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BS Colraine

Posted: 18 Apr 2016 - Comments (0)
Yesterday went show jumping at Colraine. In my opinion jumped one of our best rounds in a very up to height 1m class. Things are really starting to come together.
We were unplaced but that wasn’t important as I was so pleased how she went. Now gearing up for the BE100 at Bicton next Sunday.

Today (well after work) has been spent trying to make a 2 minute video as an application for the Blue Chip All Star Academy, nothing worse than talking at a camera particularly when the prop Posy was more interested in putting me off. There will be a lot of applicants but sounds fun so fingers crossed.

If I have any success I will of course let you know.

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15th April

Posted: 15 Apr 2016 - Comments (0)
May be news of a new four legged friend soon so fingers crossed again please. Posy would certainly like someone to share the workload.

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Posted: 10 Apr 2016 - Comments (0)
Finally yesterday we got our first run of the season and for once the weather gods were on our side! We travelled up on Friday and took the opportunity of getting a few things sorted on route. We dropped in at Nathaniel Underwood’s (Master Saddler) to get my saddle checked. It needed a slight adjustment which had an immediate effect. I only wish perhaps when Sarnie was running I had learnt what a difference a great saddler can make to performance. Poor Posy thought that was her outing for the day but instead of returning home we continued on and took another quick detour for a lesson with Fred Scala to tune up on what we had learnt at boot camp a few weeks ago.

We continued on much the same theme getting her to use herself behind on the flat and power through. Jumping wise focusing on the canter and the quality to the fence with me sitting square and looking for my fence. (So simple really!!)

With Larkhill so close to Fred’s base I was really pleased he was going to pop over on the day and help us with the warms ups.

We then had the last short hop of the journey to our stabling. We were all ready for feet up by this point. Luckily with plenty of time between dressage and jumping there was no need to walk any courses the night before.

I woke up in the night and could hear the rain. Visions of the abandonment at Howick sprung to mind and when the alarm woke me at 6.30 the first check was to the phone. No messages so stables cleaned, horse polished and off to Larkhill we went.

For anyone that has never been the event is held in the middle of the plains probably a good mile off the road. If your horse gets loose there is the potential for it to go many miles before it is found, there is also the added fun of on occasions soldiers or tanks manoeuvring past the dressage arenas!

We arrived and I took Posy in hand for a mooch and wandered up to the dressage arenas. At this point the famous Larkhill microclimate was offering unusual weather (warm and sunny!). The ground was amazing, nice bit of give but not cutting up at all. In fact so good that for dressage I didn’t bother with studs.

The sections at Larkhill were jam packed with top riders and many lovely horses. The 3 tests that went in front of us would have been well placed at Elementary level and Posy comparatively is still quite novice in her outline which the judge commented on. We warmed up with Fred’s help and did a lot of stretching and getting her to carry herself through transitions. The work is looking far more long term and correct for her development rather than the habit I had got into of holding her up throughout the work.

I was pleased with the score of 33 but in the very competitive section we were comfortably bottom half.
We had over 3 hours to wait until show jumping and actually to be a bit more as the arena ran quite late. Had a walk round the course with Fred and thought it asked a good variety of questions (see course pictures) with some accuracy combinations, turning questions, sunken road and steps. Remembering this is only her 2nd run at 100 level.

Sadly the weather changed and we had some persistent rain and it became cold. The ground did start to cut up a little show jumping although it still held remarkably well. The course change happened about 20 horses before me so most jumps had been moved onto fresh ground. Luckily by the time I got on again it had stopped raining.

Warmed up again with Fred focusing on the quality and the straightness of the canter. It is easy enough when you are in a nice flat arena (or maybe not) but stick me on a slope like at Larkhill and I was having quite a few issues seeing any sort of stride down the hill. We worked through it and certainly it got a lot better.

The round was a long way from perfect but I think it is improving particularly considering the ring is one of the sloppiest around. Few horses found it easy and we (well I) made one mistake. Didn’t get a change after 6 and instead of quickly correcting carried on unbalanced turned down the hill and tipped it behind. Came out very frustrated with myself.
A quick change and cross country time. Worked in the warm up on really getting her forward and then coming back (coming back never been a strong point). Fred was keen that I really got her moving forward cross country.

