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Busy week

Posted: 1 Sep 2018 - Comments (0)
Been a flat out week this week with work being busy and impacting on the time spent with the horses. As it earns the money to pay for them I can't complain too much! We have been experimenting with different bits for Fliss this week. I have spoken with trainers and friends knowledgable in this area and we came up with a few to try. What has initially worked best is a running gag, not a bit I would of thought about but it has helped her come up into the hand better and less on her head. We are off jumping tomorrow so will be good to see how it goes.

Meanwhile today Ellie went to do some BD at Colraine, the main object of the exercise was to complete her winter regional qualifications at Novice level. It was good to have a list 2 judge that hadn't judged Ellie before to give a good reflection on where we are currently.

The first test she was slightly turbo charged but still settled to do a nice test. I was pleased with 67%. The next test she tried even harder and we scored a very satisfying 70% easily achieving the qualifying scores we needed. What a clever pony. This is Ellie in the second test.

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Area 51 Show - BS

Posted: 27 Aug 2018 - Comments (0)
Fliss's turn to go out to play (much to Ellie's disgust). A trip to the area 51 BS show and our last outdoor show of the season. A tricky quite sloped ring as well as a change of tack meant we stepped back a level and had a pop round the British Novice.

At the moment she is in a NS Elevator, snaffle bridle with ordinary noseband and no martingale. Certainly an improvement on last time we jumped particularly considering the ring wasn't the easiest and it is only her second jumping show on grass. She is still quite green in this environment.

She jumped a nice double clear for 3rd place.
No rest for the wicked a half day off work tomorrow and both girls have their saddle checks with Elly Pitts from Optimum Performance Saddles. Making sure everything is in tip top order moving forwards as they both continue to change shape. So important that everything fits well and is comfortable.

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The win that nearly wasn't!

Posted: 26 Aug 2018 - Comments (0)
Treborough has always been a lucky event for us but I never thought after our win there at the last BE event we could repeat the feat. I think I have said before it is the most fabulous venue on Exmoor with views to the sea and the ground is always very good and copes with any weather. We had nice times which meant we could do it from Cornwall in a day.

Ellie was pleased to be out eventing again and her dressage was a little tighter than I would have liked as she was eagerly anticipating the fun bits! I rode the test in more of a safe manner focusing on being v accurate. Luckily the judge liked it and we scored a 27 which was second best of the day in our arena.

Be test 102
Treborough had live scoring and it is brilliant how quick it is. I'm not sure sometimes if it is a blessing or a curse as I went into show jumping knowing I was provisionally in the lead albeit others had show jumped and some even XC'ed but if I kept a clean sheet I would win.

Show jumping was a nice friendly track but Ellie was slightly causal, I guess we have jumped some bigger tracks recently and she definitely jumps best when challenged. Saying that she jumped a neat enough round but just dropped a hind toe on fence 6 for faults which was frustrating.
This dropped us to provisional 5th but as we advanced towards XC and others had time faults or jumping penalties we moved back up to 2nd with the leader also to go XC. The track was very similar to the course at the last event so no major concerns but equally need to be very aware not to make any silly mistakes. Also knew I needed to keep her moving to ensure we made the time.

She was amazing absolutely eating up the course and making it feel very straightforward. She is very balanced and surefooted meaning we can make up time down slopes or on turns and comes quickly back to hand when needed. She opened out nicely over the first 3 and then as we went down the track to fence 4 she was most put out that I steered her round the novice fence and not over it! She was quickly through the quarry and onto the middle element of the course where the camera picks us up. The corner is made more difficult by a dip in the ground 3 strides away but she hardly noticed this and kept on a great stride flying it. The drop to the brush she flew as she did the rails to water. The camera then picks us up again coming back up the hill and flying some straightforward fences before turning to the double of logs and back down to finish over some straightforward but large fences to finish. We popped the last and I knew we were inside the time so dropped reins and patted her coming back to trot just inside the finish. Actually we only ended up 1 second inside the time so maybe shouldn't have been quite as causal!
The horse that had been leading had time faults so we had repeated the feat and won again, you can imagine how over the moon I was with Ellie. However on checking my scores I saw I had dropped to 19th with 10 jumping penalties given to me.

I went to the secretaries and queried this penalty. I was given it for trotting over the finish. A rule has been introduced since the allowing of stop watches at lower levels to prevent competitors going round at break neck speed and then using the watch to slow down over the finish or final fences. The rule is you shouldn't deliberately slow down for this purpose. I asked to speak to the BE steward and explained that I had simply relaxed on finishing and as I was only a second inside the time it wasn't to avoid being too fast. I was given an opportunity to explain what had happened and the steward spoke to the start team and the scorers and it was decided that as it wasn't deliberate the penalties could be removed. Huge relief and big lesson learned that I need to keep travelling through the finish whatever the circumstances.

