.30pm and Mum said that Fudge was going to need to go to the vet, I also had to go riding at Dujumping stables as I have a competition tomorrow in Al Habtoor and as I fell off yesterday it is really important that I ride tonight. Mum phoned the vet who said to bring Fudge up as an emergency, luckily Dad came home so Dad and Kitty took Fudge to vet, where he needed some stitches, and Mum and I headed to the stables. Dad and Kitty would make themselves supper when they got in and Mum will eat later.


I had a really good ride on B and felt confident even after my fall yesterday. The stables were a bit hectic as there were a group of young people collecting 1 million signatures for the Rulers Birthday there. I ran through my dressage routine and then Mum realised that as this was a National Show and not a training show we would need the correct outfit so at 9pm we were heading to the mall in the hope of pulling together a dressage outfit. By 10pm I was in bed but Mum still had work to do, she had to design a roll up for an event at the stables next month which needed to be with the printers tomorrow and she still had to do some administration for the new business she is working on.  Tomorrow I have to be at the show by 5pm. I will update you if all the chaos and rushing and hard work of yesterday was worth it.

Wish me luck – I will update you tomorrow.


Well, yesterday was a long list of so many firsts. My first ever show, My first ever attempt at dressage not just in a show but ever, My first ever rosette and I guess the reason why this blog is called “Learning the hard way” my first ever fall.

We rushed from school straight to the show, frantically completing as much homework as possible in the car and in between the homework grabbing a few snacks ready for what was going to be long(ish) night ahead. Almost as soon as we arrived I needed to get on Creme who Aljoud had said I could borrow to have a go at dressage on. Creme was great but I really need more practice, as my scores were not great.


As this was a training show in Emirates Equestrian Centre we took B up to see how she was in a crowd and give her a few jumps in the practise arena. Unfortunately towards the end of the session when I was getting tired I pushed her at the corner of a jump with no notice, she went over but was obviously not happy and gave a little buck, I lost my stirrup and panicked, she bucked again and then next thing I knew I was airborne and crashing into the sand of the arena floor.

The wind obviously crashed out of my chest and I hurt my back, but more than anything I was upset that I had fallen in such a silly mistake. I think my pride was hurt more than my back.

B, however, was a sweetheart and I think she was as stunned as I was and she stood next to me in complete confusion as if to say “you are in the wrong place down there, come on get up we are going nowhere with you on the floor”. It was my first fall and unfortunately, everyone kept telling me with cheerful smiles it will be the first of many! I certainly hope not.

Well back on again tonight, maybe a little bit more nervous but no less determined to improve. As my sister so rightly said last night – You just have to get back on.


Here are the results, I am disappointed as I made so many silly mistakes but I think it is a good place to work from to improve.

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The night before the day ahead

I headed up to the stables to practice for the jumping competition today. Unfortunately, the small practise cross poles course isn’t going to run, so Declan suggested that I enter the intro A dressage competition. Well, I am up to try anything and I guess just being in a competitive environment for the first time in my life will be an experience worth trying.  But I am not a dressage rider and I have never tried it before so this will be doubly nerve-wracking.

I am going to do the dressage on Creme and we are going to take B with us to see how she is in a different environment so I will get a chance just to feel a different pace as well.

Wish me luck! I will report in later.IMG_4789