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Final 'summer' show at Chard

Posted: 7 Nov 2018 - Comments (0)
Just back from our last stay away show of ‘summer’ and sadly the change to winter weather has been very evident! Definitely feeling some of the winter blues.

Lets reflect first on the great time at Chard and progress made. Fliss is jumping better and better since I have settled on a noseband and bit that she seems to both like and respect. On day 1 she jumped a good double clear in the Discovery for 2nd place and had a spooky pole in the 1.05. I don’t like to complain as it was a lovely day and the sun was bright but at this time of year it was low and left some interesting shadow, Fliss spooked at 6 and took the back bar but otherwise was great.

This led me to brave thoughts on the middle day and I gave the Discovery a miss and jumped the 1.05 followed by Newcomers. My only previous time jumping Fliss at this level had not been successful when I had cricket score and ridden badly at Dorset. This was a decent track and I promptly saw a poor stride to 1 and thought history was to repeat itself. Luckily I gave myself a metaphorical kick up the backside and rode her forward. The round was far from perfect but she tried her heart out and we finished with a fabulous double clear.
The last day was wet and miserable and we planned to step back and just finish with a Discovery. Clearly after my high of the day before I was too complacent and came round a turn with half revs and no stride, panicked asked for a nothing stride and we demolished the fence and nearly hit the deck - whoops. We circled and continued the round without incident so fingers crossed no harm done.
Ellie was fab after her short break and quickly back to her best. With her she has all her double clears so it is fun to try and be competitive. On day 1 we had a pole in the jump off going quickly but she jumped a super round in the 1.05 for 4th place.
Day 2 she was 3rd in the Discovery but had a pole in the 1.05. Like Fliss on the last day she just jumped the Discovery and just got a bit quick and opinionated for 2 poles down.

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Ellie's turn

Posted: 29 Oct 2018 - Comments (0)
With Fliss jumping at Bicton yesterday Ellie had a more low key outing today. She has had a few weeks off and a quiet week so wanted to get her out again and the Threewaters Riding Club show was ideal. First off was removing the fur coat can't believe how much she has grown since Dauntsey, sadly my clippers are playing up so it seemed a good excuse to get a pro in. Big thanks to Marilyn Stead for doing a fab job.

Ellie was really pleased to be out and feeling v bright. She also had her eyes out on stalks at some of the Halloween costumes and colours on display. I have to say if I had the time and imagination I think she would take well to being dressed up! Anyway when it came to the jumping she didn't put a foot out of place and jumped a nice double clear to win the class. Perfect outing for her as the courses were kind for the height and helped get both our eyes back in again.

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Bicton BS

Posted: 27 Oct 2018 - Comments (0)
It seems ages since we last did some proper show jumping. With Ellie just being picked up after her little break and a tad fluffy it was left to Fliss to fly the Shoestring flag. Probably madness with a 5hr round trip for 2 rounds of jumping but actually it was lovely show with nice numbers, lovely weather and good courses making it very worthwhile. I was convinced I was probably going to fall off as things usually go in 3's! Having brought Ellie in this morning in the dark I was popping her feed in while she was eating breakfast didn't see she had a front foot stretched out and went flying over it. 10 minutes late having left the wheel barrow outside Fliss's stable I fell over that too! No excuses just clumsy!

Fliss luckily looked after me at Bicton and was fab. She has not jumped in that arena before and the light wasn't the easiest but this didn't phase her. She is finally getting a lot stronger and with her better frame she was jumping really well. The Discovery was probably one of our best rounds to date and without even really trying she was quick enough for 2nd place.
The 1.05 wasn't quite such a good round I ended up thinking slightly backward and just needed to ride slightly more forward, we were caught out at number 8 when instead of riding forward I just held a little long meaning she dropped a back toe. Still a pretty good round and definitely moving in the right direction.The Newcomers also looked very jumpable which was encouraging.

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Winter training commences

Posted: 25 Oct 2018 - Comments (0)
Well despite the fact it doesn't feel winter has quite arrived yet the indoor training has started. I am determined this year to get more competitions and training to focus on rather than the dreaded long dark, wet and cold nights. I am fortunate that my local riding club Threewaters RC organises some good trainers over the winter and yesterday was the first session with Sarah Thorne a BE accredited trainer.

I had got away from work in good time and hacked out Ellie before fetching Fliss from the field. Her first steps in quickly drew my attention to a flapping shoe, horses why do we bother! Fliss has strong feet and would be fine on a surface less a shoe but on this occasion she had spread it and was secured one side and flapping the other! I actually think it is the first shoe Fliss has removed (or part removed) since I had her so why did she pick this night! Luckily my farrier wasn't too far away and agreed to pop over and replace the shoe. We did discuss I would like to have some basic tools and learn how to remove a shoe, that though is for another day.

Poor Fliss was thrown in the lorry and we arrived for the lesson only 10 minutes late and fortunately the sessions were running late so we didn't miss a thing. We worked on 3 main exercises, using poles to get them to work from behind, a small jump on the turn and then a grid but really using turning initially to engage before jumping through.

A good educational session for both of us with the exercises getting us to focus and think.

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Fliss's British Dressage debut

Posted: 21 Oct 2018 - Comments (0)
Yesterday was Fliss's first BD competition at Colraine. I haven't done a huge amount of dressage with her as she has needed to strengthen and develop and ultimately I don't want to take any horse into the competitive atmosphere without them being either competitive or it being a means to further their education.

We did the two novice tests 22 and 37a which are both long arena tests. In the first test I was a bit too tentative and didn't warm her up enough worrying that if I worked her harder she would tire and become tighter and deeper in the frame. I need to be able to get more of a happy balance as the test lacked accuracy and bend, we also made a couple of big mistakes including losing our counter canter and an annoying fly causing her to keep trying and rub her leg in the free walk. We scored a not too shabby 64% although we were bottom in a reasonably strong class.

The second class I warmed her up more and focused on suppleness and accuracy. She did get tight in the frame particularly in the canter but the whole test was hugely improved, as a top end novice I was delighted with how hard she tried resulting in our score of 67% for 3rd place in a strong class. Don't get me wrong there is a lot of improvement to come but for her current level of education I was delighted.

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No Bicton to finish the eventing year

Posted: 20 Oct 2018 - Comments (0)
Very disappointed to miss out on our last run of the season at Bicton. A favourite event but Ellie just wasn't 100% and after all she has given me and the fabulous way she has gone this year I wasn't going to push my luck. After Dauntsey she just had a couple of coughs literally for a couple of days and then seemed fine however when I got back from holiday and gave her a canter she wasn't her usual enthusiastic self. I suspect just a slight virus or cold, I had the vet out to check lungs and heart and do a blood test and all was good so hopefully nothing dramatic and a few weeks rest and she will be fine.

Been a funny season really with the events cancelled and the dry spell she has only run 6 times but with one pole down and the rest double clears the quality has been amazing. She is having a couple of weeks off and then will be picked up for the winter competitions including some jumping, riding club qualifiers and arena eventing so should be some fun times.

Fliss meanwhile is making her BD debut this weekend so fingers crossed for a good result there, she has improved hugely in her way of going and will be good to get a marker at affiliated level to see how we are progressing.

I meanwhile continue to work on my fitness and with a rare Saturday morning free did my first Park Run at Heartlands. Really pleased with a sub 30 minute 5k

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