Pau Thursday Dressage

Pau Thursday Dressage

Tim’s crew must be so over the rain by now! It might have dropped off a bit to mere drizzle for the Thursday afternoon dressage session but that still counts as cold and wet and Pau is supposed to be fun in the sun!

Ascona M (Ava) and Wesko (Dash) trotted up on Thursday morning as the small but select field of 41 didn’t warrant more than a day and a half of dressage.  They both flew through that with no issues and Tim turned his attention to the minor task of getting Ava on side for a harmonious dressage.

Harmony is not exactly topping Ava’s to do list this week. Having started out last week quite enjoying the surroundings of Le Lion d’Angers with its historic stable block and grand surroundings it then began to dawn on her that this actually wasn’t her party. As the week went on and Happy got more and more attention Ava viewed with disbelief the way that events were unfolding and by the time she had to get up extra early on Saturday morning to be ridden prior to the days main event she had really had enough.

Ava does not do ‘second fiddle’ and she most certainly does not play understudy to a 7 year old at his first big gig even if it is a championship. Dash being his usual goody two shoes self wasn’t improving her temper either and then to cap it all off Happy went and won and got even more accolades.

So by the time Tim, Jess, Millie, Scooby, Dash and Ava rocked up at Pau Ava had decided that it was about time she took centre stage.  And so she did, being what Tim described as “a bit of a handful” which is akin to saying the All Blacks have “won the odd game’. Ava’s USP has always been her unpredictability, she can go from brilliant to crazy in the turn of a corner.  A spectacular trot can suddenly be a unique twist, turn, lash out and swerve all in a few seconds.  She isn’t spooky, isn’t tense, isn’t anything other than the most beautiful and uber talented mare around…with a quirk!

Tim is not just a super talented rider he is an out and out horseman and his solution to Ava’s issues is to consistently change and challenge her in ways that make her think, never in a way that takes her head on. As he says, he is never the sort of rider to “wear them out” and his ultimate aim is to ensure that every time Ava goes into the arena that she behaves and learns from that experience. So it was the art of compromise that won the day and Ava’s score of 28.1 was enough to head the leaderboard and to lay down a big challenge for others to follow. One day Ava may be ready to go in and throw down a 21 but its not quite yet!  A hairs breadth away from 72% is still a cracking score at 5 star and Ava can now wave goodbye to her dressage saddle until 2020 and have some fun…and the long awaited sunshine is designated to show up tomorrow so that should make Dash happy too.

NZL-Tim Price rides Ascona M during the first day of Dressage for the CCI5*-L. Interim-1st. Les 5 Etoiles de Pau. Pyrenees Atlantiques. France. Thursday 24 October. Copyright Photo: Libby Law Photography