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Posted: 15 Oct 2018 - Comments (0)
Normal service to be resumed soon as now back from our weeks break on Exmoor. I am not the biggest holiday person but nevertheless good to get away from the everyday worries and see some new sights, enjoy some local food and do some running to lessen any long term effects from the increased calories.

For anyone interested I have added an album of photos here

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Shoestring Holiday

Posted: 5 Oct 2018 - Comments (0)
The blog is likely to be quieter (if not totally silent) for the next 7 days as we head off on a weeks break Shoestring style. Horses have been packed off to my friend for safekeeping and will have the week off. Meanwhile Mum, the dogs and I are heading to a mobile home in deepest Exmoor, there is evidently no mobile signal or Wi-Fi!

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Winner with Dengie

Posted: 2 Oct 2018 - Comments (0)
Huge thank you to Dengie Horse Feeds for this fabulous goodie bag including £100 of vouchers that I won in their Facebook competition.

I am a huge convert of Dengie feeds and both my horses are currently competing on Alpha A with just an addition vitamin supplement. I like to keep my feeding fibre based and with minimal concentrate and this has suited my horses for years, I have probably been using Dengie for over 20 years.

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Demanding Dauntsey

Posted: 30 Sep 2018 - Comments (0)
Haven't competed at Dauntsey for a few years now and it has always been renowned as a top end course that asks plenty of questions at all levels. Really good to be able to take Ellie who is now well established at this level and see how she coped. We were also in a very hot section with the top riders including this years Badminton winner, a WEG team gold medalist and a host of other WEG team members. I actually love testing ourselves with the best, the commentator XC said how unfortunate I was to be in such a hot class but actually to do well in this company is a huge achievement. Dressage was probably my least favourite test, with an extra halt and 15 meters circles. I seemed to have a crisis about these circles and usually end up with them the wrong shape or size. Luckily this time we nailed them and did a very sweet test. The main areas to work on are our downward transitions particularly from canter to trot, this was a bit abrupt and fell on her forehand. However, I was chuffed with a score of 30.5 with the best in our section being on 27. Always nice when I judge comments 'Lots to like about her'. (Not sure if that meant the rider had less to like or I am just being over sensitive?)

The Video (test 101)

Show jumping was a bright course which was jumping quite well. It is not unusual at Dauntsey for a local eventing celebrity to steward this year it was none other than Mark Todd manning the gate. The warm-up was pretty hard (everything else was fine) so kept my time here to a minimum and just jumped 4 jumps before going in. I can't believe how much this phase has improved this year and she went in and jumped a super round, we did have a lucky tap at fence 7 but the pole stayed up and we completed a clear round.

Show Jumping Video

So onto Cross country and I was slightly worried it was certainly the toughest course Ellie has jumped to date with a variety of boldness and technical questions. (Course pictures are available). It started nicely with 3 flowing forward questions before fence 4 a brush with a decent ditch in front in the dark under the trees jumping out in the light. Ellie paused going into the darker bit but once she understood what she was jumping powered out over the brush. A simple fence followed before a usual looking combination with a pole over a single upright log holding it on the turn to another identical fence. I wasn't sure how well she would read it and got her back to a more showjumping canter but she understood the question easily turned for the second part locked on and was away. A good hedge followed then a style before a small step up on the angle to a skinny house which she locked on and understood easily. We then turned over the ditch rails and down to the quarry with a rail in before coming up and out over a meaty corner. We had a bit of a duff stride to the corner and had to get quite a short one in meaning it was easy for her to run out, she had no intention of this and popped up and out easily. A few easy fences followed before the first water, for these we cross the river but a log was situated on the top of a bank down under the trees, she kept quite low but there was no hesitation, through the water and up and out over a big brush fence. The brush fence was big enough as we were coming up the hill it was made even bigger by the fact that I stood her off a stride meaning she had to grow pony wings, this she did with ease and made nothing of it! A couple more fences before the last water and unfortunately I made a costly mistake and took the track to the novice water meaning I had to circle turn back to the correct track jump the boat down to the water, through and up over the skinny rail (see video). Sadly this mistake cost us 2 time faults which was frustrating but actually eventually only cost us a single place.

