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Great weekend

Posted: 6 Aug 2017 - Comments (0)
Just back from a fun and educational few days away with Ellie. On Friday we headed to Bicton for some show jumping. An early start to get there for the first class, I'm afraid the commitment did not stretch to getting there in time to walk the course but we arrived with plenty of time to learn it and warm up!

It was a nice track and Ellie jumped a super round for a nice double clear. Although we are not ready for speedy jump offs yet an angled jump and some tighter turns meant Ellie gained her first placing BS at one of the most difficult places to get placed.

She made the Discovery feel easy but we did make 2 mistakes and actually both were quite similar when we lost the revs round the corner and then I flattened her into the next fences. I have to say at times she gave me some of the best feel round the course to date. If you are looking at the video just see the air she gives number 7!

I'm really pleased with how we are progressing in this phase and the scope she is showing.

Instead of returning home we continued on up the road towards Shepton Mallet where a very kind Shoestring follower was letting us use their stable for the night (Thanks Julia). Sadly the journey that should have taken about an hour and a half took over 3 as traffic was horrendous! The next day we had a cross country clinic booked at Rosamond Green with Jo May. Jo is a BE trainer and I found her style suited me very well being fairly straightforward and no nonsense. We went very much looking to move from BE90 to BE100 level and I think over the course of the clinic we really showed this was possible.

Early in the clinic we made some mistakes this was more from my lack of positivity in riding her, you can see in the video the skinny to the step complex went wrong when I missed my stride over the first part. However from this point on we both progressed throughout the session jumping a variety of ditches, into water, steps, sunken roads and every type of fence you can imagine. The video shows the progress we made, still lots to work on but going in the right direction.

Really felt we have taken big steps forward over the weekend and again excited by how easy Ellie can make it feel.

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Kensa etc....

Posted: 3 Aug 2017 - Comments (0)
to share another Kensa picture, seems whenever I take pictures the light is a bit off but you get the idea.

Just packing up for the few days away at Bicton and Rosamond Green look forward to reporting further after the weekend. Packing for humans, horse and dogs is never straightforward and although many essentials are in the lorry something always seems to be forgotten. Thankfully the great eventing community are usually happy to help out.

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Posted: 1 Aug 2017 - Comments (0)
It was nice to have a quiet weekend for once and probably did us all good to take the foot off the pedal. It hadn't been the idea as there was show jumping on locally Saturday and Sunday. Sadly Saturday fell victim to the weather and Sunday fell victim to Ellie removing a shoe! The day wasn't wasted fields were poo picked within an inch of their lives and thistles pulled, at home the garden was mowed and I even did some housework!

So Ellie is now shod and we are planning a trip to Rosamond Green on Saturday for some cross country training with BE trainer Jo May. I haven't had a lesson with her before and looking forward to it, will be decision time as to whether we upgrade to BE100 level next time out. It may seem silly to some to be driving 4 hours for a lesson but that is the logistical problem of being based in Cornwall. I have arranged a stable and taken Friday off so we can break the journey and as there is show jumping at Bicton seems sill not to stop on route!

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Biomechanics Clinic

Posted: 29 Jul 2017 - Comments (0)
On Thursday I organised a Biomechanics clinic with Russel Guire from Centaur Biomechanics whio is one of the top people in his field working with the British Equestrian Teams. Considering my past injuries and wonkiness I have always been keen to have a session so the only way to do so was organise a clinic in Cornwall. I had no shortage of people keen to take part.

I watched a few sessions and couldn't help but be extremely impressed how Russel helped a wide variety of riders of different ages and abilities. He started by assessing each rider on a centre line from both directions and then riding a circle in each direction around him while recording the footage on a slow motion camera. When this was done riders came back to the 'office' as pictured to review the footage. Here he could point out any positional issues and discuss reasons it may be happening. He then asked riders to do a centre lie in walk with their eyes closed and it was amazing without the correction ability of the eyes the horses quickly veared in the direction their riders body was taking them.

What impressed me most was not only could he recognise the problems but he could put a plan in with the riders to help correct the issues, this was a variety of exercises or simple corrections that quickly made huge differences in the horses way of going. The feedback from all the riders was very positive.

Typically my session was not as straightforward he quickly identified from the video that one side of my pelvis / hip was doing more work than the other giving almost a rolling motion.
I told him about my old injuries and accidents that mean my hip and ankle are pinned and that also I ride in low grade pain most of the time. This also precludes we from riding some big moving horses. To compensate I ride with quite unlevel stirrups up to 3 holes different.

He also assessed me over a jump and although not as clear the tendency was the same.

In some ways he was complimentary that my riding ability made me cover up the problems very well but I should not be riding with such uneven stirrups and that in itself is causing me problems and is likely to cause more problems. If I had a significant leg length difference then I can ride slightly uneven but mine is not that significant therefore by doing so it may not be helping me physically. However at this time he was unwilling to give me exercises to correct until my physical disability and how much it can be corrected is understood. He has referred me to a physio near Taunton to assess this, the physio in question regularly works with all types of riders including para riders and can assess what can be improved so maybe working with them both we can improve things. It would need a lot of additional strength and conditioning work as well.

I went away feeling slightly deflated on one hand but very positive on another as the possibility is there that I can improve another level. However to do that it sounds like a lot of hard work ahead. My biggest regret is that I didn't meet Russel and the people he has access to 5 or 6 years ago.

Watch this space for progress!

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Launceston BE90

Posted: 26 Jul 2017 - Comments (0)
What a pleasure to compete at an event on my doorstep and in Cornwall. We stayed the night before with friends who are literally 2 minutes away and actually could walk the course the day before and have a leisurely preparation. The weather gods also played there part and plenty of rain ensured great going.

Dressage was one of our better tests and a big improvement on Bicton, we were given a great mark too of 28.5 which left us 7th best after dressage.
Show jumping is the area that frustrates me most as I feel my mistakes are letting her down. We jumped a nice round in not the easiest ring but after no.8 I hooked for an extra stride instead of letting her bowl on and gave her no chance at the related upright. Again another expensive mistake as far as a placing is concerned.
Cross country was a super course (see course pics) with a few interesting questions including an early steps combination, some river crossings, a decent trakanner and a spooky combination. Ellie really showed how she has come on and ate the cross country up, took time to look at the steps but jumped safely off (it is sometimes at drops that you miss that bit extra in front the saddle that a bigger horse would have), through the combinations boldly and no hesitation at the river crossing. We finished just 3 seconds over the time and had an impressive finishing score of 33.7 annoyingly for a competitive person leaving us outside the placings in 12th.
Even better we were back at our friends by lunchtime for Ellie to put her feet up and we went to the local pub for a lovely carvery! I could get used to this.

Now debating moving up to 100 at our next outing.

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The rain

Posted: 19 Jul 2017 - Comments (0)
Good news we have been having some rain so a late entry has gone in for Launceston Horse Trials on Sunday, very exciting to actually be competing in Cornwall a mere hour and a bit up the road.

For us as yet the rain has been steady nothing like the flash flooding in Coverack. Most of you will have seen or heard about it on the news and indeed I got called out in a volunteer role for Cornwall Council to go and open a rest shelter for those displaced by the flooding. In the end it was an anticlimax as the strong local community rallied round and found accommodation and support for all those in need. Whilst local council's often get a poor press I do feel that Cornwall Council emergency response was excellent.

So flash floods allowing very much looking forward to eventing this weekend.

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