Escrick Novice Qualifier 2009

Fresh from their success at the Indoor Championships, Mike and Brownie decided to attempt their first Novice Qualifier. With no small pony allowance and no split between seniors and juniors, they weren’t expecting to qualify for Windsor straight off. However, in true Mike fashion he gave it his all. Louise reports…

As this was Mike’s first attempt at a Novice Qualifier we arrived early on Saturday morning, allowing plenty of time to set up camp and to walk the dressage and cones. First though was the Presentation, not something we relish but something we will improve on in the future! Brownie warmed up quietly for the test, and I was just praying that Mike didn’t forget it! Brownie remained relaxed throughout and Mike drove accurately, achieving a brilliant score of 45.4 penalties. Straight on to the cones, Mike took every short route there was to ensure he made the time, which he did with 6 seconds to spare. He also drove a very accurate clear to put himself in overall first place at the end of the first day.

Having previously walked the marathon course due to lack of transport, it was a real treat for Linda and Mike to get to the obstacles on the quadbike, purchased by Mike but unfortunately unable to drive due to age restrictions. So with Linda at the wheel they were able to walk the obstacles at least 4 times over the course of Saturday evening and Sunday morning. Mike and Brownie picked up penalties in Section D which we shall have to work on but through all the obstacles they drove the shortest routes. Brownie tired towards the end, but as always gave 110% ensuring that they came second in the marathon section by only 1.2 penalties. Brownie made a rapid recovery following his favourite snack, lemonade and chocolate digestive biscuits!

After a nervous wait the final scores went up, Mike and Brownie had done it again and held on to first place! Personally I would put this down as one of Mikes best wins, with 77 entries on the day (only one other junior), Mike scored the second best dressage mark, only one of seven double clears in the cones and overall seventh best grand total mark of the day. I know I’ve said it many times but not bad for a Shetland! Roll on Windsor!!!

While Brownie was up in Yorkshire qualifying for one national event, Blackie and Anna were down in Gloucestershire trying to qualify for another! As Linda and Louise were both away, friend Jackie very kindly drove the pair all the way to Summerhouse Equestrian to the final Trailblazers dressage qualifier. Despite the baking hot day and three hour trailer ride, Blackie stepped into the unfamiliar arena without hesitation and won his class outright with a fabulous 68%! With lots of sevens and several eights he proved that Shetlands can be as good at dressage as they are at driving, and he now joins Brownie at the Trailblazers National Championships at Stoneleigh in July!

First place, qualified for BHDTA Nationals 2009
Paces & Precision 45.4, Cones 0, Marathon 1.2