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Cross Country Schooling

Posted: 3 Jun 2017 - Comments (0)
I felt it was important that after our parting of company at Pontispool last weekend we needed to get out and ensure that Ellie had not been upset by the experience.

Fortunately Cornwall Trec Group had some cross country training organised at Porth Valley which is a lovely schooling facility. I needed have worried that Ellie had been affected by the previous weekend as she was her usual keen enthusiastic and occasionally slightly cocky self. Interesting a few good points came out of the training including the fact that when she get so quick I take my leg off whereas I need to keep it on and not just rely on my hand, it is not always easy when they are accelerating at the fence.

We did have a moment jumping into the water where a slightly awkward jump resulted in me losing my position and nearly getting a ducking (see video).

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Welcome to Cousin Jack

Posted: 2 Jun 2017 - Comments (0)
The eagle eyed amongst you may notice a new logo added to my list of supporters. I was delighted to be approached by Cousin Jack of Cornwall who manufacture and sell 'Happy Jack' chopped and dust extracted straw horse bedding.

I have been lucky enough now to have been using this for over a month as everyone is aware I will not endorse something I haven't tested properly! Previously I have used shavings but I have found this far more absorbent and from a human point of view it makes a comfier looking bed. Certainly from all the bedding I dig out of Ellie's ears I think she is loving the new mattress.

The bedding is dust extracted which is key for any good bedding and pine is added which gives it a great scent and stops it smelling unpleasant also having the advantage of preventing them eating their bed. Ellie does get try the odd mouthful but certainly isn't stuffing it.

I am delighted to be supported by a true Cornish company and appreciate the support they are giving Shoestring. 'Happy Jack is currently available in Devon and Cornwall as well as some outlets in Somerset. If you are thinking of changing your bedding or want to give something different a try I would really recommend this. If anyone has any queries please feel free to get in touch.

No for the obligatory endorsement photo courtesy of Ellie (every day)

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The Pictures

Posted: 1 Jun 2017 - Comments (0)
As promised here are the pictures of our fall at the weekend. Sadly my bought digital images are yet to arrive but I am linking you to the photographers website. You need to use the right arrow to scroll along.

The fall

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Pontispool BE90

Posted: 29 May 2017 - Comments (0)
It was great to be finally out eventing, sadly the outcome was not what I wanted after a promising start to the day.


The day was hot and sultry but luckily the forecast storms did not materialise. Pontispool is a great venue, never a dressage competition with both SJ and XC often being quite influential. Dressage was test 95 and although she was a little tenser than at home and got tight in the neck the test was not too bad at all. As you do we guessed marks and the range was 28-32, therefore we were rather gobsmacked to see a 24.3 on the scoreboard, I had two marks of 7 and the rest were 7.5 or 8. The whole section had low scores but we still just made the top quarter.






The Dressage Video
Show jumping is often influential at Pontispool, the arena is in a bowl with tradestands over looking the action which can distract horses. However there was a nice flowing course which certainly in the 90 seemed to jump well. Really pleased with Ellie's improvement in this phase and she jumped most of the round super, I just saw rather a long stride at 8 and then we got a bit quick but we were clear all the way which lets face it is what matters!












The Showjumping Video
I thought the cross country course built by Badminton course builder Eric Winter was quite testing for the level. (Course pictures here) It was a first time I had seen a triple brush at 90 level leave alone a combination of triple brushes, saying that they jumped really well as did the whole course when ridden well. There were lots of combinations generally with a turning or dog leg feel to them.





Eliie is still quite green at this level so it certainly asked questions, the ground although treated was firm enough so I had no plans to put my foot down more make it an educational round.

We started off really well the picture (right) is us over the first fence, she then skipped over the small log at 2 where the video picked us up, a turn over the house at 3 and then the first test at 4 a log over a fairly prominent ditch that was stopping a few. She never even looked and continued over the pheasant feeders on the angle and a nice brush before turning to a 90 degree combination under the trees, the light was quite a factor here and she was a bit green but honest and turned in the air jumping out smartly. We then headed to the water where she again went very green on me approaching as she couldn't see her way through, she literally walked in the water before turning out over the log and round to the log on the mound.

