Update from Holly
Preparing Ruby for The Winter Championships
On the run up to The Winter Championships I upped my lessons with my Mum (Zoe Colgate). I booked in for 5 a week for 2 weeks! The lessons were originally going to be on Ruby spread evenly over the 2 weeks, but after getting a surprising phone call from British Dressage saying that Santana and I got a Wild Card for the Winters Advanced Medium, the lessons were changed to 1 lesson a day, taking it in turns with each horse
In preparation for the Winters I wanted to take Ruby out to a show to keep her relaxed in the ring. I chose Crofton Manor because it is a similar layout to Hartpury's outdoor arenas, with the white boards, 2 arenas running next to each other, a small grandstand with people moving and lots of scary signs!
In my lessons with Ruby we are working on self-carriage and suppleness. The lessons normally start in either the 20x40 indoor or outdoor, then we finish off by going down to the scary 20x60 outdoor to practice test riding. Sometimes we started in the 20x60 and then finish off by walking around the scary jumps! Ruby can be a little bit nervous in the 20x60. She thinks there are monsters in the bushes and is really not sure about the jumps, she's a Dressage horse don't you know! I have to spend quite a lot of time looking after her and always try to think 2 steps ahead so she doesn't become anxious.
The lessons on Santana are quite different to Ruby's. Santana is a lovely horse to ride and when you get it right it feels effortless! I was working on keeping her through and over her back in the trot and canter. One of the exercises I used to achieve this is lots of counter canter circles. With Santana you can't practice the test otherwise she starts anticipating. It's best to just do the test on the day cold, same with the flying changes!
I had a good outing to Crofton Manor with Ruby. She was a bit nervous in the first test with a few little baby mistakes but we came 2nd in the Open section with 68%+.
The second test was much better. I could have asked her for more in the medium trots and canters but she won with 70%+ again in the Open section! I was very happy with Ruby's results at Crofton. She was much more relaxed throughout the whole day.
I am feeding Ruby Protexin Equine Premium Acid Ease and Maxavita MaxaCalm. The Acid Ease has made such a difference to her eating habits. Normally she would completely go off her food around competitions and just pick at it for a few days after, whereas now she finishes all her feed before and after the competitions. I couldn't believe the difference it makes! The MaxaCalm is great and has helped her so much at home and out at shows. Usually when we compete I give Ruby an instant calmer but when we went to Crofton I didn't need to give her any additional calmer as the MaxaCalm kept her so much more relaxed - she wasn't worrying or fretting! I would definitely recommend both these supplements!