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What happened to my eventing pony!

Posted: 15 Nov 2017 - Comments (0)
Ellie is now back in work and much happier for it. After 3 weeks off she will have 10 days predominately hacking before over the next few weeks she picks up to her winter fitness. Our first big thing this winter is the BE clinic at Pontispool over their arena eventing with Chris Battle. I am very excited about having a lesson with arguably one of the best trainers in the country. Lets hope Ellie and I are on top form. However in 3 weeks of holiday my sleek eventing pony has disappeared and a fat hairy yak has emerged! Hopefully we can make an equally quick change back before the clinic on the 5th December.

Fliss is ticking along nicely getting fitter and stronger. We do a lot of hacking and it has given me more of an appreciation of some of the fantastic places we have to ride. I often complain about living in Cornwall as we are rather cut off from the mainstream eventing community however recently we have done some beach rides, been up over Carn Brea and out to the St Agnes coast (pictured).

Looking forward this weekend to Fliss's first lesson with Stef Eardley, can't wait to see what she makes of her and how as always she can accelerate our training.

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Winter blues!

Posted: 8 Nov 2017 - Comments (0)
Winter has hardly kicked in but already feeling the blues! The changing weather and shortness of light can be pretty depressing and it seems an endless cycle of chasing my tail so I can find enough time to ride and this usually ends up being in the wet and cold. I always do the horses early so I can start work at 7 this allows me to leave at 3 and have time to ride. That is the theory anyway but sadly meetings and work mean it is often later than this. At the moment only Fliss is in work which makes things easier but with Ellie coming back at the weekend it will be even more of a juggling act.

Ellie will be pleased to start work again, she hasn't appreciated the break particularly as it has coincided with Fliss arriving at the yard and taking HER attention away. Mind you can't believe in 3 weeks how much scruffier, fatter and hairier Ellie has become, certainly doesn't look like an eventing pony anymore.

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Ticking over

Posted: 1 Nov 2017 - Comments (0)
Ellie is enjoying her holiday and very much letting her hair down! This involves great galloping, snorting and acrobatics when in the field and sleep when in the stable to recover. I think she is a bit bored but she needs time to switch off and relax. In total she will only have 3 weeks off as in winter I don't have the time to do the fitness work needed to bring her up from a long holiday. She won't lose much fitness in 3 weeks which means with a solid week of roadwork she can pretty much pick up fully again. I'm very excited that on the 5th December we have booked into an arena eventing clinic at Pontispool with team trainer Chris Bartle.

Fliss meanwhile is ticking over gently and improving in leaps and bounds. With her she needs time to muscle and learn to go correctly. Last week I moved her back to the yard at Mithian with Ellie so at least my two riding horses are in the same place. Fliss get schooled a couple of times a week but is predominately hacking. On Sunday she went on a fun ride and was superbly behaved albeit a little tired after 13 miles! I will try and get a few more pictures and video of her soon.

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Aldon BE100

Posted: 26 Oct 2017 - Comments (0)
We finished the season on a high, being fussy maybe missing out on that all important frilly was a disappointment.

Early in the week I did wonder if competing at the end of October was a step too far, with wind and rain most of the week and forecasters offering gloomy forecasts and Storm Brian rapidly approaching I did seriously think that maybe hibernation was a better option. However keen not to let my fabulous supporters down we braved the trip to Aldon.

Arriving after dark and visiting Aldon for the first time in many years it was clear how the event had grown. There were a huge number of lorries staying for the various International and 3 day classed and lots of stables. As a one nighter we were allocated G30 at the furthest end of the block. Straw was kindly provided but in huge bales with big flakes to carry. We arrived at about 7 by which time it was dark and windy, the straw was 30 stables away and I hadn't taken a wheelbarrow. I manfully clutched a big flake and carried it to the stables, I swear by the time I got there I had sadly lost 3/4 of it. You can imagine 4/5 trips doing this in the mud and I was really wondering why I had come. It was the sort of weather that Ellie went to bed in her new Falrug to keep her both warm and dry. The lovely bed I made was soon dug up anyway to find any green shoots of grass underneath - why did I bother!

