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Posted: 22 May 2018 - Comments (0)
Sorry seem to be a bit repetitive blog wise at the moment but I won't complain as another week that I havebeen really pleased with the girls.

Saturday we just did some training at a friends and the main thing I wanted was for Fliss to jump the water trays she had. Warmed up over a cross pole and then just trotted over a low upright with a water tray underneath it that I had shown her first. Certainly gave it a bit of air but again her attitude and boldness was spot on.

Sunday we took Ellie showjumping to Colraine, sadly entries were very poor so although I could impress you by saying we had a win and a 2nd place there was no more than 3 in a class so no prize money. Great however to get some more good jumping rounds under our belt. We did the 95cm amateur which had a separate jump off and she jumped a super double clear. In the Discovery she just rolled a pole when we got a bit quick but jumped another good round.

95cm First round

Fliss meanwhile had a weekend off jumping but instead had a dressage lesson with sponsor Stef Eardley. She is learning so quickly and each time her frame is improving with slightly less curl and tucking her nose in. We had a play with some sideways, shoulder in and mediums and she picks things up quickly. In fact she must struggled with the balance in the canter trot canter transitions particularly on the right rein.

A selection from the lesson.

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Update including the rest of the gang

Posted: 19 May 2018 - Comments (0)
I thought it was time for a quick update on the rest of the Shoestring gang. Kensa is 2 years old next month and going through a bit of a gangly stage. She is almost impossible to picture as she always wants to be with you or have the face in the camera rather than posing she needs some lessons from her mother. I did manage this quick shot tonight, her summer coat is finally through and looking fabulous. She is still out with buddy Tommy and will remain a field ornament for another 18 months.

Sarnie is looking really well and is based with Mel Hennah at Trenerth Stud, sadly this year she had a still born colt foal. Thankfully she has mentally coped really well and is looking fantastic so hopefully she can have another chance. We see her most weeks and she usually saunters up accepts her apples and carrots and then is far more interested ion the grass than spending any time with us.

This week Ellie and Fliss have been relatively quiet hopefully allowing them to reflect on how amazing they were at Chard! A dressage lesson for Fliss tomorrow with sponsor Stef Eardley and maybe some jumping with Ellie if it fits in.

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Chard BS Show

Posted: 15 May 2018 - Comments (0)
Well a really positive blog post from me after a very successful few days away show jumping. Confidence is definitely improving but equally my negative gremlins keep telling me something will go wrong soon as I can't be this 'lucky' for long. I am working at exterminating the gremlins but they are quite stubborn!

What can I say I am not going to take you through a blow by blow of each day and each round as I will bore you all very quickly. I will try and give a bit of an overview and put the videos up that you can choose which you want to watch. Perhaps it is easiest if I do each horse in turn.

Ellie Lets face it much as I adore Ellie, due to her size I have never found show jumping her the easiest and been frustrated by my inability to get the best out of her. Certainly the lessons we have had with Austin really stepped us forward and it has also given me a new warm up regime for shows. I now do most of my warm up jumps out of trot to give her the time to really use herself and think about what she is doing. A couple of bigger jumps from a very quiet canter and in we go. Well we both hit the right note for this show as we started with a really good double clear in the British Novice, I hoped it may be good enough for some money but it was actually good enough to win! Ellie's first win at BS, she followed this up with a super double clear in the Discovery for a 4th place rosette. As you can imagine I was over the moon and suggested that it may be wise to finish at that point.

To follow it up on day 2 with nearly exactly the same results totally exceeded my expectations! She won the British Novice with another good jump off section, tight turns but not losing the balance by going too fast and a super double clear to come 6th in the Discovery. The final day I was convinced our luck would turn and although to a certain extent it did she still jumped super well, we had the fastest time in the British Novice but just missed out on the hatrick with a slight miss to the last and tipped the rail. I only jumped one class on the last day as although Ellie was feeling fabulous I didn't want to over do her.

So Ellie competed in 5 classes and came away with a rosette in each, 2 wins and 4 double clears I really could not have asked for more. Superstar pony.

Day 1 Ellie British Novice - Winner
Day 1 Ellie Discovery - 4th
Day 2 Ellie British Novice - Winner
Day 2 Ellie Discovery - 6th
Day 3 Ellie British Novice - 4ftJO section 5th

Fliss This was Fliss's first away show and it seems hard to believe it was only just over 6 weeks ago we did our first jumping show with a 75cm class. Fliss is very careful and probably could be a bit of a worrier so I was keen not to push things too quickly with her. The chance though to do some classes over a few days was really valuable and she has come on no end for the experience. On the first day we just jumped the British Novice giving her a chance to look at the fences which are quite spooky. She is still green at times but tries so hard, she jumped a super round and just made one mistake where we were on a bit of a half stride otherwise she really gave the fences some air. Little did I know that would be her only fence down!

On day 2 she jumped a great double clear in the British Novice and then we braved our first Discovery. As it was single phase some of the jump off fences were a good 1m05, so by far the biggest track we had jumped together. She came out and jumped it like a pro never in any danger of having a pole down, was totally delighted with her and the class she is showing.

