It's been a while since we heard from our intrepid dressage Brand Ambassador Katie Gray. But she hasn't been resting on her laurels during the off season. Here's what she and BK have been up to....
Recently I had the pleasure of being awarded with World’s Largest Trophy as I topped the leader board in the prelim section for the Yarra Valley Dressage Club. My speech went something along the lines of 'I would like to thank my horse for his willing approach to endless circles, my sponsors for their unwavering support and cool tee shirts, and my husband and children for the quality time they spent together as BK and I were off training and competing'.
BK and I hadn’t competed since mid-Autumn, so we jumped at the chance to enter Doongala Official Dressage Day. Knowing it was the day after a friend’s birthday I deliberately asked for a late test and brought an even more hungover buddy to call my test. BK was a little rusty in the first test and drew a complete blank when I asked him to lengthen strides. However we regrouped ok to dust off the cobwebs and win the second test and some actual Horse Conditioner as a prize.
You say Extreme Weather Warning, I say Dressage! Once again, with Melbourne ravaged by gale force winds and pouring rain, I decided to devote my time to plaiting my horses newly conditioned hair and searching for a place even colder than the Yarra Valley to compete - Werribee. BK and I were off to mix it with the Proper Dressage Riders, those clad in Jackets, not Tiny Vests. Luckily, we had secured the backstage support of our one and only sponsor who was seen handling tack and absentmindedly patting BK at least twice, but who made up for limited hands-on grooming activity by handing over a super soft and warm Harry Hall beanie - definitely worth rugging my own horse for!
The National Equestrian Centre is located next to Werribee Zoo. With a strong wind that afternoon the whiff of lions and tigers helped add a bit of a spring to BK’s step. We did an adequate job of the first test despite feeling a touch like we were riding a wilderbeast in a stampede. We then went to visit our fellow club members at our allocated table in the indoor where the next test was scheduled. Other members seemed shocked to the core that this would be our first attempt at this test and our first time at Werribee and no experience with this kind of atmosphere. I assured them that BK was a good sort and we had even survived showjumping in the past, so that things would probably all work out ok. I then quickly ran back out to saddle him up again to allow time for a decent warm up for fear of public humiliation.
We just about deserved a medal for the warm up. It was carnage in the warm up indoor arena. We both held it together by a whisker. Huge pitch black shiny horses with tails that made BK’s conditioned one look like a forelock nearly t-boned us every few strides and made us feel like seaside donkeys in comparison. Relentlessly time marched on and our names were called... well, some version of our names which hinted that the announcer may not have brought her glasses that day and that somehow our fame had not preceded us. BK was hell-bent on upstaging his distant cousins, or at least keeping up with the Kardashians, and I couldn’t have asked for more. Did we win? Hell no! But we performed more than adequately against an array of professional riders and instructors. We also received a surprise 4th rosette for our first wilderbeast-on-the-run-from-a-lion-inspired test . In theory we’ll take a few weeks off til the sun appears and mud dries up, although time off isn’t really our thing so we’ll see how we go...