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XC Schooling

Posted: 3 May 2017 - Comments (0)
With some significant rain over the weekend we managed to get out cross country schooling before it dries up again. We only really have one cross country course locally a nice schooling facility at Chyverton Park. I was so pleased with Ellie sometimes you need to pinch yourself to realise how much she has improved. She is very powerful and was straight and really enjoying the job. At the moment she can get cocky very easily so I have to keep the tempo down a notch and teach her not to hurtle at her fences, see a long stride and that is an excuse to take off and gallop at the fences!

She made nothing of the ditches or the water (away from video), she needs to learn control while they are small so nothing was bigger than 90, she certainly has the scope to jump bigger and is locking on to her fences. Really looking forward to Millfield now.

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29th April

Posted: 29 Apr 2017 - Comments (0)
Had a good dressage lesson with Andrew Lovell on Thursday organised by Threewaters Riding Club. We worked on transitions and medium paces. Using a slight shoulder fore positioning and a give and retake of the reins at the appropriate moments I really started to get her stepping through. For Ellie the give and retake was subtle and the hand pushed along the crest rather than towards the bit to help encourage her to lift forward and not curl down.

Today I had hoped to go show jumping as we need some competition practice before Millfield in 2 weeks. However I decided against it in the end. Gwelevelan is one of my favourite shows with views over the north cliffs and has lovely flat big rings. However with the recent very dry weather the ground is hard and I don't want to risk her getting jarred up particularly as a pony she is carrying an adult weight. I do feel sometimes I am a bit too risk adverse when so many people wouldn't think twice about doing a round but at the end of the day I can't help being over cautious and wanting to do everything in my power to keep her fit and well.

We are forecast some significant rain tomorrow and a little on Monday but then it is drying up again. Typical equestrian never happy with what the weather brings!

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Fun at Bicton

Posted: 25 Apr 2017 - Comments (0)
Back from a busy but enjoyable few days at Bicton Horse Trials. As we were not quite ready to compete it seemed a good time to volunteer at what is a relatively local event. The bonus was taking Ellie with me and working her each morning with a school on my doorstep. I think she felt she was missing out not competing. However she felt very important being stabled in the midst of some very smart 2* horses. Hopefully she did some listening and learning although knowing Ellie it was more eating and sleeping!!!

I have covered most jobs at a BE event from health and safety officer to jump judge, show jumping steward and helping in control. This time I had a new role which was live scoring.

Miranda Collet the Entries Secretary and Scorer for Bicton and as well as many other events has developed a live scoring system that is being used by a number of BE events. Last weekend alone 4 events were using the system. At Bicton the old fashioned score boards were replaced with screens giving the latest scores from all phases. Even better any riders or supporter on site or anywhere in the country can log into Eventing Scores website and see the latest scores including the provisional position in each section. Show jumping scores were added as they happened and dressage and cross country as soon as sheets had been received and checked.

My role was a further development on this system giving live cross country information. I was sat listening to the radio and literally as the jump judges radioed in with the information this was added to the website giving a live picture of where people were on the course and what penalties if any they were incurring. the picture below shows what you could have seen had you been logged in.

It certainly took a bit of concentration, listen to other conversations or let your mind wander and you would miss a few comments from the jump judges. Certainly juggling eating the delicious lunch and trying to keep the updates accurate tested my ability to multitask!

If you haven't see the Eventing Scores website do check it out as not only does it hold great live information as the event is happening but also really interesting statistics regarding dressage scoring, show jumping clears and cross country clears. Certainly having seen things from the other side I appreciate all the work that goes into it.

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Bicton Bound

Posted: 19 Apr 2017 - Comments (0)
Tomorrow I am heading for Bicton International Horse Trials which starts on Friday. Not competing this time but volunteering, I really enjoy helping at events but time and distance commitments mean it doesn't happen as often as I would like. I am helping in the scorers with the live scoring element which should be fun, if there are any failures of the system you will know why!

Ellie is coming and will be worked before or after the competition day. Signal is the only down side of Bicton, so there may not be many updates although I hope I can keep the course pictures ticking over.

Will update on my return.

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Finally out and about including a competition.

Posted: 18 Apr 2017 - Comments (0)
We made use of the long weekend which was blessed with lovely weather for a couple of outings. On Sunday we made our affiliated dressage debut together, maybe we were a tad ambitious also trying our first novices! It seems a travesty that I'm not eligible for any qualification classes at Prelim because of the level I reached with Sarnie who was the most uncooperative dressage horse ever!

We went to St Leonards which is a lovely friendly well organised yet low-key venue. We were entered in novice 24 and 34 quite similar short arena tests. I knew we would struggle a little and we did. At the moment she can get very tight in her frame and draw her head behind the verticle, whilst we had some nice work we also had elements spoilt by this, With time and strength this will improve dramatically I'm sure. Even then we scored 64% and 65% meaning she gained 5 dressage points and some mid class placings (4th and 5th)

This is the 34 test

The next day was much more fun even if Ellie wasn't keen to get out of bed! We did some jump schooling and she went really well. Quite interesting because she can be so forward I found I was shutting her down on the corners, once I lifted the hand slightly and rode her forward around the corner everything flowed more easily

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15th April

Posted: 15 Apr 2017 - Comments (0)
The weather has dried up which means currently I have the bonus of being able to use a field at the yard for some schooling. In fact typical of the British weather too many more dry days and it will be a tad on the firm side to do too much!

As I'm generally on my own I mainly do flat work but I have set up a very simple exercise (pictured) which I just incorporate into my flat work from time to time. Ellie when jumping can get a little quick so the idea is to maintain a rhythm and just pop out of the normal canter. The pole on landing helps her look at where she is landing and discourages her to land fast and flat, quite often within a flatwork session this will only be popped 2 or 3 times.

Also as can be seen in the picture I have some narrow poles that are randomly scattered around, it is amazing how this shows up lack of straightness and accuracy.

Dressage tomorrow, don't think we will be taking the BD world by storm but it will be great to be out and get an indication of how well she copes with a novice test and what the judges make of her!

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