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Bursary Winner - Dengie

Posted: 4 Nov 2019 - Comments (0)

It is amazing when things come together and a dream competition win. I have said before my horses are fueled by Dengie Horse Feeds. Therefore I am overjoyed to win the Dengie Training bursary though Horse&Rider Magazine.

I have won training from Lucy Jackson and Hannah Esberger-Hancock, a diet plan and weigh-in, plus two further assessments £400 worth of Dengie feed a Dengie branded rug, saddlecloth and jacket. I lessons will be featured in Horse & Rider magazine.

Can't wait to meet everyone and be part of this great experience. Ellie is a bit worried they will take the 'diet' element of the plan a bit too seriously!

Looking forward to letting everyone know how it goes and what I learn. Huge thanks to both Dengie and Horse and Rider magazine.

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Training with Owen Moore and putting into practice at Chard

Posted: 3 Nov 2019 - Comments (0)

So 3 nights in 3 different stables and the girls were superstars, a really successful trip with lots learnt. Last time we went to Lyneham we had a major diversion with the A30 closed this time it was the M5 although luckily we could reroute at Bristol and use the M4 to get toLyneham. Lyneham for those that haven't been is a fabulous facility, super stabling, a huge outdoor arena and a mega cross country course. There is also an indoor school when all else fails! We had originally hoped to have some XC sessions but the wet weather put paid to this. Both girls were feeling fresh and well and certainly not fatigued by their journey.

We arrived at just after 12 and Fliss had a lesson at 2pm with Ellie following straight after.

Fliss Lesson (Day 1)

Owen had obviously seen Fliss once before but just on the xc so this was a good opportunity to work in a different environment. On the first day we predominantly looked at the flat work starting to work towards being intermediate ready at some point next season. I made a bit of a mistake and popped spurs on, she was feeling bright and v fresh hence for the first 3/4 of the lesson I was trying my best not to touch her with the spurs!

Hopefully the video will demonstrate some of the points we worked on, we progressed using squares, different flexion and also focusing on my body position. Key points for me to take away:-

  • On the right rein when flexing left her quarters were coming in, need to educate and use right leg to keep quarters straights and neck independent
  • Tempo is so important, we needed to reduce the tempo below what was needed in a test for now. This is allowing her to move more correctly and with better cadence.
  • In lateral work focus on my shoulders pointing in the same direction as I want her shoulders to be
  • In counter canter ensure I am not turned and looking to inside as will encourage a change
  • Really good in the right canter to use outside flexion (keeping quarters straight)

Video - Listen with sound on

Ellie Lesson (Day 1)

A quick change round and it was time for Owen to meet Ellie. He had been told that this was the perfect pony and was only to say nice things about her, luckily he loved her (who doesn't) and Ellie certainly showed herself to her very best. Again we started on the flat doing a little lateral work and then transitions on a square in canter. So cantering straight, connecting to medium and back before riding a correct corner. This really got her sitting and listening in the canter.

Jumping wise we did some canter poles and some basic related distances so Owen could get a feel for her and areas to work on.

Ellie when she had finished was convinced she should be allowed out on the cross country, absolutely loving life and just wanting more the whole time!

Fliss Lesson (Day 2)

Day 2 and I left my spurs off! Again we started off on the flat looking at the movements that may be required next year if we move up a level. We did some walk shoulder in again making sure the tempo wasn't too quick so she was showing a good 4 time pace. We then moved onto simple changes and using a tight turn to help her sit and come back to walk, she really got her hocks underneath her but couldn't quite hold herself to go into walk and a few trot steps ensued. This is just a question of practice and strength.

We then started jumping some fences and related distances. For some reason I just wasn't quite on it and struggled to see a good stride and it wasn't quite working making me frustrated. Owen believes I have a good eye, I just have to believe that too. He was wanting me to take the first stride I saw rather than adding which in turn would make it easier for the horse. Look for the fence early and ride the spreads like there is a ditch in front to give me the power.

Ultimately I didn't feel I got it quite right on the day but interestingly at Chard next day a few things stuck and it was hugely improved. We discussed how I ride the girls differently, I am a lot more carefree with Ellie and it is more fun, I need to transpose that way of riding to Fliss and 'use her' a bit more rather than protecting her and worrying if things go wrong.

Ellie Lesson (Day 2)

With Ellie we did some course jumping and the theme continued in daring myself to move up in terms of tempo and ride with a soft hand looking for the fence early. Keeping my shoulders up and not throwing the body forwards. Sounds easy doesn't it? Actually with Ellie generally it was improved and we came away with a great feel.

Really enjoyed the two days of lessons and learnt loads, huge thanks to Owen and hopefully can get back there a time or two before next season but lots of homework to focus on in the meantime.

Chard BS Show

So after our second lesson we headed back towards home and to Chard where they had a 3 day jumping show. Much as we would have liked a few days jumping one felt more than enough to put the training into practice before heading home.

I entered both in the 1.05 and Newcomers a slight step back for Fliss in order to try and focus on being more forward thinking and with the intention of just jumping Ellie in the 1.05 if the Newcomers was huge as it can be at Chard.

