Supported By:

SureGrow Jayne Townsend Equine Bowen Therapy Woof Wear Activate Your Seat by Maeve Sheridan Super X Country Cousin Jack

My Blog

Earlier Entries Later Entries

New Arrival

Posted: 24 Aug 2017 - Comments (0)
Can I make an introduction to the latest member of the Shoestring team - Meet Fliss :D Fliss is a 6 year old 16hh Irish Sports horse, very green but a lovely attitude and a real pop. She has come from Ireland to Wales (where I bought her) and now to Cornwall.

She arrived at lunchtime and has been a star, tucking into grub, having some time in the field and a quiet hack round the block. She needs time to develop and mature so we won't be in any hurry for the moment.

Huge thanks to Tom Browning who made the purchase so easy and Jake Jones for giving her such a good start to her education in this country.

If she is anywhere near as good as Sarnie (my other 16hh bay mare) I will be over the moon.

Comments (0)

Making the front cover

Posted: 23 Aug 2017 - Comments (1)
A picture of myself and Bobby has been used as the front cover for a thriller book "Spiral of Hooves". The author Roland Clarke is friends of Shoestring supporters Nick and Jane Perry, Nick took the picture that has been used. Not had a chance to read the book yet but it can be found on Amazon (Kindle or paperback) if anyone fancies an equine based thriller.

I have started my new fitness regime this week having rejoined the gym and aiming to do a minimum of 3 cardio sessions a week and the physio's exercises 3 to 4 times a week. I did the first batch on Monday and Tuesday I could certainly feel the ache. Operation get fit for riding has commenced!

Comments (1)

Belatedly found this post via one of your comments on Facebook. Thanks, Emma. Not sure if you've posted anything else on here about it, but I'm so glad to have a real eventer on the cover. All the best for 2018.

Chard Update

Posted: 20 Aug 2017 - Comments (0)
We have returned from Chard after a great few days away perfecting (well practicing) our show jumping. Very usefully managed a stop on the way to Nathaniel Underwood who is a master saddler and was able to check Ellie's saddle to ensure it was a good fit. I was very pleased (my pocket even more so) that as I hoped and believed the saddle was indeed fitting her very well and no adjustments were required.

Chard equestrian run regular BS shows and the show is developing on each trip with more facilities becoming available. However first and foremost it has a super ring with a great surface, the grass arena is not so good being quite slopey but even so ideal for an eventer to get some practice in.

On day 1 we jumped on the arena in the British Novice and Discovery. As there are a lot of videos I am just going to add direct links so you can click on and view if you fancy it.

We started with a nice double clear in the British Novice - link

The discovery that day was probably our biggest track to date and although at times I got a bit too much holding her and firing her at the fence she made nothing of the height. We had a mistake at 2 and then clear to the last at which point she decided she would go on her stride, I held for mine and we got nothing taking the pole out. We both have lessons to learn we just need to sometimes agree what that lesson is!

Discovery - Link

Day 2 we decided we would jump a class on the grass. The going despite the rain was good but the undulations and sheer slope of the ring meant it wasn't easy to ride at all. In fact 2 double clears for the class showed we were not the only ones finding it more difficult. I was actually really pleased how well it went and although again I got into the habit of firing and holding a bit. British Novice (grass) - Link

We then jumped a 95cm class in the arena and I think this was the worst round of the show, we had 2 down and it could have been more. We just seemed to fight each other and both felt frustrated.

95cm - Link

Day 3 was a time to reflect on the previous days and work out a strategy for improvement. I got Ellie out earlier and did a lot of work in walk loosening and relaxing her. When we did warm up I focused on being softer and trying to fight less. I was even even persuaded to sing as I was jumping. Now if anyone has ever heard me sing you will realise this had to be very low volume both for Ellie's sake and to save me any embarrassment. My song choice is not large being totally non musical and tone deaf! Well whatever it was we did jump our best round of the week with a lovely smooth double clear in the British Novice.

Day 3 British Novice - Link

The singing didn't quite do the trick in the Discovery and Ellie got keen again, it is nice that the size doesn't back her off but then again she may be a lot easier to ride if she just listened at times. Saying that it wasn't a bad round over a decent track with the second half a consistent 1.05.

Discovery Day 3 - Link

So a really enjoyable show and lots learnt and although we are progressing there is still a long way to go. Focus now changes for our first BE100 at Treborough next Saturday.

