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20Aug 14

Competition coat

I have given away my competition coat... To my goddaughter.....It wasn't difficult, to my great surprise. As a matter of fact, it was a very quick and spontaneous happening and a decision I shall never regret as the most wonderful and dedicated `pony-girl' was shining from ear to ear when she tried it on and looked at herself in the mirror. As I looked in the mirror with her I saw what I wanted to see: dreams of what that coat would be doing in the future, on which horse it would be sitting, which tests it would be riding and how well, of course.

I saw myself... in her. Is that dangerous? A little bit, but it's worth the  risk.

My competition coat is a lucky one. Together with me that coat was very successful until Prix St. George when it was replaced with the so very much desired tails. I loved wearing it. It was, and still is, a beautiful woollen Pikeur dressage jacket, dark blue as I preferred that over black, blue was always my colour. It made me feel smart and ready for another good performance. Putting it on together with tying the stock always was a routine which had a certain quiet importance to it. It was a routine which put me in the right groove, gave me the right focus.

Do I miss it? No, actually. not anymore. I miss the horses I competed, Marie, my stalwart chestnut mare who surprized all who knew her with her fiery work attitude,  in particular.

So, when do you stop competing whereas it has been a lifestyle for so long. For me it was clear. Fifty five  years old and after Marie's sudden death, starting again with a young horse would not necessarily mean the same highs. And I did not want a slow decline after all that was achieved.

Is that weak? If others want to consider that weak, so be it. I never looked back and continue working with my wonderful pupils and their horses, who give me so much satisfaction and always make me sing out loud when driving home after their lessons. This is of course a luxury which hobby riders do not have.

It is a very personal decision and motivations will be different for every personality. The right timing is everything. Also making a good plan to fill in that time with something worthwhile. Fitness is an issue. Also, riding less means extra pounds. I replaced it with swimming lengths.

Occasionally I open the drawer filled with rosettes, with on the back written when and where and which class. A drawer full of indispensable memories. It was special and I hope for that to continue... with my goddaughter... because she wants it...badly.


Dressage Training

Dressage training needs variety, including pole work

Dressage Training

Dressage training needs variety, including pole work

About Liz Barclay

Her love for horses together with her dedication made her into the trainer and dressage rider she is, today. She is versatile and inventive and likes a challenge; whether it is a technical training question, a confidence issue or a problem involving the management of the horse or pony.


My book 'THE FARMER, THE COAL MERCHANT, THE BAKER...' with the subtitle 'A Personal Impression of the Development of the Gelderland Horse World' has been received with more enthusiasm than I possibly could have hoped for. Click here to contact me and I will send you a copy. £7.50 + postage, or click here to order from Amazon.