Dan Baylis: Back but by no measure normal….
I have been luckier than most during our lockdown period - thanks to a 9 week ban on working on anything F1 related by the FIA and the fact our yard remained accessible.
How some people have managed to stay sane being locked indoors and being kept from their horses is beyond me. Suffice it to say the hardest bit for me has been adjusting to being rudely forced back to work, don’t they know I have horses to hug!?
I have not wasted my time off completely though, although a lot of TV was watched, I took delivery of a new 7.5T horsebox, got a new saddle and even found time to start a business selling bespoke made to measure riding boots!
It hasn’t been all plain sailing though as trying to navigate months of riding with no rudder or instructors has left me feeling quite lost at times. In fact at one stage Mia had an entire week off work. I am pleased to say she came back after calmer and ready to work and now we are in a much better place.
I have been having two training sessions a week for a few weeks now and her progress from day to day is astonishing, I really am struggling to keep up. She has always tended to tuck and not engage her hindquarters relying on her big front action to distract, this tends to mean she has required a lot of support from my hands which neither of us are comfortable with.
We appear to have reached a stage in our training where there are glimpses of this coming right, where she engages and is able to hold herself in true self carriage.
Predictably this all falls apart when you throw something a bit difficult into the mix but it’s a start.
My last training session included an introduction to walk pirouettes with the setting of some rather torturous homework consisting of trot shoulder in to setup half pass then straight into a walk pirouette. Now that’s a lot to think about and a lot to go wrong, a few months ago throwing this much at my mare would have been enough to send her into an emotional state but she is trying so hard.
Exciting news that British Dressage are starting to open up competitions again imminently and I for one can not wait and will be straight out there. I recently took part in a BD test riding clinic where I gave my first medium a try. Now I know neither me nor the horse are ready for it, but it was invaluable information as to where my weaknesses lie. Leaving with just over 62% and having successful coaxed Mia onto the new lorry meant I left a very happy man!