So we had our second win in the two Treborough events and so proud of Ellie. She was barely blowing or sweating when finished so certainly very fit. Hopefully have the opportunity to get another 2 or 3 runs in before the end of the season.

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Dressage for Fliss

Posted: 20 Aug 2018 - Comments (0)
Sunday there was a dressage show at Colraine with affiliated and unaffiliated classes. The original plan had been to take Ellie for the affiliated but with unaffiliated half the price and having until the end of November to get all our qualifying results we took Fliss for the unaffiliated. I actually haven't done a pure dressage competition with her since last year.

I changed her into a snaffle bridle from the Micklem and put in a simple old fashioned eggbut snaffle. Was there a dramatic change no but I think with time and strength she will be able to lengthen her frame. I do find if I tip forward that is when she goes deep and low whereas if I concentrate on holding my core (pilates coming in handy) and keeping my shoulders up she stays far more up in front of me.

We did a prelim 17A and scored a very pleasing 70% to win the test.
We then tried our first Novice test (N23). She tried so hard for me and showed some really promising work.
We scored 67% and came 2nd. I certainly don't think affiliated is out of reach in the winter.

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BS Gwelevelan

Posted: 18 Aug 2018 - Comments (0)
Fliss has had a couple of days off. Rode her today having changed her bridle and bit, just to a normal cavesson bridle and simple eggbutt snaffle, trying to simplify as much as possible. See how she goes in this as a few people have suggested the Micklem particularly might not be helping her. Off to do some straightforward dressage tests tomorrow and see how she goes.

Ellie meanwhile is being prepared for a return trip to Treborough next weekend after her fabulous win there last time. We were lucky enough to be able to jump today on grass after rain this week. Has to be one of my favourite shows at Gwelevelan which overlooks the sea with views of St Ives in the distance. Very lucky to be able to compete at such a fabulous venue. Mind you not many shows have classes stopped for the sheep to go through!

As Ellie has now jumped herself out of British Novice we are now focusing on Discovery and one day when feeling really brave may jump a Newcomers, however this is getting quite seriously big for a pony with the second half often up to 1m.20 (Around 4ft in old money).

Today we just jumped the Discovery and she was a little tappy early on over the smaller part of the course but once it got up a bit she started really jumping. Shame going into fence 7 I made a mistake and rode too forward when I should have held for another stride. We still came 6th and were faster than the winning time. Really pleased with how well she is going.

Looking forward to eventing again next weekend at Treborough.

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West Wilts BE90

Posted: 16 Aug 2018 - Comments (0)
Fliss had her second BE run and her first BE90 at West Wilts. The event is always a good one for moving up a level with fair courses, a compact layout with well prepared ground as well as SJ on a good all weather arena. It is ideal for inexperienced horses. The 90 course this time was really educational with a good range of combinations and questions, slightly more testing than I have walked recently. We travelled up on Tuesday as a 4.5hr drive is too much both ways in the day for both me and Fliss! It gave us time to let Fliss see the sights and have a relax before the competition started the next day. We did fall foul of the dressage steward who wouldn't let me work in the day before without wearing my number to identify myself (quite correct BE rules). Unfortunately West Wilts hadn't printed the following days numbers at that point but did make me up a 'special' number to warm up in!

We were first of the day in the dressage with an 8am start. Fliss warmed up nicely but the pressure of the test and the smaller movements meant she tightened up in the frame. We scored a 34 which at the time I thought may have been slightly harsh but watching the test back (taking off the rose tinted spectacles) seems very fair.

Video of test (BE95)
Show jumping was a nice course although seemed to be causing it fair share of faults. I was hopeful with the amount of show jumping we had been doing this should go well and we did have a nice clear round albeit giving the penultimate fence a fair rattle.
A quick change for cross country and we were 3rd on course. Mum managed to find a good spot and got a fair bit of cross country video. In the main she was brilliant, very bold and coped with all the questions really well. Jumped the log before the water and cantered straight in through the water, over the bank, through the sunken road and did the angles all super. Where we struggled and you will see in the video is her head carriage which is very low and made things difficult both in terms of setting her up for fences and seeing ahead. We finished clear but did go quite steady so clocked up time faults.
So totally delighted with a double clear for our first run at 90 but maybe now time to go away and do some homework before we event again. She has shown to be bold and hones, just need to teach her to jump and travel in a more uphill manner. This will be partly strength but may be helped also by tack, to start with this may be stepping back into a cavesson bridle, no martingale and a nathe bit. I will keep you up to date with progress.

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