Comments (0)

Packing again

Posted: 15 Aug 2017 - Comments (0)
Packing the lorry for a few days away at Chard BS show. Even though our lorry has plenty of space by the time you have packed feed, haylage and bedding (Cousin Jacks) even just taking Ellie we are full enough. I have managed to combine a saddle check with Nathaniel Underwood on route tomorrow. I never thought Ellie would stay long enough to need a saddle check, her back checks have not thrown any saddle related issues up so I have not felt it a priority. However I have seen on several occasions what a few adjustments in the saddle fit can make a huge improvement in performance. The saddle Ellie uses was Posy's so it will be good to know if any slight adjustments are needed.

Yesterday I travelled up to see Helen Mathie the physio recommended by Russell from Cantaur Biomechanics. The news was good (I think) in that with a very specific exercise programme and a general improvement in my overall fitness she expects to see a massive improvement in my riding. As encouraging as this is it won't be a quick fix and will take months to see an effect and probably 18 months to feel the full benefit. Whilst I will be giving it my all another part of me says I'm tired and can I face another big push and commitment to get things on track. If I want to be successful and get my body physically strong to go on then I must put the effort in, just need someone to invent 28 hours days. Sadly I think it will mean the renewal of the gym subscription too, it would be ok if I enjoyed it but I don't and have little in common with a lot of the gym people. Does that sound awful?

Anyway for the moment I am looking forward to a few quiet days enjoying the jumping at Chard. I will update on my return.

Comments (0)

Weekend work

Posted: 13 Aug 2017 - Comments (0)
It was nice to have a quieter weekend, whilst it is nice to be competing or having clinics at the end of the day both Ellie and I sometimes need some recovery time. Thats not to say we haven't kept ourselves busy!

Yesterday I was asked to judge dressage for the Cury pony club camp (pictured learning my tests before judging started). I enjoy having a chance to help out and this has to be one of the friendliest pony clubs. All the ponies were turned out beautifully and everyone prepared really well after a few days of coaching. It all went smoothly with the exception of some writing issues, one pen leaked, one died and then it rained and no pen would work in the wet - a gazebo is on order for next year!! Luckily everyone got a readable sheet and hopefully some positive comments, for me in the early stages accuracy is very important and even if the pony wasn't going classically well a accurate test was rewarded.

For Ellie it wasn't a weekend off, yesterday we practiced a quite technical yet simple exercise (pictured) of jumping a cross pole equally spaced on 4 parts of a roughly 25 meter circle. This involves quick thinking of both horse and rider. It certainly was a little untidy to begin with but I was really pleased with how quickly she got the idea and we jumped a few circles each way on an even 5 strides between each fence. I will pop it again later in the week if I can to cement the lesson and see if I can get my body position better.

So tomorrow I am driving a couple of hours to see the physio that Russell Guire suggested so that will be very interesting to see if there is anything I can do to help my riding fitness and stability.

Then later in the week we are off to Chard for 3 days jumping before our first BE100 the following weekend.

Comments (0)

Equine progress and rider plans

Posted: 9 Aug 2017 - Comments (0)
Some times you just have a lesson and realise how far you have progressed. The first time I jumped Ellie she rather galloped sideways and went through the fences, with patience, educations and strength she is really suddenly starting to show enormous talent, popping around some big fences last night making them feel very easy. If only i could grow her a hand!

With Ellie going so well it is time to focus on a few of the things that are hampering my progress and riding (I am determined to still progress despite advancing years). Following my session with Russell Guire from Centaur Biomechanics I am booked in on Monday to see the physio he recommended to try (Helen Mathie) The aim is to see if we can put a programme in place to help me overcome some of the physical issues and improve my riding.

Going from the physical to the mental I am aware one of my biggest limiting factors is my own mental fragility. I lack confidence in my own ability and this not only affects my performance but at times my enjoyment of the sport. I think much of the time it is easier not to admit there is a problem than face it head on and tackle the issue. I have therefore booked a phone consultation (I suspect it will be the first of a few) with another Helen (Helen Rennie ) of Rezone Coaching to see if I can tackle the issues and find some ways of managing them better.

I guess it will make for some interesting blogs coming up and at least by telling everyone (well anyone that bothers to read this) I can't keep ignoring the problems.

Comments (0)

Page: 57 of 101