Daniel Bates - Another Goodbye But Still Flying High

Sophie hall and hugo

August has been a strange month of ups and downs with difficult decisions needing to be made in order to progress with my dressage career.

Wilson came into my life two years ago and was my very first horse and has been an important part of my riding journey and I will never forget him. He was and is a superstar and gentleman who I had hoped would be with me throughout my journey but unfortunately this was not going to be the case.

My journey with Wilson had not always been easy and with him being so big and powerful I had at times struggled and sometimes my confidence suffered but I always tried to remain positive and kept pushing myself to progress but recently after some heartfelt discussions I decided to re-home Wilson.

It became apparent that Wilson was not a natural Para Dressage horse for me and due to my level of training being increased I didn't feel as though he would be happy being asked to do what I would be asking for on a daily basis.

I was extremely lucky to find him a lovely home with a lady who had followed our journey for the past two years so on the 31st August I said my goodbyes but more importantly my thank you's and let him move onto a slower pace of life in Shropshire.

So as Wilson moved on the generosity and kindness of others stepped forward. The very lovely Nicky Hill (supergroom to Levi and all round wonder woman) and her daughter Megan Hill brought forward the beautiful Springfern Three For A Girl (Joy).

Joy is Megan Hills event horse which she successfully competes at BE90 and offered me the amazing opportunity to ride Joy in order to continue my dressage training whilst looking for my new horse. A gesture that I can never repay and kindness I had never experienced.

This mare is just amazing and a total dream to ride. She looks after me and lets me do what I need to do without having to over think the situation and I am really excited to say that I will be competing with Joy in October. This will be my first competition in 12 months but I now feel the time is right. I'm in the right place with the right trainer on the right horse and my confidence is where it should be and I am ready to go out and be positive but importantly to enjoy the experience.

Hugo's schooling is going well with Laura Wollen Dressage and he is turning into a handsome but large horse.

Throughout the difficult decisions I have had to make I have still managed to have the best time, meeting genuine dressage riders who have been kind enough to offer me opportunities to ride their stunning horses in order for me to gain experience which I have previously missed out on for when I find my new dancing partner.

I've learnt to ride in an arena with another rider and am learning the rules of warm up arenas and how to ride them but I am also learning more importantly that I can be a successful rider and that I don't need to be held in one arena and not be seen by anyone, which is all adding to my confidence with being around people.

Under the guidance of my trainer Levi Hunt, I am being pushed but also learning that it is ok to ask questions and make mistakes because that's how I will learn.

I am incredibly lucky to have found the place where I belong at Abbey Dressage and to be surrounded by such a beautiful selection of professional dressage horses and to be trained by such an amazing and talented rider who gives up so much of his time to help me and to have such a genuine and kind support team who I know are always there for me.

To anyone out there who is struggling I just want you to stay strong and keep positive. You just need to find that one person who you connect with, trust but most of all makes you laugh and everything else will fall into place. Don't be afraid to make a difficult decision, life is too short to have regrets and you spend too much time in the saddle to not have fun doing it. I have waited along time to finally be able to say "I Can Do This".

So I will update you all on my trip to Stoneleigh Dressage Championships and my first competition next month, wish me luck ūüćĬ†

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