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Mid week update

Posted: 2 May 2018 - Comments (0)
First two lovely pictures from the weekend courtesy of Rachael Bromage Photography, showing how much Ellie enjoys her work.

Fliss has had a relatively quiet 10 days as she was flu jabbed early last week and I always make sure it coincides with quiet period. Ellie has been very full of herself after last weekend and has a very inflated view of her own importance.

Busy few days coming up, a trip to Badminton on Friday although rather spoilt by no money to spend as my car has eaten it all at the garage. Be great to catch up with sponsors and supporters.

The weekend is jam packed with a couple of local jumping shows, hopefully one each for Ellie and Fliss and affiliated dressage on Sunday.

Struggling to fit in the work for both horses with work being busy and periods of no car!

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Port Eliot BE

Posted: 29 Apr 2018 - Comments (0)
I consider myself very fortunate with all the cancellations this weekend to get 2 BE runs in consecutive weeks. I have to say on Friday when it rained all day I wasn't hopeful of the event running. However the ground conditions at Port Eliot stood up amazingly well and other than it being slightly sticky in the show jumping warm up it was generally brilliant.

We were consolidating again at BE90 but I have to say this walked a top end 90 although rode well. Port Eliot is hilly, undulating and has a wooded section which all adds to the difficulty.

I always love events that I can reach without having to stable away and this is probably our most local only an hour and quarter drive away. A proper old fashioned event with a stately home and some fabulous parkland. It was an early start though as dressage was before 10 and with no time to walk the course between we were there before 8. Although the tractors were on site the lorry sailed in under its own steam.

The dressage arenas were on quite a slope that really meant that balance was key in riding the tests. I have to say I was delighted with Ellie who coped really well and did a lovely test despite the slope. I think it was a reflection how pleased I was with the test that I was actually disappointed with a score of 29.8, particularly as the majority of scores were on similar marks, 29-32 range.
We struggled a little warming up for show jumping, the warm up was quite small and busy, Ellie lost impulsion which we needed to jump out the sticky bits. Luckily once we got in the arena with more space things were easier. Ellie showed how much this phase is improving with a nice solid clear round.
Cross country was definitely not to be underestimated but equally I was very aware that a clear inside the time would make us very competitive. After Ellie going very green over the first couple of fences at Bicton I made sure we left the start in a very positive manner and she flew the first 3 nicely. We then came to a wooded section of the course with a log to a sunken road, the water and trekanner. I let her quietly pop the log and through the sunken road, we then approached the water and had to come off a small drop down to the waters edge which was in a wooded and dark area. Ellie backed off and needed a smack to keep her moving forward, we never really picked up out revs in the water and rather cat lept the little log out. She then very unusually had a good spook at the trakanner. After this we regrouped and I rode positively forwards, we came out the woods and she was fabulous the rest of the way. The upright to brush and corner to dog kennel (see video) she flew through as she did the big brush down the hill and the ditch to skinny. Sadly we were 9 seconds over the time which made the difference between finishing on the same score as the winner and our eventual 6th place.
The BE90 sections were sponsored by my supporters Woof Wear and I was delighted to win another pair of their riding socks. Big thanks to them for the support to me and sponsoring such a great event.

I am absolutely over the moon with Ellie who I couldn't have asked any more from in all 3 phases, she has become very consistent and always tries so hard. My very competitive nature means I am frustrated with the 9 seconds over the time. Yes Ellie lost a little time being green in the wooded section but equally I know I could easily have gained the time more by flowing over the fences more and not steadying looking for that perfect stride at the simple fences. Something to work on if we are lucky enough to be in such a competitive position again.

We are having a bit of a break from eventing now, none of the May events within reach I fancy so we are aiming to do the BE100 at West Wilts in the second weekend in June. In the meantime for Ellie some show jumping and some cross country schooling and hopefully we can be as competitive at 100 as we have been at 90.

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More jumping

Posted: 25 Apr 2018 - Comments (0)
I had this lovely pic from Bicton courtesy of Jay photos this week. Big thanks to Shoestring supportes Super X Country for the colours and gloves and too Woof Wear for Ellie's boots.

With Ellie I have now put in a late entry for another event this weekend at Port Eliot in Cornwall. Following that she is unlikely to run again until June when she will return to BE100 at West Wilts. So as we are planning to event this weekend I wanted to pop some show jumps again to make sure she was no longer in XC mode. Took her to the lovely facility at Pendarves and started by trotting a few fences giving her time to really use herself. Then we quietly popped a upright with v rails on at about 1.10 in the end. Have to say she felt fantastic. I'm sure Port Eliot will be quite testing as SJ is on grass and the going looking at the forecast is likely to be soft.

We then popped a bit of a course

She won't now jump again til the competition although we have a dressage lesson tomorrow night.

