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Blenheim and Bicton

Posted: 13 Sep 2016 - Comments (0)
What a few days away a great time was had even if it lacked any frillies. We set off on Wednesday with both girls dropping Ellie off with my friend Zoe before heading to Oxfordshire for an overnight stay prior to competing in the Blenheim 100 Riding Club challenge. It was good fun when everything is often individual orientated being part of a team representing Threewaters Riding Club.

We arrived at Blenheim in the team convoy, the arrival ended up going through the main Palace entrance rather than the horsebox entrance so we saw some spectacular areas of the park before exiting at a different point and re entering where we should have gone in the first place. I will point out I was not at the front!

I love Blenheim and it was great to have a chance to wander round and also catch up with my fab sponsors Equicover who also presented me with some fabulous branded clothing and hats.

Had to remember the purpose of the trip and we walked the course which consisted of 8 show jumps followed by 8 xc fences and a show jump to finish. There course was quite twisty an there was a couple of tricky lines on the cross country section. The ring was in quite an atmospheric area with trade stands, people and plenty to see around the ring.

I was 2nd to go for the team and it was great to see our first member Emma jumping a super clear round.

We went in and managed to get a good look around the ring before the bell went. We jumped the show jumping section clear and moved onto the cross country section which she attacked boldly. As time was a factor I kept my line tight and allowed her to move on in the cross country section. She jumped the offset brushes brilliantly but then the problem line caught out, the pheasant feeder to the skinny on the turn. She just never focused on the skinny and was looking everywhere else, sadly just a genuine baby mistake but one we were far from alone with. She jumped the next skinny combination brilliantly. Sadly with Vanessa also jumping clear it was an expensive and frustrating mistake.

A great experience though and generally very pleased with Posy. We left mid afternoon and headed to Bicton for stage 2 of our trip. That will be tomorrows update.

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4th September

Posted: 4 Sep 2016 - Comments (0)
Both girls have had the week off, Posy has been working quite hard and I wanted her to have a break before another busy week and I thought Ellie needed time to compute how good she had been. Both girls were hacked out today and will school tomorrow.

An exciting week ahead as on Wednesday we head to Blenheim (competing Thursday) as a member of the Threewaters Riding Club team in the Arena Eventing. Blenheim is such a lovely event and it will be great experience for Posy to compete in such a busy atmosphere.

From there we head back to Bicton for the last 3 day BS show of the year. Posy will be competed lightly as the travelling as well as Blenheim it is not fair to have a full on show. However Ellie has been registered BS abd I am hoping to do some classes with her. There is certainly a 80cm class and a 85cm Derby. I have also entered a couple of British Novices but will decide on the day if she is ready, with all classes being single phase part of the course will be around a meter and that may be a bit much for now.

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29th August

Posted: 29 Aug 2016 - Comments (0)
In typical Shoestring fashion Treborough brought highs and lows! The first time for many years that I had competed 2 on the same day and after last weekends rather poor showing from me I was determined to improve. The timings were written out as well as a few of the key phrases from Fred’s lesson in the week to remember. The times worked out well and luckily with Mum and no.1 supporters Nick and Jane helping the day ran smoothly.

Arrived early and walked the courses which I thought were both relatively straightforward and ideal for Ellie’s first run. The weather was certainly mixed and Posy got the worst of it particularly in the dressage and XC (hence no video). Posy did dressage first and produces a nice test but not spectacular for a 32.8, we are fairly consistent in this phase but it would be nice to progress the scores a little.

It was time for Ellie to then do her test and she was trail blazer in the BE80. Her first test on grass and her first time at such a busy event. I rode her carefully as tension with her means she comes behind the vertical and tucks her nose in. She tried really hard I was very pleased with her.

She really does look the part!

So it was then Posy’s turn to complete both jumping phases. I had a clear plan after our lacklustre showing at Bicton in this phase. Really got her jumping in the warm up using a lot more leg to the fence. We were first to go in the 100 so had the best of the ground which was cutting up a bit. To my mind she jumped her best 100 eventing round to date.

So a quick change and we proceeded to cross country where it was pouring down again. Took it a little steady in the wet but and really pleased as she did her first competitive drop into water. Came through the finish just 2 seconds over and pleased with another double clear. For the first time ever I heard and has been eliminated for missing fence 17!!! Clearly my technique for walking two courses at once had failed and I deprived her of a double clear and probably 10th place. Funnily enough I wasn’t as gutted as the weekend before as at least I was happier with the way I had ridden!

So no time to brood as Posy was washed off and Ellie prepared for show jumping. I honestly didn’t know what to expect as the ring was busy and I wondered if she would lose focus. Bless her the round wasn’t the best technically but she got her legs out the way and tried really hard for a clear round.

