The Art of Preparation | Gemma Dainty

The art of preparation

Wednesday 8th August 2018
Tests remembered – 1.
Times remembered – 0.
Loose dogs causing chaos incidents – 1.
Comforting cheesy chip orders – 1.
Gins consumed – 1. (Bottle)
Gemma Dainty, Blue and Winnie
So Wednesday was regionals day for me at Bury Farm. I can’t lie, this was the most confident I’ve ever felt going to the Regionals. It was our second time contesting elementary silver and last time at the Winter Regionals we were 9th despite feeling very unestablished at that level. Now I know, it’s all in the art of preparation!
This time around we’ve been getting strong scores at medium level so I was confident we were capable of top 10 again. We spent the weekend before at BD Central Region Camp training with Levi Hunt. Blue felt absolutely on fire, he felt strong and powerful, was reacting well to my leg and when we practised some of the lines from the Regionals test they felt the best we’ve ever ridden them. He has always had a tendency to ignore my leg,  at the BD Camp Levi described him as having an almost stallion like reaction to my leg as he can be so resistant so I was really excited that he was reacting so well. I left Camp feeling excited and confident, I planned the lead up to Regionals with a day off for Blue on Monday, followed by a light stretching session on Tuesday, ready for the competition on Wednesday.
On show day we arrived nice and early and despite realising as I was getting ready that my test was 10 minutes earlier than I thought it was, I was calm and confident. Then 5 minutes before I’m due to head over to the arena for my test, during which time I still need to have his boots removed, jacket on, mic off and a mental test run through …there’s a surprise in store. A call out from the commentator to over the loud speaker to advise me that my dog is loose in the car park!! This wasn’t a massive concern for me as Winnie knows her way around the venue but it was a few minutes of distraction that I didn’t have time for. Despite this I still felt confident heading over to the arena, unfortunately between that distraction and heading down the centre line Blue managed to drop behind my leg. We made it through the test relatively mistake free but all of the power and elasticity we had at Camp had completely disappeared.
Whilst the dog incident was far from ideal I don’t think I can blame it, on reflection I think the 2 easy days between Camp and the competition allowed him to switch off as he seems to be better on day 3 or 4 of hard work. We still came 14th with 64.9% which is far from shabby at a Regionals but I am just utterly gutted as I had hoped we might be on good enough form to land us closer to the top 5.
So now it’s time for a new game plan, next up is the Area Festival Final at medium bronze and I plan to try a new pre show tactic for that one so watch this space!
Gemma x