June kicked off with another Summer Qualifier competition and our first time to Mount Ballan and my first time competing in Wales. It was also my first time of competing away on my own with Sacha but without Mum or Dad being around. Aslan travelled well, and given it was a bit of a longer journey than he is used to on the day of competition he was great – he is a pretty good traveller and good loading onto the lorry too. He is pretty chilled out about the whole traveling experience, apart from not being a big fan of hanging around in car parks after unloading if he dosen’t know there he is!
We managed to ride two solid tests in some pretty spooky conditions with flowers in the arena, the cars going by and banners flapping away. We got two respectable scores of 66.03% in the Novice and 65.25% in the Team, which I was really happy with as it was our first time at this venue and considering the wet weather conditions and the setting, I could not have asked much more from Aslan.
Then it was back to school for my mock exams, which I spent May preparing for. A pretty full on experience with multiple exams each day for a week or so, not an easy time, so fantastic to be back out and about…
I was also really pleased to add Equilibrium Products to my supporters and Sponsors page this month. I have used their symmetry straps for the last few years since I have been riding horses like Aslan with bigger paces. The straps attach between girth and stirrup or leathers and are intended to improve rider symmetry. I use them as a para compensation aid, as they really help me stabilise my my weaker right side. My old straps were pretty much worn out and Equilibrium were kind enough to provide some replacements and spares. I also found out that they are very local to where we are based in Buckinghamshire so that was pretty handy as I was able to drop in to pick them up and say thank you in person. If you look carefully you can seen the straps in action in the image below.
Mid month we were off back to Windmill Farm for another Summer Qualifier. It’s a very handy competition venue for us as it’s only ten minutes or so from where we are based with Sacha Hamilton Equestrian. It was a very very hot at 30 degrees plus, so jackets off for the riders. We had a very a decent warm up in the scorching heat and gained 66.03% in the Novice. There was a break between tests, but after getting warmed up again for the second test I think we we were both flagging a bit by the time we rode the Team which we gained 64.87% for. Not quite the scores I was aiming for, but our first experience of riding in pretty extreme temperatures together and definitely lessons learned by me regarding hydration which will be beneficial next time around.
I was also really happy to be able to send a message of support to members of my SportsAid sponsors cycling team from the Royal Bank of Canada who are taking on the RideLondon challenge in support of the SportsAid charity who support athletes like me. This year, I am one of fifty athletes supported by SportsAid sponsorship provided by the Royal Bank of Canada across 31 olympic and paralympic disciplines. I won’t be able to cheer on the riders in August as I will be on holiday, but I am going to join them next month at a reception at the bank to wish them well ahead of the bank, and I’ll share more on that in next months blog.
That’s it for June and I am now looking forward to July which I hope will be a big month, I am waiting for confirmation in the next few days that I have been selected to ride my first proper International competition Bishop Burton and if so will be preparing for my first freestyle to music. I have the qualifying scores so everything should be fine, but it still makes for a jittery end to the month until I know for sure.
More on that next month, I hope you have enjoyed reading this month’s blog.