Thursday, 27 February 2014

Cantering to confidence: BUCS friendly match review.

With Varsity just around the corner, the teams have been training hard to ensure the best possible chance for a win this season against rivals, Leicester University Equestrian club. Everyone knows the only way to secure a win is practice, practice, practice and De Montfort Equestrian team have embedded this motto into their training by holding a practice BUCS friendly match to get everyone in full competitive mode. This day incorporated some of DMU Equestrian's team riders as well as new intermediates who are hoping to secure a place on the team and Varsity squad next year and used the day as chance to build some confidence and have a go at a BUCS style competition in full show gear.
The successful riders of the day:
Emily Milner (6th), Charlotte Scott (4th), Lorna Stahly (5th)
Gabbi Berrill (3rd), Becky Shraga (1st) and Lizzie Mole (2nd)
The competition on 26th February, included six rider's from De Montfort, with three of the B team riders taking part to get some extra competition style practice before the up and coming Varsity match. The day included running through the BUCS dressage test on one horse and then completing a show jumping round of 80cm on another. The dressage consists of a preliminary style test with circles, change of rein, canter work, trot work and is marked for accuracy of each movement out of ten. As well as accuracy scores, the riders gain collective set marks that look at position, use of aids, impulsion, balance and harmony with the horse themselves. The day was judged by Verity Saul, proprietor and qualified List 6 Dressage Judge who has competed in all disciplines including representing the Northern Region at the BD Senior Home International. Keen to challenge the riders, Verity made sure her marks were a true reflection of the tests and show jumping rounds produced and put everyone at DMU through their paces to ensure the best results. The scores across the board were all extremely pleasing with some well executed tests ridden by all, including some brand new intermediates who haven't rode the full dressage test in months but produced some brilliant flatwork. The horses used included Breeze, a lovely bay gelding who has previously been competed in BUCS matches. Willow, a striking black mare who was ridden by Becky Shraga who also currently competes her in the Preliminary classes for British Dressage. The final horse used on the day was Charm, a sweet tempered, coloured gelding who is great for the more capable and also newer riders, he takes part in all disciplines at Witham Villa.

The show jumping round consisted of a simple six fence course designed to give the team riders a chance to show off all their hard work training, and the intermediates competing a chance to have a go at jumping a full course. The course consisted of a double, spreads and cross poles giving a variety of fences for the riders to tackle as every fence is scored out of ten as well as collective marks similar to dressage that are awarded. The results at the end of the show jumping were brilliant, with lots of clear rounds and high style marks awarded as everyone finished on a high completing both section of the BUCS competition. The horses competed were; Harrison, a favourite amongst the DMU rider's and a excellent jumping pony, Caesar a bay gelding who has been used for all BUCS competitions and Preston, a super pony who is used for all disciplines at Witham Villa.

All the riders who took part did extremely well and found it a real booster for their confidence and a nice relaxed chance to have a go at competing in a friendly environment. B team rider's Becky Shraga, Lizzie Mole and Gabbi Berrill took 1st, 2nd and 3rd placings with an excellent display of strong team riding from all. Charlotte Scott, Lorna Stahly and Emily Milner walked away with 4th, 5th and 6th individual rosettes and personalised certificates as a record of their completion of the day. Judge, Verity Saul was extremely pleased with the efforts from all the riders and the improvement in everyones confidence prior to the 2014 Varsity.

Lizzie Mole, B team rider was really pleased she joined in on the day gaining the top dressage score riding Breeze:

"The friendly competition at Witham Villa was a great day for everybody who came and rode. The atmosphere was relaxed and everyone achieved a rosette placing which was really rewarding and helped improve everyones confidence. It was a great opportunity to be judged by Verity as a top dressage rider in a friendly and familiar environment. I was really happy to have come second and be able to compete on some fantastic horses. Thank you to Gabbi and Becky for running and organising such a fun day!"

Lorna Stahly, a rider who hasn't competed at university before found the day has really motivated her to get back into the saddle:

"It was such a good day! Everything ran very smoothly and because there was no pressure it just added so much more fun to the situation. It was nice to get all dressed up in show gear and see how BUCS competitions really run, almost like a little dress rehearsal! It boosted everyone's confidence and love for riding."

The next few weeks will see the team actively training for Varsity with some more Equi-pilates sessions to work on balance, co-ordination and fitness, as well as some intense flatwork and jumping lessons before the big day. Congratulations to all the girls for their hard work and commitment this year with some brilliant results and buckets of confidence as a consequence of all their dedication to the club and the sport.

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