Daniel Bates - Getting competition confident

Hi Everyone, I can’t believe how quickly this year is going!

So despite some awful weather which at times I thought was going to see me doing a Wizard of Oz on LittleMan, I’ve still managed to train 4/5 a week, thank god for an indoor school! 

I started March with a competition on home soil at Abbey Dressage which was run by Cheltenham Riding Club which always helps with my warm up arena practice and competition practice which gave me a result of 64%. 

I was lucky enough on the same day to watch my youngster Hugo step out for his first competition with superstar rider Robbie McNeill on board and they blew everyone away with a 1st place on 74%, which was the highest result of the whole day and with nearly 100 entries, I couldn’t of been prouder of them both.

I have also been lucky enough to be offered the role of sponsored rider for Rookery Equine Spa and Therapy Ltd. Rookery Equine is a Cheshire based equine spa, therapy & rehabilitation centre. It was a total honour to be offered this opportunity and in conjunction with Shearwater I look forward to representing them both on both mainstream and Para dressage throughout 2019.

I also ventured out to my second affiliated competition with LittleMan with the support of my trainer Levi William Hunt and super groom Nicky Hill. Between the two of them they always get me where I need to be, when I need to be there and make LittleMan look amazing. With very little pre competition practice in the week before due to the most horrendous weather I still managed to score 60% and place 3rd, but more importantly it gave me some much needed experience in a competition environment but I’m already looking forward to my next competition. The nerves are always there but I’m learning how to deal with them, slowly but surely I’m getting there.

I’ve also been practising some independent riding. I’m learning that sometimes I just need to sort out little problems on my own and spend time riding without instruction. It’s a whole new concept to me and a freedom that was a little overwhelming to start with but now I’m really starting to embrace the skills that I have and that I feel confident enough to tack my horse up, get on and ride on a yard with just my mom there. The quiet time I have when it’s just me and LittleMan is helping build a special bond.

But March was a very important month for another reason. Lucy Boorman who owns LittleMan and very kindly loaned him to me in December was finally given the all clear to get back in the saddle following an operation. It was so lovely to see her back on board LittleMan and to see her smile back. 

And congratulations to Sophie Hall on her continued sponsorship by Shearwater, she is a fantastic brand ambassador and a really genuine nice person to know who loves her horses, her sport and her family. If you get the chance to meet this lovely lady then your very lucky because I know I was.

I’ll speak to you all in April.