2019 is well and truly under way for Pro-Equine sponsored rider Louisa Spencer and her “unconventional dressage horse” Arnie. After enjoying a few quiet weeks over the festive period, Arnie and Louisa were soon straight back to work having decided to compete alongside the best in the country at Addington High Profile show. Louisa keeps Arnie on Activgait throughout the off-season so wasn’t worried when she needed to up his workload.
Louisa takes up the story: “Doing a Grand Prix test at local shows is great but I wanted to push ourselves and see how we stood amongst the best in the country. This was a big ask as I was the only amateur there! Also, Arnie is ridden just three times a week, we don’t get to train with anyone and we work things out by trial and error. Arriving at Addington is always great – you are parked up next to these huge lorries with no duct tape in sight holding them together! We got Arnie settled into his stable and familiarised ourselves with where everything was as it had been a year since we were last there. We were doing the Inter2 class the following night so the next day Arnie had a nice light exercise in the morning and we set about making a plan for the day. Arnie warmed up brilliantly, there were no arena walks so Arnie had to be brave and just go straight in there with an audience and perform. I needn’t have worried as he walked in like a pro, the bell rang and off we went. I felt our Inter2 test was one of the best we’ve done, it all went really well. We are still quite weak in our Piaffe but the Passage is really improving and the judges agreed with this. We finished just shy of 64% but came 13th out of 28! I was over the moon with this placing, holding our own amongst the pros! Wow! Arnie has also been having his Colikare everyday as this product is not only amazing during spring and autumn when the grass is growing but for when we are travelling and competing too. It really helps keep Arnie’s stomach settled and functioning at its best so he is more comfortable and able to perform as well as he can. The next day was Grand Prix day, we were one of the last few in, warming up with the ‘who’s who’ of dressage, which was rather intimidating and a little overwhelming for both Arnie and me! Even the FEI stewards started a fan club for us, cheering on the amateurs! I was a little more worried about this test as, after all, this is the top of the sport in massive company and Arnie and I were amongst them! Mum said to me as I walked in, ‘just have fun and enjoy it’ and that’s exactly what we did. I lost count of my one-time changes, I could not ride a straight line but Arnie tried his heart out and we cried with pride for our quirky, unconventional pony! We didn’t disgrace ourselves and finished with 60.8% and didn’t even come last! Quite amazing really and I am so in love with Arnie for what he has achieved and overcome. We came home feeling proud and very happy.
The following weekend we decided just to pop up to Hartpury to try and get a PetPlan Inter2 sheet in for this years qualifiers, well that didn’t go quite how we liked as our ‘little local show’ ended up having the ‘king of dressage’, Carl Hester, and some of his up and coming talented riders competing against us! However, a good Inter2 test gave us 64.7% and our first PetPlan sheet.
What a great start to the year! We have just received a wildcard for the PetPlan Inter2 championships in April but firstly we have the Inter1 regional champs to have a go at in two weeks! Whatever happens, Arnie and I are having the most incredible journey and are enjoying every minute of it. We couldn’t do it without the amazing support of Pro-Equine and their fantastic products. Arnie, as he goes out in his muddy field everyday, has also been using the Mud Bug Buster gel as this works wonders on his white legs, where he is very prone to mud fever but applying this every day before he goes out has ensured we are keeping it at bay.”