We had a few simple fences before the quarry where again she was hesitant not really sure where she was going and eye taken by the intermediate fence. However once into the woods she did the combination under the trees really well. We then came out to the most intense part of the course a decent hay cart to a combination of triple brushes and then down to the water.

It was at this point things went rather wrong! I am not sure exactly what happened but we just lost our stride and she chipped in and left a leg meaning she landed on her nose and only just stayed upright catapulting me out the saddle. There are some spectacular pro pictures of the sequence unfortunately they wouldn't do me a deal on the whole lot but I have ordered a few which should be available to share tomorrow.

Ellie rather than waiting to see if mother was ok disappeared back to the lorries so we had no alternative but to retire. Luckily I was able to get a lift back from the organiser to find Ellie. I am sore but my Kan Teq back protector is invaluable at times like this it offers superb protection. Although I wear an air jacket on a pony I had my lanyard a little long so didn't inflate until my first bounce! Ellie has a slightly bruised knee but is trotting up sound, we are sharing the Arc Equine to help our respective aches and pains.

Cross Country Video 2-4
So a disappointing start to the season, I am trying to work out what went wrong and what I can do to ensure it doesn't happen again. We will be getting in some cross country schooling before West Wilts in 2 weekends time. I will share the pictures tomorrow. I guess at least from here the only way is up!

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Pontispool Prep

Posted: 26 May 2017 - Comments (0)
After a hectic weekend it has been a quieter week. I am struggling a bit with the dry weather as the field is too hard to work on and the school I use has dried up and the surface is a bit uneven. So it is steady hacking or box up!

I did box up and have a jump just to keep my eye in, trying to ride her off a more forward stride. Sometimes particularly as she is a pony I make things difficult by shortening her up too much. It was looking better by the end.
So hopefully we will finally get our first run of the season on Sunday, we have quite late times so no reports until Monday although hopefully there will be a brief update on social media.

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Busy weekend

Posted: 21 May 2017 - Comments (0)
Ellie reckons she needs a week off after her busy weekend! She did work hard but that is clearly what is needed for progression!

Yesterday we went to the local BS show to jump a British Novice, it was our first outdoor (grass) show of the year and after her great jumping at Chard Ellie was definitely of the opinion she knew it all!!

She warmed up sweetly but in the ring tried to take charge and hurtle at her fences, when I did anchor her she dropped on her forehand stuck her nose in and then didn't look at the fences. 3 poles went down and I had a circle in the middle, I should say this was planned to rebalance but truthfully I just got lost. At least we finished the round better.

I was disappointed and debated jumping the same course again but wasn't sure how much benefit it would be particularly as she knew the route and she isn't quite ready yet for a Discovery single phase where some of the second part will be around 1.10. The following day there was a riding club show at the same venue and a return visit was planned although I did have a dressage lesson with Stef planned in the morning. Perhaps that would settle her down.

Anyway here is the British Novice video.

So onto today and the decision was made that we would have the lesson with Stef Eardley in the morning and then go back to the Three Waters Riding Club show and jump the 90cm.

Our lesson with Stef was rather enlightening, she quickly got the measure of Ellie and sussed that she wasn't always working with me. She could see in everything we do Ellie tries to take charge. We introduced a very simple exercise of halting and just asking her to move forward a single step then halt and relax again. This really showed she wasn't listening or always working with me. Basically we need to train her brain to work with me and listen more and not try charging off (so it's not just showjumping)

This is a 5 minute clip from our lesson, with Stef's voice in the background you will get the idea of what we were trying to achieve.

So much to Ellie's surprise rather than toddling off home to put her feet up for the rest of day she was taken back to the showground for another round of show jumping.

Whilst a slightly different course it was the same ring and builder so a good chance to improve on yesterdays issues. Well clearly the dressage lesson and the improved discipline worked wonders or perhaps she was just a bit tired, whatever it was she really listened and actually jumped a couple of super rounds, the double clear earning her 2nd place which was really pleasing.
Anyway as for Ellie's week off I have agreed that she can have a day off tomorrow!

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