BD Camp and Compete at Vale View with Sophie Wells


Day 1 Friday

We arrived with Terry at 4pm and tried our best not to be overwhelmed by the facilities too much! Permanent stables and indoor and outdoor arenas as far as the eye can see. We had fish and chips in the cafe to meet everyone and then an early night ready for the 8am lessons

Day 2 Saturday

Early morning wake up to feed Terry and make sure he was comfortable. He gets a bit stressy when he stays away so luckily we found a place to graze in hand so he would relax and then decide he is also happy to eat the hay in his stable!

Lessons with Sophie Wells started at 8am and it was an honour to sit and watch them. I was a little star struck to be honest I couldn’t believe it was ‘the’ Sophie Wells. She was very precise and disciplined yet she also really wanted to encourage the riders when they did well. This cultivated a very positive learning environment. In my lesson, we worked on making sure Terry was forwards but not falling out of the shoulder. The canter was especially interesting because once I got him forward enough, more forward than I thought he was actually able to balance on his own!

From 4pm onwards all of the riders had test riding opportunities. I chose N37A as it was the harder one of my two tests. It went so well! He warmed up like a dream accessing some of the work from the mornings lesson. We got 67% and all 7’s for our canter work. I was thrilled especially considering over the last month I had lost a lot of confidence and was just meandering around the Petplan test just trying to get through it. In the evening we had another beautiful meal and a BD rules/stewarding quiz!

Day 2: Sunday Competition day!

The best part about this camp had to be the support in the warm up. I know realise how much my nerves were preventing me from riding forward. Having someone give you those pointers in the right direction was a big part of the confidence boost I received this weekend as was being able to compete at the same venue where I had a lesson the previous day. In my first test he was annoyingly spooky especially at a particular sandbag (it was longer than the others!). Some beautiful forward work meant he got loads of 7’s but also a 3.5.

The second test was much better with only a few wobbles. I was really pleased with the give and retakes as I had always found those difficult in the past. He was more forward and straighter, they were so much better. With all the scores being a lot lower in that class I finished on 62.8 and 6th out of 14. A bit of a disappointing score but all the scores were low compared to the first class and I know what I need to work on!

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