On the final day she was mentally tired and with nothing to prove we just popped round the British Novice where she jumped another super clear. Actually that track caused a fair few poles to fly and she ended up with her own frilly with a 4th place the slowest of the double clears. Ellie may have had the majority of the rosettes but I was equally pleased with how Fliss is progressing. Couldn't have asked for more from the weekend, 7 double clears and 6 frilly's from 9 classes.

Day 1 Fliss British Novice
Day 2 Fliss British Novice
Day 2 Fliss Discovery
Day 3 Fliss British Novice

Ellie certainly has bragging rights at the moment but Fliss is pushing her for the limelight.

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Chard Bound

Posted: 10 May 2018 - Comments (0)
I am off today with both girls to Chard showground for 3 days of show jumping. Lovely venue and area with great jumping and lovely surfaces. Really pleased that Fliss is ready to take and should come on nicely for the few days of competition. Hope we may even be ready to jump a Discovery but equally classes are usually well up to height and with it being single phase means a Discovery can have some 1.10 size fences. Will see how the nerves are and not push too quickly.

Updates on here will depend on signal but be sure there will be a big update on my return if nothing while we are away.

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Jam packed weekend

Posted: 7 May 2018 - Comments (0)
Instead of taking it easy after shooting up to Badminton on Friday we managed a competition each day of the weekend. Luckily all local and quite a variety to keep the interest.

Saturday we took Ellie to Gwinear show, a lovely local agricultural show that has reintroduced BS this year. We were efficiently towed in but actually the going wasn't bad mildly sticky at worst. The course considering the going and slope was technical enough but considering Ellie's experience well within the comfort zone. Sadly I just didn't quite ride it well enough and we had 2 poles down. The wonders of a sponsored show and most people being in the open section we still came home with a 4th place and a little profit on our entry fee!
The confidence is perhaps still a bit delicate as poor mum had to put up with a 'I can't ride' breakdown and tears. Things have improved hugely but I do need to put the not so good days behind me rather than beating myself up about things.

Sunday was dressage and Ellie was reckoning she was being over worked! We were entered in our first long arena tests Novice 22 and the tricky 39. She did a reasonable test in 22 although slightly marred by me starting a canter transition where I should have been doing a walk one! The judge wasn't greatly impressed and we scored 64% which is quite a way behind recent scores. The comments though were very fair and there were some smart combinations on the day,

Novice 39 was a tough test and Ellie tried really hard. A couple of downward canter transitions were a bit behind the bit and late but otherwise she really did a nice test. Very pleased with an improved mark of 67.5% and 4th place in a strong class.

Lastly Monday and it was another BS show this time at Colraine on a surface. Ellie was allowed a day with her feet up at home and Fliss had a turn to shine. This was only her second BS show and although still a little green she felt totally amazing.

She jumped clear in both classes but sadly we picked up time penalties in both so no jump offs. I wasn't surprised when I missed a line in the British Novice but thought I may have been a bit quicker in the 95. However she didn't touch a pole and is learning so quickly I was delighted. In the British Novice - I was nearly jumped off a couple of times and sadly mum thought we finished 3 fences from the end so switched off the video.
The 95 was the same track
Gearing up now for a trip with both to Chard showground for some more BS next weekend.

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Badminton Trip

Posted: 4 May 2018 - Comments (0)
Lovely to pop up to Badminton and huge thanks to supporters Horsequest Advantage for the tickets. An early 4.30 start to get the horses done and beat the traffic saw us arrive about 8.30. Sadly the ability ro spend any money on my small shopping list disappeared during the week as I had a rather large car repair bill followed by notification of a speeding fine. I had hoped to source some new stirrups but for the moment I will have to keep swapping them between saddles!

It was great to meet some Shoestring supporters and sponsors in the flesh finally. Becci has done an amazing job developing Super X Country and had a fabulous stand at the show exhibiting the fabulous range of equestrian clothing, it is so much more now than cross country colours and it has been exciting to watch it grow. I am extremely privileged to have been part of the team since the early days.

The team at Horsequest Advantage were also busy with loads of interest in their offers. Great to meet the team and Smartie and Rebel were definitely trying to upstage Teddy (the shetland) and become an honorary A team member!

The sum total of my purchases stretched to some more studs from Supastuds and some Quick Knot clips From Becci at Super X Country to try and see if they speed up the plaiting process I have heard some good things about them. I also caught up with Wendy at Kan Teq. I have for a few years worn a Kan Teq back protector, I am not sponsored by the company but after much research I would not use anything else due to the unique material used to make the protectors. This naturally dissipates the impact better and gives more protection in the event of a fall. I would recommend them.

Finally managed a quick course walk. It is great to get a perspective of the size of the jumps although I really must make the effort to get up there one day on a Sunday so I can actually walk the lines and really get a feel for the course and how the lines could ride.

Bed for me now as pretty knackered but very glad I made the effort.

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