Fliss had a jump with Mel Hennah last night and was amazing. No video as was pretty wet but jumped a decent course of spooky fences like it was nothing. Delighted how she is progressing, hoping to take her show jumping again on Sunday.

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Pinned Post - Feedback needed

Posted: 25 Apr 2018 - Comments (0)
Hi all,

I really appreciate everyone that reads and contributes to Shoestring Eventing. Please could you complete this short survey so I can have some constructive feedback on how I am doing? I would like to know what you like, dislike and ideas for improvement. Compliments, suggestions and criticisms equally welcome. It can be completed in 2-3 minutes and will be open for 10 days.


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Bicton BE

Posted: 22 Apr 2018 - Comments (0)
For those of you that follow Shoestring you know it has been a tough winter. To come out at our first BE of the season and perform so strongly in all 3 phases was extremely heartening. The old gremlins keep saying it was only BE90 and I should be doing more but equally the logic in me says that is unfair and it is far better to focus on rebuilding solid foundations than pushing things too quickly.

Bicton again produced a fabulous event and it was great to see so many spectators enjoying the brilliant sport. The ground was pretty much spot on, courses were well built and just right for the early season and the organisation flawless. We had the luxury of late times so a leisurely start arriving on site at lunchtime.

Ellie was clearly pleased to be at a proper party again. It is always hard to gauge warm up time for dressage, usually about 20 minutes is spot on but with it being the first party a little more may have benefitted her. She got quite forward, tight and choppy. I focused during the warm up on transitions and a fair bit of canter trying to keep a soft hand to allow her to relax. The test was not our best, the downward transitions were a little abrupt and we lost the rhythm at times but on the positive she is so much less tight in the neck than last year. Luckily the judge liked the test and gave us what felt like quite a generous 26 which left us in 4th place after dressage.
Show jumping has been the phase I have found the biggest struggle with Ellie but certainly since our lessons with Austin O'Connor there has been some improvement. The key is for me not to interfere too much and allow her to do the jumping. I managed fairly well in the early part of the course but as a clear round became more likely I felt myself interfering more! Luckily Ellie coped and pulled her toes up jumping a lovely clear.
Cross country was a super course enough questions and solidly built not to be taken lightly but equally inviting and when ridden well giving a super feel. Ellie has not managed to do any cross country schooling on grass and she nearly caught me out being very green at the first couple of fences particularly 2 which you can see on the video! I'm not sure why as they were quite inviting but it certainly woke us both up. After fence 2 she gave me a super feel, being in a competitive position I wanted to ensure we came home inside the time so pushed on forward in a nice rhythm. She jumped into the woods well and made short work of the double of houses before coming out the woods and down the steps to the skinny log that she quickly locked on to. Some plain fences around the back were eaten up and she certainly went from the early a little green and spooky to taking them on with a real gusto and enjoyment. She remained responsive though and from in the past riding her in some strong bits I now take her cross country in the same snaffle she does dressage in.

The main combination was at 12 a double of brush fences but having come through the gateway you had to be clear on the line particularly as the ground sloped away, it was cleverly sited. Ellie jumped it very well on a nice even 4 strides. We then approached the water via a hay cart, I was aware as we approached the water the horse in front of me had just been eliminated at the corner coming out and although clear of the course I wondered if it would take Ellie's eye. I needn't have worried she flew through and out of the corner very easily.
We finished 6 seconds inside the time to finish on what I think is a PB eventing score of 26. This was good enough for 2nd place in a big 40 entry section so I was very chuffed with this. I certainly needn't have worried about Ellie's fitness despite it being quite a hilly course she was barely puffing as she finished. A quick wash off and she was allowed a pick of grass which for a food orientated pony was clearly the highlight of her day.

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BE at last - Bicton tomorrow

Posted: 20 Apr 2018 - Comments (0)
Finallywe kick off our season tomorrow at one of the nicest and best organised events on the circuit Biction Horse Trials. As a bonus it is relatively local a mere 2 and a bit hours away so no overnight stabling needed. We have some very leisurely times not even dressaging until after 3 and going cross country nearer 6.

Do I feel the most prepared definitely not! I had been slightly berating myself for being wet and entering the 90 rather than kicking on as we finished the season at 100 but it has been for the best. Not only does it mean I can enjoy it rather than test the confidence, the fact we haven't jumped on grass or done anything much in the way of fitness work matters less. It has certainly been less than ideal that with the touch of cellulitis Ellie has had a very quiet 10 days and hasn't been jumped for a couple of weeks. I had hoped to jump her tonight in the field at home but sadly the ground wasn't dry enough. Time to review my videos of the lessons with Austin and focus on what I learnt.

Be lovely to catch up with friends again and please do come and say hi if you see us there.

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