The Grey Mare and I have a new hobby.
No, not her dropping me in the long grass when birds fly out of it unexpectedly (which has happened twice in the last month, the first of which necessitated me hobbling around with a stick for two days)... but dressage.
Dressage is something I have thought for some years that the Grey Mare should be able to do. She has resisted. However, we entered a competition and with grim determination (on my behalf) we practised. And we practised and we practised.
In the week or so leading up to our debut, I thought we had just about got it. I thought we might not make such fools of ourselves after all.
The day dawned, I was up at 5.30am, industriously plaiting her mane and tail and polishing her to perfection. She did, if I say so myself, look rather splendid. However, that is where the splendidness stopped.
Having not competed for four years, going away to the competition was just a wee bit too exciting. New place, new horses, and the horror of the white boards - and flowers - around the arena were all a bit too much.
The lovely soft dressage horseness we had almost achieved at home went out of the window and my grim determination returned - to complete the test. Which we did, with a couple of spooks, and a step or two outside of the dreaded white boards when she thought she was going to be able to escape.
However, it has now filled me with a desire to do it again - and keep doing it again until she performs away from home as well as I know she is capable of doing.