Victoria Bax turns dressage diva


Nedz sponsored rider Victoria Bax is going all dressage diva on us this month thanks to the rain spoiling play for the start of the event season…

“Nice weather for ducks springs to mind at the moment! However thankfully my arena is currently standing up to the excess water very well indeed which has meant that I can continue as planned in my training for the season ahead. However, I think I may well have some extra time for my preparations this year as at this rate I do not plan to enter anything as in my eyes it is simply not worth risking my team on wet heavy going. After all Eventing is a dangerous sport at the best of times let alone when the ground is not good and on your side either. As of yet, I haven't even renewed by British Eventing Membership as I have not seen the point. I have not entered anything and don't think I am likely to until at least April at this rate.”

1544405 580310038714130 969221136 n“So this definitely means more time for lessons with Lucy Thompson and dressage and show jumping outings. On this note, I had dressage lessons on all of my team a couple of weeks ago in preparation for Crysto's debut British Dressage appearance for 2014. In his lesson we worked a lot on the transitions into and out of medium trot as this is something Crysto struggles a little with. The transition into is much better than the transition out of it. The problem is he is so extravagant in medium trot itself that as he comes back to working or collected trot he tends to become very short strided which doesn't make it look or feel particularly good. So Lucy had me slowing the working trot down to almost walk speed to the point that Crysto fell into walk on the first couple of occasions. The idea of this was to help him become more balanced, stronger and confident in the slower trot and also to almost make him grateful to go bigger in his trot to improve his medium trot even more, if that is at all possible! Having played with this exercise for a while it really did seem to make a difference and we managed some of the best transitions out of medium trot we have ever done, so that was very positive indeed.”

“Next up was Popps; she has improved so much over the last couple of months and is becoming very consistent in her work. We continued to work on her softness and straightness and again Lucy gave some new exercises to help with this, which have yet again made a huge difference! I really must get her out to some BD competitions now. This is something I never thought I would say about Popps!”

“Forrest gave his all during his session. We noted that he bears a huge amount of his weight on his left foreleg so Lucy had me cantering diamond shapes on the right rein and then cantering traver on the left rein to try to combat this. We also used shoulder in on the right rein to help with his straightness. Forrest has a very close action with his hind legs so much so that he works as though he is a model with his hind legs rather than coming straight through from behind, they actually curve inwards as they come forward. We are hoping that this action is something he has developed himself over the years as a result of an injury he picked up during his race training days. He has improved so much over the last year that we are pretty certain we can continue to help this action improve as he is a real trier on the flat and has got one hell of a jump on him too!”

1622615 580311432047324 1731208639 n“A couple of days after our dressage training, Crysto and I took an outing to Brook Farm for our BD debut. Crysto was certainly feeling well in himself during the warm up as he put in an almighty buck whilst I was perfecting a 20m circle of medium canter. That was fine I thought, best for him to get it out of his system before he went in for his test. So we trotted up the centre line, halted nice and square and saluted to the judge. Then we were off. Elementary 59 is a test that I am pretty sure I haven't ridden before as it had a couple of movements that I haven't done in a test before, still it was nothing he is not capable of considering we made our debut in a Medium test before Christmas which we won comfortably! Anyway back to the test in hand, Crysto was performing beautifully and the transitions into and out of the medium trots were fab. The new movement of the 3 loop canter serpentine with simple changes both times you cross the centre line went without fault. Then up the centre line to finish to a lovely halt and salute from me and a big grin on the face of the judge. I was chuffed to pieces it really couldn't have gone any better I don't think.”

“So back to the lorry to untack and then off to get the results. Well Crysto did it again, a win for us with a score of 66.96%. I was somewhat surprised about this though I must say, it must have been the enormous buck that Crysto added during one of the medium canters that nailed it for us! Horses in winter with no turnout that's what I put his outburst down to! Still, for him to have still won having done that, we really must have impressed the judge! This is a great warm up for us, as at the end of this month we are off to the BD Winter Regional Finals in both the Novice Open and Elementary Restricted classes, so keep your fingers crossed for us!”

“Following this was a planned day trip to Hartpury College to widen my knowledge as both a trainer and a rider from the expertise of the coaches at The International Eventing Forum. This is something I have been to for the last couple of years and have found it incredibly interesting. I have definitely come away with new knowledge and techniques for training and riding to assist my own team of horses and those who I train. It is an incredibly informative and friendly day which I would recommend to others as it is not everyday you get to watch Professional riders training under the watchful eye of Professional Coaches, trainers and riders.”

1779734 592595784152222 278706079 n“Next on the agenda was a planned trip out cross country schooling for Crysto and Forrest again with Lucy Thompson on hand with her expertise to get us back up to speed. Sadly after planning this, it rained and rained and rained some more and with the weather forecast showing 30mph winds and more rain on the day, I made the decision to cancel, as they say there is always another day. This has almost definitely confirmed that we will not be at any of the Opening Eventing meets and so should definitely concentrate on those BD Regional Finals first! Who knows I might just make a dressage diva after all if this weather continues! Another day of jump training is next up on my agenda and the possibilities of a new ride for me for 2014, but it is very early days at the moment, so keep your fingers crossed for me!”