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24th May

Posted: 24 May 2016 - Comments (0)
Packing for 5 days away at Bicton for there big show jumping show. Posy is on probation after her misdemeanour at Millfield and Ellie is coming to learn about the joys of a big show and may pop a clear round. Also hoping both can get out on the cross country. The website will go quiet as poor signal at Bicton but will try and get the odd update on Facebook.

Both girls had a pop at the weekend. With Posy it was a case of getting her to listen to me after her last jumping being cross country. A few times just sitting her back and halting after the fence started to get the idea across.

Ellie jumped really well, focusing with her at the moment on taking time to jump and use herself rather than feel the need to rush to the other side. As you can see from the picture she started to really focus and listen. The main thing with her is not to rush anything she learns so quickly but I could quite easily undo all the good work by rushing things. Will do her good to chill at Bicton and relax in the busy atmosphere.

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20th May

Posted: 20 May 2016 - Comments (0)
It has been a flat out week this week with horses on the back burner. I spent Tuesday in London feeling like a fish out of water as I had a meeting at DEFRA for work. I took the opportunity in a few spare hours to have a look round some of the famous London museums. I admit be being underwhelmed a reflection on my lack of interest in anything cultural rather than the museums themselves. It is perhaps a little sad that outside horses I find very little that actually interests me!

Wednesday I represented work at an inquest related to an accident I investigated. Quite intense and not the easiest day, really brings home the consequences of health and safety failings.

I have been pretty stiff after my falls on Sunday and I am struggling quite a bit at the moment anyway with back and hip pain from old injuries. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem a magic cure.

Posy has had a few days off and Ellie has been ticking over. Had hoped to do some show jumping this weekend but the weather forecast is not good. Perhaps a quiet weekend would be no bad thing!

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Millfield BE

Posted: 16 May 2016 - Comments (0)
My first visit to Millfield and what a lovely grass roots event. Everything was beautifully manicured with dressage on the sports pitches and everything was really well thought out, stewards and volunteers were in huge numbers and very helpful.

I was feeling quite confident after our excellent run at Bicton (remember pride comes before a fall!!) And the courses at Millfield did seem a step down from those at Bicton.

Following our lesson with Andrew Lovell I tried Posy in a grackle noseband and this did seem to help certainly she warmed up for dressage really well. A gentle walk round and then we were on. As is usual I cantered round the arena whilst I waited for judge to ring her bell, I cantered round and round and round………………….. It seemed to take ages before we had the bell to start we came back to trot and Posy said she had held a good frame for long enough and dropped back on her head. The test wasn’t bad but just needed her to sit a bit more and I had lost that shape by over doing things outside the arena! I guess you live and learn. At the end of the day a 34 was no disaster however with how she was working outside it could have been better!
So a quick change and onto show jumping. Show jumping looked quite small but actually there were very few clear rounds as the undulations on the ring made it tricky to ride. She warmed up really well with our improved canter and was fabulous to and over the fences. In the ring I was very frustrated that my mistake cost us a bad pole! 1 - 3 were on a curving line down the ring and then we turned back for 4 the first double, I didn't get a clean change after 3 and faffed around with that rather than focusing on the canter and my line to the double, I then had a nothing stride with a nothing canter and we crashed through the first part. After that jumped a nice clear so very frustrating.
So cross country and I was looking forward to our round. Millfield lacks a huge space for cross country which means you turn back on yourself quite a bit and cross close to the track in the opposite direction which can upset the concentration. Well the drama started in the warm up, I had a good canter on each rein and popped a fence, she was a little behind my leg so gave her a sharp leg aid to get her in front my leg, next moment I was on the floor! It has been a long time since she has done that! Air jacket inflated so Michelin man impression as I was splat on the floor! Posy was looking like butter wouldn’t melt. Air jacket discarded and cross country jump used for clambering back up! Carefully had another canter and popped a few warm up fences before I headed for the start.

Jumped the first 3 nicely and then into the woods and out over the ditch and rail. A big improvement on Smarties attempt at crossing the ditch earlier when he had jumped in the stinky muddy bit at the bottom! Up the mound and had a look at the feature fence but popped it nicely. Over the drop and rail and then into the country over some straightforward fences. At 13 (pictured) it was a double of brushes. Not quite sure what happened whether I had a poor line or whether she just spooked slightly on take off she went slightly right which meant my foot brushed the high area of brush, this has happened before particularly at higher levels where the jumpable gap is smaller however on this occasion the brush caught hold of my foot and pushed it back and me off! Typically between the fences was a path which they had gravelled over - where did I land? Yes in the gravel I have the most lovely gravel burn across my hip and bum! Thankfully my jods are fine but my hat is a write off.

The jump judge initially told me I couldn’t carry on but once she had checked in with control we were allowed to continue. It took a couple of fences to get going again and I think I was a tad shaken up at hitting the deck twice in 10 minutes! We finished nicely though over the water and final fence. I was met by the doctor who passed me fit.
So I haven’t even looked at the scores but can imagine we were last in our section, very unfortunate but that is the typical ups and downs of eventing! Onward and upward.

Writing this the day after and can confirm some stiffness and colourful bruises!!

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13th May

Posted: 13 May 2016 - Comments (0)
Can’t believe how satisfying Ellie is to work with she progresses so quickly! Yesterday we had a dressage lesson with Andrew Lovell and she moved forward again. Andrew was very complimentary about her and we worked on her relaxing in the neck and carrying herself. This was using a wider hand to give a better contact and focusing on my balance.
The night before she also proved her jumping ability as I found her on the other side of the 5 bar gate. She gave me a fright as she wasn’t where I expected but I admit to being quietly impressed with the jumping ability!

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9th May

Posted: 9 May 2016 - Comments (0)
Yesterday we took Posy to the local show centre Colraine to keep our eye in show jumping. As the entry fees are high (£20 a class) just stuck to one class and did the 1m open which is always built at the upper end. Posy’s improvement was maintained and she jumped another super round, double clear but unplaced.
We have worked hard this winter but can’t believe how her way of going has suddenly so dramatically improved. It no longer feels so hit and miss much more in control and easier to a fence. All systems go now for Millfield next week.

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Ellie’s first dressage

Posted: 7 May 2016 - Comments (0)
Ellie had her first competitive outing with me today and her first ever dressage competition. She was a star behaving all day and trying so hard. The show was at Knightswood and run by Threewaters Riding Club, an ideal first outing.

The first test was prelim 2 a new test for me to ride and one I struggled to get my head round, probably more an issues with the over loaded (aging) brain rather than the test! We made to navigational errors and actually she made a really good attempt finishing 4th with 64%. She got a bit quick and tense after the canters and stepped back in her final halt but otherwise was pretty good.

She had an hour to reflect before we did prelim 14. This time I could ride her a little bit more but she just came slightly tight in her frame. However the test was good enough for a win in quite a low scoring class with 65%.
Delighted with our first outing even if Posy was a bit miffed when ‘her’ lorry went out without her!

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