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Grid work

Posted: 4 Jan 2018 - Comments (0)
Right after a couple of emotional blogs let try and get back to the horses! With the current weather I defy anyone to say horses are great fun this time of year. So yesterday I booked an indoor school and joined some friends to do some grid work. A great way to get out the weather and do a bit of jumping with friends. We built up the grid slowly and by the end I actually felt like I was sitting up a bit more and riding her.

I have to say even I grinned at just how easy she can make things feel, when I find all the gears get her balanced and brave enough to properly ride her she is going to be amazing.

This is the grid we finished up with

For those that have Facebook we are now on Facebook doing weekly positive posts for everyone to find a few positives from the previous week as some group therapy.

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Posted: 2 Jan 2018 - Comments (0)
Thank you to everyone who commented on my post yesterday via Facebook I thought there would be a reaction to what I had written but I am overwhelmed by the responses. I think social media can very easily make everyone's life appear pretty perfect and I am pleased that a post like this opens the door for many people to admit they are struggling with similar issues, I have been surprised by how many people are affected.

For me hopefully by stating how low things have got I have drawn a very definite line in the sand that I can progress from. Horses to me is a bit of an addiction and my nature sadly is overly competitive, it is what has driven to work so hard and realistically over achieve, it is now what has really brought me down. Awful as it may sound it is not enough for me not to be competing or working towards competitive aims but this has certainly given me food for thought about how I can take the pressure off and most importantly find the fun part. It is a hobby after all and the demanding bit should stick to being work related. I know also I deeply miss the influence that Caroline Creighton had as my trainer (also known as God), however I still hear many of her pearls of wisdom and I am lucky I can refer to these.

I will keep you updated how things progress through social media and my blog. Although don't expect daily mood / tears updates. Now as the first step can someone do something about this weather!!

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Time for Honesty

Posted: 1 Jan 2018 - Comments (0)
This is a hard blog to write but I have always believed strongly that Shoestring Eventing should be a real account of the ups and downs and not a sanitised version of what I wish it would be. However hard you commit to this it is not always easy to fulfil this promise. Maybe regular readers have noticed that there have been slightly less blogs? You may have also picked up some confidence references and the blues. Well maybe it time to be totally upfront and honest? As much as I have been hiding it from the readers I guess I have also been pretending there isn't a problem. In all honesty I have had a total breakdown in confidence riding. I have always lacked a belief in my own ability yet over this year my confidence has totally plummeted to the extend soon after I had Fliss I wouldn't even canter in the school! Poor Fliss she has been an angel and never put a foot out of place yet I’m being totally pathetic. I have ridden clear round advanced eventing courses, jumped some big show jumping tracks and ridden a range of horses yet just at the moment even some days having a canter in the school can be hard?

So where has this come from? I guess I have had a lot of bad falls and still suffer from old injuries although realistically physically I'm not doing too bad, I have worked hard to be as fit and mobile as possible. I think I worry my age is against me and the lack of confidence in my ability has turned into a total lack of confidence riding. It manifests itself more with Fliss than Ellie who I have a long term trust with but even on Ellie my riding has become quite negative. It is making me depressed and poor Mum has to put up with me crying after most outings or competitions. I know I still want to ride and enjoy horses but at the moment I am finding it both hard and funless. I have always promised that Shoestring Eventing will be an honest reflection on the up’s and down’s many of us face. Maybe in the last year or so I haven’t been as true to this as I could but then it is difficult when you are trying to pretend the problem doesn’t exist! Am I talking in riddles sorry if that is the case.

My logical brain is telling me how silly I am but I don’t seem to be able to control the problem. Deep down I am very aware I still want to ride and enjoy horses but at the moment I am far from enjoying things and generally very depressed about it all. I have tried some spots psychology sessions from a highly recommended person but these have not been of any help. I strongly believe that the only person that can make this go away is me but I am struggling to find the tools and ability to improve matters.

This isn’t posted for sympathy but just awareness of what many people may be going through. I am lucky I have some really supportive people around me including Mum and some fabulous friends that have supported me hugely. I also don’t want my blogs going forwarded to be centred round this but hope I can give an update on how I am getting on once a month or so. I am sorry to readers and followers if it has impacted on Shoestring Eventing I do feel it has maybe lost some of its interest and that the content is a bit boring.

Anyway fingers crossed I can resolve this going forward and things get a bit brighter.

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Fliss's first XC

Posted: 31 Dec 2017 - Comments (0)
Yesterday we took Fliss to Bicton arena for some BE organised training with Sarah Thorne. This was to be Fliss's first experience of any cross country. It was a nice introduction with some straightforward fences in the arena that gave Fliss a taste of jumping some solid fences.

Had a really good session with Sarah and Fliss progressed really well. Sarah soon identified our main problem was Fliss trying to go like a snail (curled into herself) and that I needed a longer rein and really to encourage her nose out. You will see in the video that this improved over the session. It was also key for me not to get too far forward but shoulders up and think landing position all the time.

The video will give you a taste, yes we made a couple of mistakes but she progressed hugely. Hopefully we will organise another session at Bicton or progress to Pontispool where there is a bit more variety to play with.

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Posted: 20 Dec 2017 - Comments (0)
You can always tell when things are quieter it is because I find the blogs harder to write! I think it is partly winter blues and it is always easier when I am feeling really positive. At the moment like many people this winter time of year I am struggling with the positive elements!

At the weekend I jumped Ellie at Pendarves, just a private booking using the jumps that were up. No video as Mum was altering and picking up jumps. Played with some of the ideas from the Chris Bartle lesson. Martingale was off and tried to ride with less contact and controlling the speed with my body position. Generally I was excited by the promise showed although to start with we got quite quick and flattened a few but in time Ellie stopped relying on me and actually focused on her job more. Definitely a work in progress but worth persevering for a bit.

Meanwhile the disappointing part of the weekend was dressage with Fliss. We have progressed so much it was disappointing not to show it as she was quite tense and went very tucked in and overbent on me. She had been arsing around (technical term) in the field on Saturday and I think she may have also been a muscularly stiff as she also wasn't as loose as normal. As a competitive person I hate coming bottom as we did in the second class. However even not going well had some really positive comments from the judges who could both see the potential in Fliss. Typical horses and I need to learn not to take 'minor' setbacks so miserably!

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Winter blues!

Posted: 13 Dec 2017 - Comments (0)
Another 8 days and the evenings start pulling out. Really find this time of year a struggle and with the recent wet weather the mud is now back with a vengeance. My car is full of wet muddy coats and boots yet I still occasionally have to give people from work a lift which can be embarrassing if they are the non animal kind!!

Ellie is still out at night and I am writing this listening to the wind and rain and feeling guilty. She is a pony, has a good thick rug on, grass and good hedges I keep telling myself. I am a great believer in them spending as much time out as possible. Fliss is out by day currently and seems quite chilled with whatever the great British weather throws at her.

This weekend we have a dressage competition for Fliss which will be fun to see how we are progressing. Doing two prelim tests one in the short and one in the long arena. I am not sure cantering across the diagonal is quite in her grasp yet but knowing Fliss she will give it a good go.

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