Started steadily but positively over the first couple before turning down the hill to a combination of two offset hay houses which had caused a bit of difficulty earlier in the day. Didn’t sit her up as much as I would like but kept a great line and sailed easily through, saw a nice stride over the narrow brush up the hill before we came to the the next question a sunken road at 6. There was a lot to look at with different elements for different sections and she propped slightly to the drop fiddled through and then popped out adding a stride to the brush out. Lovely jump over the spread at 7 before heading down the hill and over the brush to drop. Jumped down off this very well and left me struggling to sit her up for step up to roll top, the change to an uphill slope did the trick but we kept the power to pop up nicely and turn to the brush at c. The steeplechase fence up the hill she powered over and then set up for the corner to box which she made feel very easy. Then down the hill to the water, really kept leg wrapped on as per instructions got close to a but popped nicely ad then carried on through the water and over the skinny. Couple of lovely jumps over the next few simple fences and really moving on by now. Final combination pictured below was a turning combination which she locked on and understood, still plenty of running to power on up the hill and take a long stride to the last fence. Certainly no need to worry about her fitness. In a very competitive section we finished on a respectable score of 42.6 which left us middling. Very pleased with how things went and showing huge promise for the future.

Thanks as always to Nick and Jane Perry for the support, grooming duties and photos. Also huge thank you to Fred Scala for coming and giving me a hand.

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7th April

Posted: 7 Apr 2016 - Comments (0)
Fingers crossed it is 3rd time lucky as we head off to Larkhill tomorrow. A busy day with a saddle check at Nathaniel Underwood’s and then a lesson with Fred Scala before we get to our stabling. Hoping for friendlier weather!

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Howick Update

Posted: 3 Apr 2016 - Comments (0)
My Howick experience can be summarized as follows!

  • Friday got up ridiculously early to travel up to Chepstow to miss holiday traffic returning after Easter
  • Settled Posy in at our stabling and rode in school with distant view of event (pic)
  • Toddled down to event drove easily onto lorry park ground appeared v good
  • Walked courses all lovely, took pics and impressed with xc ground
  • BE100 course asked questions for her stage but was very positive and educational
  • Headed back to stables Posy plaited, polished and bribed ready for an early start.
  • Early to bed with 5am alarm call set
  • Throughout the night hear gentle steady rain - mild panic sets in. Sleep less than usual.
  • Alarm goes off check phone and website no cancellations. Still steady light rain though.
  • Take dogs for a pee across fields and ground feels ok still - perhaps the rain has not been that significant.
  • Wake Posy (see pic below)
  • Tidy yard, muck out stable, change ready for 830 dressage and leave yard just before 7.
  • Rain still persistent area looking wet - sure this wasn’t forecast ?!
  • Humans feeling weather Gods against us - dogs asleep unconcerned, Posy raring to go.
  • 5 minutes drive to event, just as approaching lorry driving towards us with lady signalling abandoned - do we laugh, cry or have a tantrum
  • Turn into gate to see lorries being pulled off and organisers just made decision to cancel, text also bleeps through (very efficient)
  • Ring Shoestring supporters Nick and Jane who have just reached Motorway (they had an even earlier alarm) and tell them to turn round.
  • Stop in a layby in Chepstow and discuss plan b. Lets face it over 4 hours from home, fit and plaited horse and no party to play at.
  • Wales and West have a BS show which is 6 miles away. Too early to ring so head there.
  • Find entries full and not taking any in the arenas on the day - still no party.
  • Take plaits out of Posy who is very excited to be finally at a show, put ramp up to her shock and head home defeated!
  • Can’t head home lorry stuck - find someone with a tractor and get towed off (very helpful)
  • Get lost and find ourselves heading for Cardiff rather than Bristol
  • Have a nervous breakdown
  • Head back over Severn Bridge and find on the other side a lovely day. Literally 20 miles away it is dry and sunny, how unfair - sulk.
  • Drive into Cornwall and stop and have a lesson with trainer Zoe (only an hour from home)
  • Posy very confused and grumpy not going well (don’t blame her we both felt the same)
  • Oh also in Cornwall is raining wet and miserable.
  • Arrived home at teatime, still had lorry to unpack and clean and paid out probably £150 in fuel for a drive to Wales and back
  • Go home go to bed!!
Whilst the above is a bit tongue in cheek it was rather a wash out of a weekend. Nothing worse than arriving at an event to find it cancelled. Every sympathy to the organisers who with the weather could have done little else. Also how fabulous of the organisers to donate all the unwanted food to the Salvation Army in Bristol, great to know something good came out of all their efforts.

Whilst I am delighted for Goring it was a little galling to hear they had perfect ground and the warmest day of the year so far. Hoping that some more of that weather can be reserved for Larkhill next week and we finally get our season going!

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31 March

Posted: 31 Mar 2016 - Comments (0)
Packing underway for an early start to Howick tomorrow in order to miss returning holiday traffic. Looks like it will be early starts 2 days on the trot with an 8.36 dressage and finished shortly after 10 on Saturday! Shouldn’t be too late back, luckily we are stabling almost in sight of the event.

Been some disappointing news this week I had hoped there may be a new equine on the way but sadly a relatively minor issue but one that could have affected the horse's future value meant it wasn’t to be. So it's back to the drawing board.

Will report when I get back, forecast at least looks good so hopefully dried up a bit. At least with the early times we will have the best of the going.

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