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  • Writer's pictureOllie Ratcliffe

March Blog

Pleased to report this month I have done lots and lots of riding! The sun seems to finally have his hat on and we have had some super weather. I hope it is here to stay and I hope that you are all making the most of the weather and having fun with your ponies!

The Central Team for the Para Home International has been picked; sadly this year I am not competing as I just can’t afford to. I will be there on Sunday supporting and cheering on the team, as well as competing myself in a summer qualifier. Due to a lack of qualifiers near where I am based we have to travel, in this case to Leicester!

I have done quite a lot of dressage writing this month at Windmill Farm. The other day I wrote from elementary up to inter 1 which was very interesting and there were some super combinations. It was also great to watch my trainer compete; he had rides in the elementary, advanced medium and inter 1 and he won all the tests he entered.

My preparations for the Winter Para Dressage Gold Championships have been somewhat eventful. I was on Wycombe Sound radio a week before which was great and gave me a chance to update all the listeners on my progress so far. Sadly Bear knocked himself and so we made the decision not to take him as we just couldn’t take the risk. He is now back in work and we are slowly building up his work load again! Horses always seem to hurt themselves at the wrong times, perhaps I should give him a copy of our competition calendar!

The Championships were my first competition with my new trainer Rob Waine who has stepped in as my previous trainer is unwell. It meant that Rob had only ridden Sky about 3 times before we left for the Championships. Sky warmed up beautifully for Rob and looked fab. Everyone commented on how well he looked including Glesni Sky’s owner who had come to watch. I had a really good warm up. We went into the test and I literally put my all in, sadly on this occasion it wasn’t enough; we finished 4th. I was disappointed with the result but sadly we had a few mistakes which were very costly but overall Sky’s way of going was much improved.

Training with both boys has been going really well and I was looking forward to our first summer qualifier of the year but sadly it was cancelled. It would have been the first time doing the new 2017 tests. So more time to practice and perfect the new test movements. The new tests are challenging but both boys really like the pattern and they seem to ride well. Currently we are just putting our attention towards the individual test and I am trying to learn it.

We have been trying a new way of going with Sky to see if the judges prefer it. Its work in progress and is just a matter of both of us getting used to it. Bear is full of the joys of spring and has a lot of energy; we just need to find where to put it at times! But he feels amazing and really up for it.

Both boys are feeling super! Sure its thanks to the supplement PharmaQuin (BETTA Life) that they are both on #teamBETTALife

My exciting news; I am delighted to announce I am now a Neue Schule Ambassador. I cannot thank them enough for their continued support. Me and the boys love their bits, the best bits on the market! Super sponsors #NSbits #NeueSchule @NSBits

Thank you so much to the Douglas Bader Foundation. I am extremely grateful to have received a Bader grant; in memory of Lady Bader. It will help enormously and allow me to have regular strength and conditioning sessions which will help my development as an elite athlete. With the deterioration In my condition it is essential that I try to do as much physical exercise as I am able to so that I can continue with my sport and to give me a better quality of life. I have been carrying out my gym programme on a regular occasion and it has been going really well. I am looking forward to going back to Performance Hertfordshire next month.

I am having a tough time in terms of my disability at present and I have had further deteriorations. But as long as I can ride and live my dream every day then I am happy. Both boys have been looking after me brilliantly it’s just hard and frustrating but I will get there.

Look forward to updating you all on some more exciting news and competition results next month.

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