Posted: 10 Sep 2019 - Comments (0)
It is a long time since I have taken two horses to an event and I was a bit worried how we would cope and what their behaviour would be like. For someone that is used to a relatively leisurely day we also had plenty of changes with the first time at 12.36 and being finished at about 4.30. Big thank you to Vanessa Unsworth who came as super groom and I couldn't have managed without. Luckily both girls were really well behaved and waited their respective turns patiently (most of the time)
Launceston is our local event only just over an hour away and nice courses but with plenty to focus the minds. Perhaps not the most galloping courses and the twists and turns can make the time hard to get but very educational with 3 water crossings in the novice. The time turned out to be quite tight this year and none made it in the Novice.
Fliss was dressaging first and did a new test for us 112. The test has a combination of sideways, a simple change through trot and a canter up the centre line. This phase has huge improvement to come yet but we managed a PB of 31.5 which left us 7th after dressage.
I was really disappointed with Ellie's dressage mark here last time but this time I thought she did a nice test and got a well deserved nice mark. Was great to see a judge use the full range of marks so we had scores from a 6 to a 8.5. We finished with a score of 27.5 in a very competitive section which left us in 5th place.
Ellie then went on to do her jumping phases before Fliss did anything further. The show jumping was a lovely if I do say so myself, she was really listening and jumping cleanly in an arena that is not always the easiest to ride. A clear round was well deserved and she came out on her toes and really feeling the super pony she is!
As the lorry was a decent walk from the jumping phases we took the change of boots and clothes down with us and did a quick change and straight onto cross country. Since the last run here the track had changed significantly and last time whilst I found the time very easy this time I needed to keep the tempo up. She gave me a fab ride, was bold and accurate and didn't have a moments worry. Video just shows a little burst of going out and coming home.
She feels more than ready to step up to Novice but I am loath to do this as any points will affect her market as she could be very competitive at grass roots even though I am not eligible. Another fabulous double clear and finished on our dressage score only 1.8 marks off the winner but in 5th place in a tight and competitive section. She is such a fun and easy pony that puts a big smile on my face.
So no time to rest on my laurels and Ellie was washed and iced and then Fliss was got ready for jumping. This was perhaps my most disappointing phase of the day although Fliss's talent in this phase meant we didn't suffer. When I get nervous particularly show jumping I tend to get a bit backward and the whole round just wanted a bit more power. I saw a real backward stride to the first double and we ended up popping 2 strides in when there should only have been one and had a rather backward stride to the last. The poles however stayed up and in a class that only just under half were clear this was the main thing.
So finally cross country for Fliss and I was still very much feeling the effects of our training with Owen Moore and certainly had her up a gear from previous rounds. My main worries on course were early on, a pheasant feeder on a forward 2 strides to a corner was testing at 6, then at 7 was a decent boat with the running river water behind. She went off confidently and forward and jumped the first easy ones well. We turned to the combination and I felt the relief as a lovely forward stride to the first element presented itself and we had a great jump over the corner. A tap on the shoulder to keep her up to the job and she was focused and never hesitated at the boat. The rail to skinny down the hill road nicely as did the second water, the rail ditch rail was jumped nicely and the final water was interesting when after the initial log she tried to jump the water crossing all in one and then rather landed in a heap meaning the b element was rather more awkward than it should have been! She came home full of running and confidence and I was delighted with her.
We had 7.2 time penalties, inside the time would have won the class although this was never realistic I was over the moon to finish 5th. Fliss's best result at Novice to date and her 7th out of 7 double clear at BE. A couple more food hampers were a wonderful prize, thank you Goodbye Fly's for sponsoring.
Couldn't have asked for a better day, totally delighted with both girls and the focus now switching to the Novice at Gatcombe this weekend.
Posted: 4 Sep 2019 - Comments (0)
This weekend we are hoping to take both girls to Launceston Horse Trials. This may be a bit brave as we don't often take them in the lorry together and I think Fliss particularly could be a bit clingy. Saying that at this point in time Ellie is in the 100 but Fliss is first on the waitlist for the novice so it may only be Ellie running. My own fault as I entered late but wanted to see how I felt after our sessions at Lyneham Heath. Enthused and motivated so hope we come off the waitlist.
The following week Fliss is entered at the last ever Little Gatcombe, I have had many happy times at this fabulous venue and I was keen to get there for the last event to be run. the course is nice but the water is strong so fingers crossed our sessions with Owen have paid off.
Finally the week after we are entered with Fliss for the eventer challenge at Blenheim on the Sunday. Not totally sure we will go, love the event and think this is one of Fliss' but equally it is a long way to go and a lot of money still to spend on fuel and stabling.
Posted: 1 Sep 2019 - Comments (0)
What a productive few days with the girls at Lyneham Heath. I can confirm that Owen Moore was as good as everyone said and I had a fab couple of lessons with Fliss. I did debate sanity as with an accident on the A30 and a diversion around Crediton it was a nearly 8 hour trip to Lyneham Heath luckily nearer the expected 5 and a half on the way back.
Owen stripped it right back to basics and you will see in the video we started by doing everything very small and very simple to check there were no training omissions. Luckily he was happy that to this stage everything was going the right way. I explained one of the areas I wanted to work on was her confidence in water and she belied my concerns by being pretty confident from the word go.
Owen really tested us over the two days and you can see the progression in the videos. We worked on strategies for when things weren't going as well which I nicknamed the "s*&t yes" My God Fliss really found an extra gear and was amazing, Owen was very complimentary about her and also my riding which was nice.
