Craig's World of Sport

A Whirlwind Couple of Weeks

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So I’ve been going to sit down and write this post for a few days now but haven’t really felt how I could do it justice. Emotions for the past 2 and a half to 3 weeks have been very up and down. I think I have finally come back down to earth enough to put it all into words.


Let’s go back a bit then. As you all know I have been training for the RDA NW Regional Show on Scooby who we got on full loan last August. He was and is doing brilliantly scoring an impressive 65% in our last Dressage Anywhere test. Unfortunately 9 days before the show he was dribbling a bit from his penis. Moira my coach said we should get the vet out to take a look and to rule anything nasty out which we did. Our vet came out straight away and said it wasn’t anything to worry about but probably an infection of the urethra and to give him a shot of antibiotics to clear it up. This is what we did, and by Monday he seemed fine with no more dribbles.


This was only part of the story. When it came time to ride he just wasn’t himself not wanting to bend to the right and doing some lovely moves but not ones that are in my test. This was very unlike Scooby, he is alway a horse who wants to please and really does try his hardest. We noticed he had a little swelling around the area of the injection and put it down to that. One of the girls on the yard said she would ride him for me on Tuesday, he still wasn’t right and we decided to ask Moira to check on him on Wednesday before any decision was made. On Tuesday I also rode Dreamer for the 1st time. Only for 15 minutes or so and did a quick run through of the test and was amazed how it felt. We spoke and we decided if the worst came to the worst then D would be an option provided it was ok’d by the RDA. Then Wednesday came and Moira got on Scooby and within 5 minutes it was decided that it would be unfair on Scooby to enter him. He is a better horse than he was showing. We also didn’t want him to be in any pain it wasn’t fair, he has been so good to me I didn’t want to put him through anything unnecessary. So we took the hard decision to withdraw him and go through the process of asking if we could make a substitution. Scooby has gone into the field for a rest and recuperation to be ready to go for either local intro classes or when the Dressage Anywhere starts again in August.


So with urgency we contacted RDA and thankfully they allowed me to use Dreamer provided he passed assessment on the Sunday morning, all “independent” riders, that is those linked to an RDA group but use their own horse have to have them assessed for suitability. We decided we would practice and just hope for the best, we didn’t think there would be a problem but you never know.


So I rode Dreamer on Wednesday, Thursday which was meant to be a rest day and on Friday which was the longest ride of a whopping 49 minutes. So in total we rode for 4 days and about 2 hours in total. Not the best preparation but Dreamer was a steady stable horse and although he has a few little niggles but with only 4 days of practice I was happy overall.


We set off from the yard bright and early on Sunday morning and arrived at Burrows Lane Farm in St Helens just about 9.30. Dreamer was assessed and passed and we were ready to compete. We did a bit of warm up and he did well, it was then time to go down to the arena for the dressage test. The time from arriving to that point passed in the blink of an eye. Moira walked round the arena with me in both directions as D had never seen anything like that ever. He was as cool as a cucumber. I entered at A and well the test went as well, sorry that’s wrong it went better than I could’ve hoped for. Other than a bit of a dodgy halt at X half way through which was expected. He was always going to struggle, he didn’t like stopping at that point and there was a really busy road in front of him. I just tried twice and then when he wasn’t going to do it I moved on. That was his only downside, and he made up for it with a beautiful halt at the end scoring a 7.5. I was so proud of him. I also looked up to the sky on my way out knowing that my mum and all my grandparents helped me get through that test.


We then waited for the presentation and scores to come in. It was a nervous wait of around half an hour. When it came in I was amazed and thrilled beyond words. A 2nd place and a score of 64.41% above the qualification mark for the National Championships. I honestly wasn’t expecting miracles but I got one. Having moved up to official Grade 3 classification the test was much harder than the walk only last year and included walk and trot elements. To get on a horse with 4 days notice and get that score was something I didn’t think was possible. It shows that I’m starting to become a horseman. With all the training and coaching it is possible to substitute onto a different horse and still be competitive.


After some lunch it was time for my 1st countryside challenge test, well lets just say that didn’t go so well. Dreamer having not seen anything like it spooked at anything and everything, from the post boxes at the 1st obstacle to the gate at the very end. In fact we didn’t get through the gate he wouldn’t go near it so I got a big fat 0 for that one, I was proud of that lol. Seriously it didn’t matter we tried and although we came 3rd in the class with a score of only 53% it didn’t matter. My marks for riding were 25/30 so again shows I can handle a horse which has to be a positive. D hadn’t seen anything like this course so I’m not surprised he didn’t like the scary flowers or the fake bridge that a troll might jump out from and not to mention those pesky postboxes. I won’t make a countryside postman that’s for sure.


So now finally back down to earth planning starts for the National Championships down at Hartpury Equine College again on the 13-15th July 2018. A brilliant weekend of competition and fun and friendship. But as ever I need your help to get there. The biggest thing I need is transport. Either a 3.5tn automatic horse-box or 3.5tn manual that I can get someone to drive, as I say auto would be best as then I can be self-sufficient. Entry costs, stabling and accommodation all add up and without your help it’s just not possible.  If you would like to sponsor you can get in touch via my Facebook page or you can donate directly at


Thank you for all the support on this mad journey. Especially the following. Helen, Clayton, Nat, Moira, Eva, Alwood Donkeys, Irvings Law, Wendy, My Yard Family, My real family, Foresters Horn RDA Group and anyone else I may have forgotten, it’s not intentional I just have an awful memory, I blame the medication lol.


regional show 2ndCraig and Moira.jpg

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