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My last competition for 2016 was CDI Roosendaal, an international competition held in the Netherlands. I competed in the Under 25 category. It was my third time competing in this event.

Practice makes perfect
As with any sport, practice is important. To prepare for CDI Roosendaal, I first went to a few practice shows and national shows throughout the fall. At these practice shows you can restart if you have made a mistake and are allowed to keep your radio so that your coach can train you while you ride. It’s a great opportunity, especially since this is only my second international competition with Anky. That, coupled with the fact that I’m still learning how Newton performs in competitions, makes it really useful to get a dry run before the main event.

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Still learning…
As it turned out, CDI Roosendaal was a huge learning curve for me. Newton was very afraid of the show ring, as it was quite hectic, and therefore it was very difficult to ride a fault free test. There was a lot of tension and mistakes in both my tests. This is something that I have to learn to manage going forward, and figure out how I can overcome the tension so I can deliver a better performance. The bright spot was that I was able to calm Newton down towards the end of my freestyle to music test. In the end, I didn’t perform as well I had expected, which was disappointing, but at least I learned some valuable lessons that I can use in future competitions.

Taking stock…
Overall, I was disappointed with my performance. It was frustrating because Newton and I had been doing so well in national competitions so it was a bit of a slap in the face. I try to look at the positive side of things though and I’m happy that it went a bit better at the end of my freestyle. Just about any athlete who has had a successful career has had to deal with a disappointing performance at some point, and I’m just trying to learn as much as I can from the experience so that I can build on it for the next competition.

Looking ahead…
Now that we’re in a new year, I’m setting my sights on the next competition, and on getting to know my newest horse, Romy (more on that later). In the meantime, it’s back to the training grounds.

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Photo credit: Yentle Cop