A windy night in the lorry and pleased to find stables still up and Ellie unscathed. Had time to walk the 7 courses and get the course pictures before my lunchtime dressage. The ground was holding up well but definitely sticky in places.

The warm up for the national classes had held up really well but the arena on the other hand was deep in places. With Ellie being that much smaller it is far harder for her to get her little legs in and out. You cannot really get out of the mud without losing marks for accuracy so we had to make the best of it. To me it felt pretty awful but the ground crew were all quite pleased.

In fairness the conditions seemed to bring the scores quite closely together with scores generally between 30 and 38 and we were quite pleased to sit on 33.5

We moved quickly onto showjumping. Luckily the show jumping ring had stood up well to the weather and although some horses were slipping it wasn't cutting up too badly. I am lucky with Ellie as I work her at home on the field most of the time she is used to going in a variety of conditions and I don't need to put too much in the way of studs in. I try and keep them small to reduce any concussion and allow some natural slipping.

The course wasn't riding easily with plenty of faults. The warm up was very sticky and I kept the jumps relatively small but she really pinged. She went in and jumped one of her best rounds for a nice clear one of only 7 in our section. As clear rounds have been rare this year I was over the moon with this.

Unusually to fit around the 3 day classes we now had a 4 hour wait until cross country which rather confused Ellie, then again it meant she could munch hay and as her favourite thing is eating that suited her fine. I went to walk the 100 course again and make sure I had all the lines I needed as well as assess the ground to see that I was happy to run on it.

The ground was sticky in places with some take offs getting a bit cut up but it was safe ground and we happily made our way down to cross country warm up. Again kept the warm up to a minimum as with one practice jump and a cut up arena it wasn't worth wearing her out before we started.

We set out over some simple fences until we arrived at 5 the one that probably concerned me most two narrow brushes approached on a steep downhill with a curving line between them in wet ground. She slightly backed off the first which helped me ride forward and did the two really nicely. She made nothing of the first water and jumped up the step and over the roll top easily before turning to the corner and double of tables which she flew. Down over a big ditch brush (pictured above) and then into the second water which unusually had a compulsory small jump in. I had worried she may either hesitate or take a huge leap but she jumped sensibly in and out before continuing to the last main test a step on the turn to a narrow spread brush. I didn't get my line quite right and had a poor stride to the brush but she chipped in and popped it.

On the home straigh over the house and to a double of boxes she got sucked in the mud and hit the first one pecking but regained her feet to jump the second. I made sure the final fence was a safe and made a costly check and show jumped it. Costly as 1 second quiicker and we would have been 9th as it was we finished on the same score as 10th but were a place lower due to our slower time.

I was over the moon to finish the season on a confident double clear with Ellie now having jumped 4 100 courses since her upgrade all with clear rounds. She is now having a well deserved few weeks off.

I just want to say a big thank you to all my sponsors and supporters this year as they make such a difference to me. Products on display are my Woof Wear boots and Super X Country colours.

Thanks as always to Nick Perry for the photos as well as Nick and Jane for their support at the events.

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Horsequest Advantage

Posted: 18 Oct 2017 - Comments (0)
Just a quick plug for my sponsor. I have just bought Ellie a new lightweight rug from the Fal range, managed to save £30 (20%) using the discount code from Horsequest Advantage. Ellie meanwhile wants a modelling job!

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Great dressage lesson

Posted: 15 Oct 2017 - Comments (0)
Had a dressage lesson with Stef Eardley this morning. Great to have a lesson 2 weeks running and really consolidate on some of the work. Ellie went one of the best I have had her starting off really through and powering along.

We worked on the suppleness using some leg yield and then particularly on the left where she was losing her shoulder we progressed to asking for some basic half pass so that she didn't fall onto her shoulder. This engaged her further although still very much a work in progress.

We then worked on some walk canter and canter walk transitions. On the left they were much improved and once I remembered to ride and sit up, use my core and ride her into the transition we had a couple of nice ones (see video).

I am so lucky to have Stef's support this year and it has really made a huge difference to our dressage.

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