So then for Ellie it was XC time I was fairly happy if she jumped the first 2 which seemed the biggest we would be fine. Well she wobbled a bit at times and I kept her relatively steady as she still believes she can do everything at racehorse speed but she was very honest and just kept jumping giving me a fabulous ride.

It turned out she had the second best dressage of the day and without time faults she would have won! She was still a very respectable 4th so I was over the moon. The dressage judge also cheered me up by in Ellie’s test giving me an 8.5 for my riding.

So now aiming Ellie at some 90’s to finish the season meanwhile Posy is heading to Blenheim with Threewaters Riding Club to contest the 100 eventers challenge.

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26th August

Posted: 26 Aug 2016 - Comments (0)
Had an awesome few days training with Fred Scala during his Cornwall clinic. Both horses worked really well and improved no end. I have to say the star was Ellie who went from a 70 cm pony to one jumping 1m plus fences!

Main focus with her was:-
  • Keeping the hands soft
  • Trusting the rhythm
  • Not protecting her but allowing her to make a mistake
Posy we today did some more technical lines which she really enjoyed, I have to ride her very differently to Ellie.

Packing for Treborough now!

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24th August

Posted: 24 Aug 2016 - Comments (0)
Just off for two days training with Fred Scala at a clinic I have arranged in Cornwall before another hectic weekend eventing where Ellie is also making her debut. I have cheered up after last weekends less than perfect event and trying to move my focus from negatives to positives in things that I can work on.

Amazing today I have had the day off to catch up on jobs. Spent a few hours at the yard poo picking, taking water out and packing the lorry. Put my tracking app on my phone that told me I had covered over 3 miles! That must be an extra cream cake or two allowed!!

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21st August

Posted: 21 Aug 2016 - Comments (0)
I think I will describe Bicton BE100 as character building! If I had been writing this yesterday it may have been less polite and more depressed in outlook but I’m trying to turn it around!

As you probably read Bicton was a late entry due to the wonderful work they had done on the ground meaning for August there was the best possible ground conditions. However paying my entry, start fee, new gloves (when I forgot to take mine) and diesel you are looking at well over £200 to have in my eyes a disappointing day made it seem all rather pointless!!

Actually it didn’t start badly with Posy producing one of her best dressage tests to date with a 30.8 in BE107.

Show jumping was up to height for the level but well within our capabilities. She warmed up sweetly but without any real sparkle and reflecting back I needed to get her off my leg and into my hand better. We went into show jumping and were a bit backward meaning we were off our fences and had the back rail going into a double down. Too be honest 4 faults is no major disaster although the level she is show jumping at we are not getting enough clear rounds eventing. What really frustrated me was my perceived poor riding, the fact that I hadn’t done anything about getting her in front my leg and just ridden the round poorly. I’m ashamed to admit I had a bit of a meltdown / tantrum along the lines of if I can’t ride better than that then I had better not bother.

The video doesn’t look quite as bad as it felt.

Having had the tantrum and then a cry I pulled myself back together to go cross country. I worked in the warm up on getting her far more in front my leg and listening to my aids.

Just as we were walking to the start box the heavens opened and it poured with rain. You can see on the pictures and videos it really came down, she jumped the first few well with the first real and probably main question coming at 7 with a narrow up to height rail down the hill to a log droop and another narrow rail she popped these really well, over the fly fence and too the first water with a 90 degree turn to a skinny out, the water naturally slowed her so a good turn. The rain was still belting down, we continued over a double of roll tops and had a super jump over the hedge with a shallow ditch in front we then came to the new half coffin with a decent rail going in followed on two strides with a decent ditch, really pleased managed to sit her back and show jump the rail neatly and kick on over the ditch which did slightly surprise her.

We were on the run home by this point and next was a slightly innocuous blue oval jump on a slight hillock, when walking the course that morning I had seen two horses really clout it so sat up and made sure she had her hocks underneath her. The rain was at its worst and this was almost pushing her sideways, sat her back and had a bit of a backward stride did the worst thing and did nothing instead of keeping my leg on she saw it at the last moment and stopped. Entirely blame myself for not getting her attention in the weather and riding positively, came back and popped it fine second time. Through the final water and finished full of running. Typically 5 minutes later the rain stopped too!

A few clips from going out too wet to video coming home!

I guess nothing major but feel I let Posy down by not riding better or meeting the standards that I set myself. With a day to reflect on it trying to focus less on how inadequate I am and more on what I can do to improve the thing that didn’t work well. As I said at the beginning character building I suppose!! Apologies to the support crew yesterday.

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