I was delighted in such a competitive section to finish 5th on the same score as Jonelle Price. She really was an awesome pony all day and has been a mega star for me this season. Seems sad we just have the one event left finishing the season at Bicton in 3 weeks.

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Non stop

Posted: 27 Sep 2018 - Comments (0)
Having done the 5 washes from Chard the lorry is being repacked and tomorrow we are heading to Dauntsey with Ellie for a run in the BE100. We seem with the weather this year to be a bit short on outing so lovely to be going back to one of my favourite courses a really bold galloping course. Only one more run after this we finish the season at Bicton in the BE100. Been contemplating the 3 day event BE100 as never had the opportunity to do one with roads and tracks and steeplechase but in the end the £370 entry proved a step too far.

Fliss meanwhile went XC schooling yesterday and was much improved in her way of going, the end of the season has just some a little quick for her but hopefully she can go out next year all guns firing.

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Wet and windy Chard!

Posted: 25 Sep 2018 - Comments (0)
We certainly had some dramatic weather at Chard but with fabulous barn stabling and a great all weather arena we actually coped well and survived still managing an enjoyable weekend. Thursday to travel was windy and neck straps were a necessity when exercising as plastic was flying and the wind was whistling. Ellie even had to negotiate a couple of helicopters that were being tuned up (yes helicopter and equine hobbies do mix at Chard).

Thursday overnight was interesting the lorry was rocking in the wind and the rain was thundering down. It almost felt like we were rocking at sea! Luckily enough Friday itself was the nicest day of the 3. Both girls had a couple of classes to jump with a 1.05 class as well as an amateur class. For Fliss the aim of the weekend was some experimentation with bridles, bits and nosebands. On the first day I continued in the gag which was a definite improvement but she did open her mouth quite a bit so far from perfect. Anyway in the Discovery she jumped a nice double clear and just had a pole in the 1.05. I hadn't even realised she had had it and was about to argue the 4 faults however the video clearly shows the pole at the double.
Ellie meanwhile is settled in her tack and improving all the time so whilst all our outings are educational we also wanted to be competitive. She jumped a nice double clear in the Discovery and was quick enough for 4th place. In the 1.05 we just argued slightly going to fence 4 and had a pole but otherwise she is finding this level quite easy.

A solid first day. The second day can only be described one way - wet! It poured most of the day and I was glad I hadn't entered Bricky down the road as had tempted me earlier in the week. We changed tack on Fliss to a nice rubber Berris bit with a port and added a drop noseband done up loosly but fitted with a chain underneath. This so far seems to work the best I have tried, the noseband is independant of my hand and only really takes effect when she opens her mouth and the soft bit is far kinder. We dropped back a class to try the tack and she jumped double clear in the 90 open for 5th place.

In the Discovery we had a real miss at 6 after the double I just needed her a bit more in front the leg but after this she really jumped well.

Ellie jumped the Discovery and was really pinging in the warm up and fighting to her fences. My honest thought was that poles would roll but in fact she continued to ping and didn't look to touch a pole in the pouring rain making some good turns and winning the class.
The way she was jumping I was tempted and in fact entered and walked the Newcomers. I did decide against it in the end as the combinations including a treble were pretty big and with it being single phase some of the jump off was nearly 1.20. I don't think it will be long though before we jump a Newcomers.

After another wet night jumping started later on Sunday and luckily by the time we jumped the weather was clearing. The last day was a case of 4 faults each, Ellie I just slightly flattened through a distance for a pole in a competitive time and Fliss had a slightly lazy rail at fence 2 but otherwise jumped well.

Home in time to get 5 washes through the washing machine and hopefully get everything dried out for a trip to Dauntsey next weekend with Ellie for the BE100.

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