Enter at A: Our Dressage Debut

‘Enter at A in working trot, proceed down centre line and track right’

Sheryl and I arrived at the yard at 3pm on Friday to get Oscar ready. I was going to give him a bath outside but this wasn’t acceptable with a certain someone so the wash box it was. Oscar hates the wash box as he can hear what’s going on but can’t see it, so he was really fidgety. I managed to get half of him wet and shampoo’d but he wouldn’t stand away from the wall so I couldn’t wash his other side.

‘Change rein MXK in working trot’

We untied Oscar, and Sheryl held him while I washed his other side and rinsed him off. And then he was clean and ready to dry. It was a warm day so we took him outside and tied him up and started plaiting him.

‘Circle left 20m’

Sheryl was going to plait Oscar because she’s a plaiting pro and likes procrastinating, but she’s also not very tall so we had to find something for her to stand on before we started. In the end we emptied the big bucket that I use to soak Oscar’s hay, upturned it and she stood on that to plait. Oscar stood perfectly while Sheryl plaited his mane and I groomed him, and then Vicky arrived and plaited his tail too.


‘Change rein FXH in working trot’

It was nearing the time we had to leave, so we loaded up the lorry with tack, my grooming kit, Oscar’s cooler and my bag, and finally Oscar! He walked straight onto the little red lorry without even looking at it (in fact I’m not even sure he realised he was walking onto a lorry). And we were off!

Oscar on the lorry

‘Circle right 20m’

We drove out of the yard and onto the main road, through town and then turned off towards the ridgeway. The lorry laboured up the hill and at the top we were presented with a beautiful view of the rolling hills and fields to the north of the ridgeway. We arrived at Ambitions Equestrian Centre.

‘At M Medium walk, at B half 10m circle right to X, half 10m circle left to E’

I still had my shorts and t-shirt on at this point so I quickly got changed into my beige jods, white shirt and freshly cleaned black boots and half-chaps. Sheryl kindly let me borrow her very smart Caldene pin-striped show jacket and her tie, so I put the tie on but left the jacket to put on before I went in for my test as it was so hot. Oscar was tacked up with a smart white numnah, a mounting block was placed in front of me and on I hopped!

‘Half 20m circle left in free walk on a long rein’

Lots of people had come to watch my dressage debut. Vicky and her parents, who had taken me, were there, my parents had come along and so had Sheryl and her parents. We all walked down to the warm up arena together, and Oscar didn’t even look at the life-size bright white unicorn that I had expected him to spook at!


‘Progressive transition to medium walk. Before M, working trot’

I went into the warm up arena and walked Oscar around to show him what was what and we dodged kids on ponies who seemed to have been here many times before and knew exactly where they were going and weren’t going to move for anyone! I trotted and cantered a little on both reins when the owner of the yard came over and asked if everyone knew what order they were in. I said I knew my time, and gave it to her, but not my order, and she told me I was after the horse that was doing their test right then, so I needed to be ready! Another quick trot and canter round and I was ready for my jacket and to go in!


‘Between M & C, working canter left’

I walked towards the indoor school and grabbed Vicky at the last minute with ‘Can you call my test!!’. I thought I new it but knew that if something didn’t go to plan and I had to concentrate more on it then I’d forget what move I had to do next.

‘Circle left 20m

I walked into the indoor school and picked up trot, trotting a 20m circle at both ends of the school, again to show Oscar what it was, and to work him on both reins. I changed rein again so I’d be on the right diagonal when I entered at A, and then someone called out of the gallery that I could start when I was ready, and so I began.

Change rein FXH. Just after X, working trot’

I entered at A, straight down the centre line. Oscar was trotting forward in a nice contact and I was pleased with it. A slight wobble as we neared C and Oscar wasn’t sure which was to go, but the judge liked it and gave me an 8! We did our rein changes and circles nicely, I think the trot could have been slightly more forward but he was paying attention and the judge liked the shape.


‘Between H & C, working canter right’

We moved onto canter and Oscar popped into canter beautifully with a sharp transition. We did the 20m circle fine, although I was worried we wouldn’t hit the track at the other side, but we did. Unfortunately we broke the canter just before we changed the rein across the long diagonal, which is my fault for stopping riding him forwards and totally unavoidable. But we can’t be perfect and I made damn sure he wouldn’t do it on the other rein! We finished the canter, trotted to G, and finished.

‘Circle right 20m’

Oscar got lots of pats and we walked out of the arena. My support team in the viewing gallery clapped and cheered, and I felt like an Olympian! I took him past the scary unicorn back into the school and walked him around a few times because he was hot, and he’d worked his little socks off!

Change rein KXM. Just after X, working trot’

We untacked Oscar and loaded him back into the lorry with his haynet and then waited for the rest of the class to finish. The judge came out with the test sheet and rosettes. First went to a cute little black cob who I’d seen in the warm up and had worked very nicely, very well deserved I thought. 2nd and 3rd went to two girls from Ambitions, and then she called my name out for 4th! I was so, so pleased with what we got, he tried so hard! We got 59.2% which is great for our first time out :D :D


‘MCE working trot. At E half circle left 10m to X’

We returned to the yard and then posed a bit while Vicky took some pictures. Oscar got his dinner and his haynet and we unloaded the lorry. :D All in all, a GREAT day :D




‘Halt, immobility, salute.’


11 thoughts on “Enter at A: Our Dressage Debut

  1. Brilliant! Some of my fave photos in their too :) So chuffed for the pair of you Mads, and how lovely to have so much support!

  2. Well done Team Maddi! That’s a tricky test (I know it well) I hate the canter across the daigonal, it’s hard to keep straight and keep going forward & the half ten M circles in walk are hard too.
    Hope you’re hooked, dressage is FUN!

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