March 2018

Another tough month, which is why I’m writing this in May (nearly June…). I’ve a lot to catch up on on here so this will be brief!

  • RDA Filmed Vaulting Competition
  • RDA events
  • Side saddle riding
  • Gymnastics
  • RDA Musical Ride

RDA Filmed Vaulting Competition

Having not had any training I ultimately decided to enter this competition on the barrel instead of on the real thing, which was a shame but did at least mean that I still took part. I made up a new routine to ‘Join the Family Business’ from the musical, ‘Young Frankenstein’, which was fun and jazzy. We filmed it during the ‘Beast from the East’ and it was so cold that my laptop, which was playing the music, packed up so I had to choose between two takes with different slight errors (to be honest, if I’d done another one I would probably still have made a mistake!). I’d tried to make my costume as warm as possible but when you still need to be able to move it’s not very easy, so I was glad of a million layers to huddle in every few minutes. Next time it’s icy and I’m vaulting I would like to be on a nice warm horse and not a freezing metal barrel!

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RDA events

I was involved in a few RDA events, including a talk about Saffron Walden and District RDA (where I volunteer) for a local group of Rainbow Guides, and, at the other end of the spectrum, a dinner hosted by an amazing American philanthropist with royalty and celebrities in attendance. I enjoyed both events but the Rainbows were probably a tiny bit more intimidating!

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Side saddle

I also had another side saddle lesson, this time on Boysie for the first time. He was a very good boy but I couldn’t believe how different it felt to ride another horse – before this, the only horse I’d ever ridden side saddle was Rolo. Boysie is a whole hand taller and is also longer and has quite a different action. Boysie is also quite a bit lazier than Rolo! I really enjoyed it though, and as with Rolo it has helped me to learn more about him as a horse under saddle, which I can take back into when I ride astride. I was also asked to ride as part of a side saddle demonstration in July, so that should be fun!

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Gymnastics

I’m still having lots of fun at gymnastics and, despite a never-ending stream of apparatus-inflicted injuries, I’m actually making some progress! My major achievement of the month was managing my first cast to squat on (to the low bar) then jump to catch the high bar. I still need to do a lot of work to secure this but it has taken so many months of gradually building up to it, including countless falls and several really nasty ones, that it felt quite overwhelming actually to achieve it at long last! Every aspect of it is difficult with my disability but knowing now that that I can do it – sometimes! – feels great. I’ve also been doing a lot of work on my split leaps. I do practise them on floor, but mostly at the moment I’m using the trampoline to give me more time in the air. Some of them actually look passable!

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RDA Musical Ride

In March we also filmed our musical ride at RDA. There were five of us in my ride and our theme was ‘Trooping the Colour’. I was the Queen (!) on Rolo, riding side saddle, and my four friends were soldiers. We all looked very smart dressed up and our final version of the ride actually looked pretty good. I had never appreciated before this just how difficult it is to put a musical ride together! I’ve only ever done one other in my life and that was when I first joined the RDA. It had already been figured out by the time I turned up; all I had to do was slot in. I now know how much respect I should have for anyone who takes on the challenge of getting the horses and riders in the right places and in time with the music – especially when the horses all move very differently and you have very limited rehearsal time!

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