Sadly we had a rather wet end, which wasn't caught on video as Mum wasn't able to be everywhere all the time! We finished jumping a log drop and she made a super jump in stumbled on the first stride, I had no hope doing a head first dive under the water! Fliss luckily didn't go right down and took herself off back to the stables where I found her happily munching hay largely unconcerned, I must have swallowed a few mouthfuls and slid along the bottom as I had grit in my back protector and bra! Such a shame to end in such a manner but thats horses! I did collect her remount and pop through the water, no harm done luckily although things will take a while to dry out and it wasn't fun getting back on Ellie after in the same hat and BP!
Finances hadn't stretched to Ellie having a lesson too although I wished I had found a bit extra. I had hoped that some prospective buyers were going to view her but in the end that didn't happen so we had a session on the fabulous cross country course. What can I say she just gave me a huge grin she was fabulous. She jumped most of the difficult lines and combinations that Fliss jumped and made it feel very easy. She was easily jumping novice level with some nearer intermediate. Very nearly entered her for a novice event on the back of this and if she is still with me next season doubt I will resist the temptation.
Huge thanks to Owen Moore Eventing I will definitely be making the trip again despite the 14 hours driving!
Posted: 31 Aug 2019 - Comments (0)
Apologies for the silence and things will pick up. I have just completed my Level 3 Training and Education course (new skills for future projects) and it took rather more of my time than I anticipated. Run a day a week over 5 weeks, the assignments and coursework that was done in my own time totalled nearly 12,000 words and took many hours! Good news is it is all submitted and I am now waiting the certificate!
So tomorrow I will be doing an update from our fabulous training this week with Owen Moore.
Posted: 19 Aug 2019 - Comments (0)
Another fabulous show at Chard really lucky to have such a great show centre where we can compete albeit a 3 hour drive away. It was a tad more than that this time as there was a diversion near the showground and I promptly got lost, it is then not easy to turn a lorry round and I ended up driving back into Devon. Eventually arrived behind schedule and stressed. Luckily we were meeting Nick and Jane Perry when we arrived and Jane was bionic finding out numbers and ring progress while I sorted stables and unloaded. Luckily we weren't too bad time wise.
Thursday Ellie did the 1.05 and jumped a competitive round really frustrated to have the final fence down when going for it in the jump off. For this show at Chard they were introducing Derby classes for the first time. I have always enjoyed these classes and on the Thursday was a 1m derby for which I entered both girls. Ellie jumped this first and it was a long track with 17 numbered fences and 21 jumping efforts including a section out the arena on grass. Ellie loves these classes and stormed round for a lovely clear. As it was A7 she then had to wait for a jump off while I rode Fliss. Typically there was a bit of a clash of classes and we first did the Newcomers. The main ring at Chard is huge but it seems to give the builders chance to build big tracks and I swear I have jumped Foxhunter classes nearly as big! Certainly seemed a good day for a steady round and indeed she cruised round for a lovely double clear and her 4th double clear Newcomers qualifying her for next years second rounds.
Poor Fliss then had to go straight to ring 2 where they were waiting for her to jump the 1m Derby. She jumped a clear round too, so I had 2 in the JO and about a 1/3 class were eliminated with a few refusing to jump out the arena. Poor Fliss was then 1st to go in the jump off which was a bit much jumping together but she tried hard but just fought on a turn and we missed a stride having a pole which meant she just finished outside the placings. Ellie meanwhile did a quick clear jump off but I hadn't realised just how quick they were going and finished 6th.
What can I say about day 2 (Friday) probably wash out is the best description. It started raining about 10 prior to our classes starting and never stopped for the day. The wind blew and the rain drove in. Luckily I had remembered the horses waterproof rugs shame I hadn't packed a coat for me - the ultimate in stupidity. Thankfully the equestrian community is so kind and Jo Rimmer lent me a jacket despite the fact it may be some months before our paths cross again. Fliss made the most of catching up on nap time!
I did manage to get both exercised but didn't jump although the show carried on, I am clearly getting soft but saw neither fun or benefit in jumping in those conditions. As they had worked hard the day before and had 2 classes entered the next day it was no bad thing.
Saturday fortunately returned to kinder weather and we were able to jump as planned. Ellie jumped a super round in a big 1.05 for a single pole and Fliss a good round in the Newcomers for a pole in the jump off when I was moving against the clock. So the final class of the weekend was the 1.10 Derby which both were entered in.
Ellie was first up and jumped a brilliant round one of her best. I was just frustrated that we slipped into an upright on the grass section which denied her a clear round which she hugely deserved.
As Fliss had been beaten by her stable mate in the meter derby she felt it was time to turn the table and jumped a stonking clear.
So a final jump off for Fliss and we did a speedy few turns and galloped properly to the last. No video as we went so quick mum lost us on the camera! We didn't win but were good enough for second place and a very handy £100 prize money which helped offset some of the weeks entry fees.
As always a great few days and lots learnt.
Posted: 13 Aug 2019 - Comments (0)
Sorry for the silence but it is one of those times in life that everything is flat out. I am working with Sandie Robertson an Equestrian Performance and Confidence coach to try and get my head in the right place. One of the early exercises was to identify where you spent your time which was certainly eye opening and equally frightening as I really do have very little spare time. Summer is always silly season at work and to add to it I am doing a Learning and Education course which gives me a basic teaching qualification (more health and safety than horses sadly). This course is a day a week with an eye watering 6-10 hours homework a week. Perhaps now you may see why blogging has taken a back seat! Sorry am I making excuses!
Anyway off for a rest after my course tomorrow as we drive up for 3 days at Chard Equestrian with the girls. A favourite show jumping venue and they have added some derbies for this show which is very exciting. I am trying not to think of all the work that will have built up on my return!
Ellie's advert has been out a week and have 4 people with varying levels of interest but no viewings yet, I think I am secretly hoping she may not sell although I really do need the funds! Watch this space!