The 1.05 seemed big enough and actually been a while since we have been out jumping. Always a competitive quick class and remembering Owen's words of more forwards and making use of them tried to practice what was preached. Was delighted with Fliss's round as we did manage to stay more forward and jump on the earlier stride rather than constantly adding. She went double clear and was in the money for 3rd place.

Ellie also jumped a super double clear and was .3 second slower for 4th place.

The Newcomers was huge, and being single phase the second half is 1.15/1.20. In the second half was a very meaty treble and having seen courses like that before I have decided they are a bit much for Ellie. However she is jumping so well at the moment it seemed a good time to give it a go. Wow she gave me a fabulous feel, the fence was my fault got a bit handy and didn't let her travel forwards but she was amazing and you will see her skip through the treble at 9 like it was nothing. The way she was jumping could have been a Foxhunter and she would have given it a good go!

With Fliss again I focused on trying to be competitive. She jumped super and we went reasonably quickly, sadly (for my pocket) we were just out the money as the class was combined with open entries but we finished 5th and the best placed Newcomer horse.

A brilliant 3 days, both girls had a very well deserved duvet day yesterday in the terrible weather and just a quiet mooch round the block today. Both are very pleased with themselves.

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On our travels

Posted: 29 Oct 2019 - Comments (0)

Trying to keep inspired again this winter and off for some sessions with Owen Moore again. Both girls have sessions booked although sadly now the XC is out of action due to the weather, so it will be arena sessions. Looking forward to Owen meeting Ellie who is on fine form currently and very cocky!

The girls have 3 nights in three different stables. We are spending tonight at friends at Launceston so at least an hour into our route. Then tomorrow we will travelling the remaining 5 hours too Lyneham Heath where we train Wednesday and Thursday. We travel part way back to Chard on Thursday, stop there for a night and jump on Friday before coming home. With all the fuel we try and get as much value for it as possible without knackering the girls. I must admit what I find hardest is the long drives, when you are driving a lorry that is limited to 55mph it can be very monotonous.

We have recently looked at whether relocating would be feasible but when push came to shove we don't quite have the finance to make it happen.

Anyway look forward to updating you on our adventures and also sharing some exciting bursary news!

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Gatcombe Novice Video

Posted: 23 Oct 2019 - Comments (0)

Big thank to Mum who bought a copy of the video of our round from Gatcombe.


Really chuffed how confident she looked and how her ears were forward the whole way.

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Stef Eardley Lessons

Posted: 22 Oct 2019 - Comments (0)

I took both girls for a session with Stef this weekend. Dressage is an area we need to focus on over the winter if we want to be truly competitive. I am aware with Fliss despite doing a good test for her level of training a 35 at Gatcombe put her out of touch with the placings despite a quick double clear.

With Fliss then the priority is loosening her neck and frame. We started by working in walk on a circle (about 15 meters) and bending her neck inside and outside focusing on her legs continuing to walk around the circle. That was actually a lot harder than it sounds as she wanted to follow the bend and fall in or out. In time she got the idea so we progressed to doing this in trot and canter. Her frame did free up although I had to focus on the straightness and keeping her shoulders following the circle, we used some stepping in and out to help this. Hopefully you can start to see in this short clip the changes and what we were trying to achieve. Like most things it is much easier in a school than in a field!

Have to say both girls after there short break are feeling very well. If they had much to eat I might be talking about cutting down on food but there is not much to cut down on. Big thanks to Suregrow though as there is certainly plenty of grass.

Stef was very complimentary about Ellie and we played with some more advanced exercises with her. First we looked at improving the changes by condensing the canter. We then played with starting on some basic half pass in walk, at the moment she still finds the correct positioning difficult so some homework there. We started by doing some shoulder in and then continuing the shoulder in feel along off the track on a shallow diagonal starting to ask for the quarters to move over. At the moment Ellie just collapsed onto her shoulder and didn't maintain the bend and correct steps. We will play some more and hopefully Stef can see an improvement next time she is down.

Finally having got her hind leg working and her body very supple we had some of the best mediums to date.

Very pleased with both girls.

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Holiday Over

Posted: 17 Oct 2019 - Comments (0)

We had a great holiday in Yorkshire, highly recommended, plenty to do and some spectacular scenery. We stayed in Fearby near Ripon a good base for accessing the moors and dales as well as some of the City's such as York and getting down to Bishop burton for the Caroline Moore demo.

Some highlights included the tour of Middleham which is centre of racing in the area, great to see a bit behind the scenes and get a feel for the place. We also really enjoyed the James Herriot museum, I have always been a huge fan of the books and the museum is set in the old surgery with many of the rooms as they were years ago. Also some good interactive displays (aimed at kids and big kids) and some displays of old medical equipment. Would highly recommend for anyone in the area. It wasn't the driest week but it didn't spoil things too much.

Certainly with this weather glad we didn't try and keep the girls going eventing wise. With Bovington also cancelled and my fields at home saturated I would really have struggled to have them up and ready for Bicton.

Treated myself to a Musto jacket this week found a great discount site that sold them. Never had one before so hoping it is part of my answer to keeping dry this year. Seems too good to waste at the yard but needs must. I have been given a £20 friends code to share if anyone is interested in looking. (Brand Alley)

Trying to get some enthusiasm up for winter but struggling.

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