It's been a busy few days. As well as collating the entries and results for our Spring Prix Caprilli, I've been setting up a variety of non-ridden April events to accommodate our many regulars - and newcomers! - who are unable to ride at the moment. Let's just say 'home-schooling' MiniD has been a little on the back-burner this week! She did help me create our new Groundwork Tests though - I'm sure that counts for something... Geography or Design and Tech maybe. And she's definitely ticked off the PE box - no Joe Wicks for us, but lots of running around in the arena with the ponies!
I squeezed in a 'PE session' myself this week - a very very last minute entry to an online charity dressage class. Realised as I was warming up that I'd not cantered in six months.... Luckily the canter in Prelim 1 is very friendly - it's one of the reasons I've chosen that test as our first 'Red-Plus' test for our summer series. It also ties in with our Easter Circles theme - so if your rider would like to have a go at a BD test but still take advantage of the Demi Dressage child-friendly judging and feedback, do take a look at that.
I know the question 'to ride or not to ride' is still being debated extensively on social media, and I touched on it on my personal Three Nags And A Baby page after I'd ridden on Tuesday. I'm pleased to say there has been absolutely no judgement passed at all across any of the Demi Dressage social media, with everyone respecting the individual choices made - thank you for that. It's been a decision that has weighed on me morally from a Demi Dressage point of view for a couple of weeks - by continuing to offer online dressage, I am tacitly encouraging riding, and that's caused me to swing back and forth a bit I must admit. My conclusion has been this: the children are already upset, confused, isolated, unsure. I trust and respect each individual family's decision to make their own choice regarding riding or not, and so for as long as there is a demand, however small, I will continue to offer the summer series of events as planned, so that you can make your own choices about competing. I know for many of you having the consistency, the normality, and something to work towards, is proving helpful right now.
But I'm also a huge fan of groundwork, and so it's been exciting to put together our first Demi Dressage Groundwork Tests! I hope those of you who cannot, or have chosen not to, ride will enjoy having something different to try. I will also be setting up more groundwork in the form of Spring Weekly Challenges starting next week - probably just for April, but we'll see how things pan out, and roll with the punches as they land...
For those unable to even get to their ponies, firstly I commiserate hugely. Being able to see her pony every day is a consistency that MiniD is thriving on right now. Secondly, I've tried not to leave you guys out. There's Hobby Horse Dressage events now on the website, and a Spring Photo Show including a new class in aid of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance - a charity I have personally supported for some time and am delighted to be able to help out in these difficult times. I do hope you'll enjoy supporting that class - open to any 16 and under, riders or not!
In line with Demi Dressage's overall ethos of education, the Hobby Horse events aren't just for fun! We'll be marking them with real dressage marks and criteria in mind - but don't worry, I won't be writing in flying changes and piaffe in ridden Demi Dressage tests any time soon ;)