I’m Teal and this is the start of my monthly blog for A Country Lady. I am a 19 year old dressage rider, with a twist! (Literally!)
Dressage is my passion, I eat, sleep and breathe it and it has always been my dream to ride for my country, unfortunately there is a catch… I have hip dysplasia and retroversion, in short, this means that my hips are a strange shape and sit at funny angles!
So how does this affect my riding? To be honest, getting in and out of the saddle is a struggle, so I don’t know how I manage to ride the horse! I have a very restricted range of movement so my aids are very weak and I cannot move with my horse like most people, but still Alice and I manage to dance!
When I am not dancing with Alice (she will mostly be referred to as “The Princess” in my blog), I am an accountant…I know, I’m one of those geeks who enjoys Maths!
My partner in crime
So of course I cannot write my first blog without mentioning “The Princess”, Alice is a 6 year old, Belgian warmblood by Sir Donnerhall, but most importantly, SHE IS A CHESTNUT MARE! (Now you may be starting to understand where the nickname comes from.) She is my best friend, (I know it’s sad, but it’s true!) and I cannot think of a better character to take me on my journey into the world of para-dressage.
What we’ve been up to so far
In March of this year I took a big grown up step, I bought a horse lorry! A lovely 3.5 tonne box, built by JM Horseboxes (take a look at them, they are fabulous!) So with my new princess taxi in the driveway, I decided I better start competing. I took Alice straight out at Elementary and made myself a goal to qualify for the Petplan Area Festival at the end of the summer. We had a brilliant first season and we did achieve our goal, Alice was super sensible at every venue I took her to and she made me very proud. We even got an article in the Horse & Hound!
With our baby season out of the way, I thought I better start working on the quality of our work so that we could reach the scores I know Alice is capable of achieving. So that is what we have been doing until now, Alice has improved lots over the last couple of months and I am really looking forward to getting back to competing in December when the new BD structure starts (eeek!!). Alice & I have also recently been sponsored by Southwest UK Equestrian Grooming Products, and Eqclusive, we are very lucky to have been offered support from these two great companies and we are really looking forward to trying out some of their products!
Plans for the following month
I have a very exciting month ahead of me, before we go back to competing. I have my para-dressage classification, this is where I am assessed by physiotherapists to see if my condition is gradeable and,if it is, I will be given a grade to ride at in para competitions. I am also going to the BD convention,which I am extremely excited about, and I have some more lessons booked to get ready to get back out on the BD circuit.
I look forward to telling you how it all goes in next months blog! In the mean time, you can keep up to date with my progress on my Facebook page.