Sarah and Cloud

It’s been a long year with no competing and very few training opportunities. I usually rely on Tammy Ruffles’ expert eye to keep myself and Cloud on the straight and narrow. Some of you who know me are aware what a challenge dressage is with Cloud, whom I’m sure would much prefer hunting or cross country! He can be sticky and lazy at the best of times and certainly does not find it easy. However he has been feeling really well lately and winter is also his best season (clipped and more whizzy than usual) which helps with our get up and go!

After getting the email ‘does anyone fancy the winter dressage qualifiers’ I thought I’d give it a go. Two of my friends who livery at the same yard as me also took part for different riding clubs. It felt like a good option being able to do it at home, with no travelling and to set ourselves a goal. We supported each other by practising and reading for each other. After a few attempts I managed to record what I thought was an acceptable test, by no means perfect but probably as good as we would get it for Cloud’s level of training. All of us doing it agreed it was, in some ways harder at home as there feels more pressure to get it right, with endless opportunities to try and try again. I found this increased tension for us both. I also found out how much my riding changed by getting dressed up in competition gear! Luckily Tammy was able to come and give me a lesson prior to filming my qualifying test, but we ending up ditching the recording and working on me as she felt we had some issues due to psychological tension as I had put white breeches and a jacket on! An interesting find and one that’s helped me work out what I do to create tension in the competition arena and how to counteract this!

I was pleasantly surprised with my score and that I had qualified, but the lazy part of me was thinking I had to learn another test and do it all again! At time of writing this I’ve had my qualifying score back, but waiting for placings. I was really happy with the score but more so that it’s given me the confidence to compete again after the long break.


Sarah Ager