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1st January

Posted: 1 Jan 2016 - Comments (0)
Happy new year! Apologies still struggling with the computers and I admit a bit of motivation as the endless rain and mud is getting me down!

So what has been happening? Thought I had found a new Shoestring equine member but sadly found a slight issue that I wasn’t prepared to risk so it is back to square 1. Writing this though on a wet, windy and miserable day maybe it is not such a disaster.

The week before Christmas we attended a BE training event at Bicton College. I had an excellent lesson on Bobby with Eric Smiley a couple of years ago and was very keen to take Posy. He always starts off by asking the age of the horse and tell him two positive things about your horse and one thing you want to improve. He is very focused on focusing on the good aspects and makes everything very seem very simple. The lesson was quite simple as was his philosophy, the rider controls the engine and direction the horse jumps. If the engine has the correct revs then seeing a stride is immaterial.

We worked on very simple exercises and never jumped bigger than 2’3”. We started by maintaining a line through some poles and then progressed to jumping a small jump on a 20 meter circle. He wanted people to be able to shut their eyes and not hear any change in the footfalls.

We then worked on some simple lines and changing legs over the fence which Posy finds difficult. Encouragingly he didn’t think it was my position that was causing the problems. He wanted me to focus on stepping forward into my left stirrup and giving a good boot with the right leg. Although there wasn’t immediate success she was changing after the jump so progress was made.

It was very pleasing that Eric really liked Posy and thought she had a great jump. However we need to get the basics right to really allow her to flourish.

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15th December

Posted: 15 Dec 2015 - Comments (0)
Apologies for the long time since my last update, my main excuse is continuing computer problems. I have now got a new Mac computer but as I suspected it is taking me awhile to get to grips with it and transferring the website to it may be a little way off!

In the meantime the horse hunting has started in earnest. Saw a couple of nice horses on Saturday but neither were totally right for me. Then on Monday drove 4 hours to a dealers yard with a good reputation. It was a frustrating trip as there was nothing anywhere near what I was looking for and after ¾ hr we were headed home again. Trouble is if you don’t go you don’t know.

Delighted to say Posy won the Area 51 British Showjumping award for best Discovery horse this season. She won the lovely framed photo with the engraved plate which was presented at the Area 51 ball. I have to say not owning any posh clothes I wimped out of attending the ball and collected my prize after the event. Great reflection on how well Posy has done this year.

She continued her good form at Tall Trees last weekend. We were double clear in both the Discovery and 1.05 placed 3rd and 4th. The canter is improving although the balance on the left rein and the ability to land on the left lead is still causing us problems. I suspect the problem may be more me than her perhaps putting too much weight into one stirrup. I am aware with my hip issues that I sometimes collapse slightly to the left. The video below is the 1.05 jump off and I believe one of our better rounds.
Eric Smiley lesson this weekend to look forward to. Hopefully some homework to help address the issues.

Meanwhile the broodmares are now roughly half way through their pregnancy. I think Batty is about a month ahead of Sarnie and pleased both are looking well.

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3rd December

Posted: 3 Dec 2015 - Comments (0)
Where has this year gone? It is already December and just under 3 weeks until the evenings draw out again (being positive!). Posy has had a quiet week, as with little light if I have to work late there is no hope time to ride. I have been keeping a close eye on the weather and as tomorrow is looking reasonable have grabbed the day off to catch up with some Christmas preparations, give Posy a jump and wade through the mud for some poo picking. It is hard to remember that this is a hobby I do for pleasure and spend all my money on when it is wet, muddy and dark!

Always good to have something different to look forward to and I have just booked a lesson through BE at Bicton College with Eric Smiley. I had a lesson with him a few years back with Dribble and I was so impressed, excited to be having another one. Can’t wait to see what he makes of Posy. That is the 19th of December.

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TWRC Dressage Show

Posted: 29 Nov 2015 - Comments (0)
Much as I love the jumping sadly the flatwork equally needs the practice. A good opportunity today with the local riding club dressage show just down the road. I pushed ourselves a little and entered two novice standard tests. The riding club D10 and Novice 30 which I knew would be a little bit of a push for her.

She warmed up well outside but slightly switched off indoors. The medium trot is no where near established but otherwise in the D10 test she made a very good stab.
I was delighted with 71% to win the class. Very fair and accurate comments from the judge recognising she needs to sit a little more to improve her marks.

The novice 30 was a harder test again and Posy tried very hard but just isn’t able yet to produce the work to make us competitive. I added spurs for a little bit more impulsion but instead of impulsion I created some resentment.
We were unplaced in a strong class but I wasn’t upset with a mark of 67% which shows the training is on the right lines. I think I know what needs working on and that will take time and strength which won’t happen overnight. All in all a very positive day.

I did have to laugh though as I felt a bit out of place warming up in jumping boots, riding in a jumping saddle and not really fitting in with the dressage image!

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27th November

Posted: 27 Nov 2015 - Comments (0)
I am sure soon I will be complaining how cold it is and that it is too icy to get any work done but currently I just want it to stop raining. I don’t know about everyone else but the mud is getting me down. Even Smartie can’t cross the field without cutting it up!

I think the above has affected my enthusiasm for horse hunting. Whilst clearly my budget is limiting the horses that match my criteria there is a part of me that is quite glad with the short evenings and constant rain that we haven’t quickly found something to replace Bobby. However realistically I also know that now is the best time to buy as I am likely to get the best value. To date though I haven’t found something that has inspired me enough to view. There is also a clear relationship with the amount of inspiration needed in relation to the distance to travel. I have seen one I rather like but at 6 hours each way I just don’t like it quite enough! Never mind will continue to scour the sales sites and hopefully that hidden gem will pop up.

Posy meanwhile doesn’t seem too worried about the weather with her servant (me) running around after her making sure she has a clean dry stable, dry rugs and plenty of grub. She even had the pleasure last week of a massage from top sponsor Morwenna from Roseland Pets and Equine. As you can see she rather enjoyed it.

Have been focusing her work at home on improving the canter and in particular the ability to carry herself. At the moment it seems to be me carrying her and can be quite frustrating. Yesterday I used some poles (4 on a 20m circle one on each quarter) which brightened up the work a bit got me riding more accurately and gave her an interest. It is difficult when time is limited and I am on my own to do much in the way of pole exercises particularly when the school is not mine so can’t plan ahead and put exercises out before I ride.

Hacking is doing her the world of good but with light failing so early this is limited at the moment. This weekend we have entered a riding club dressage show on Sunday so be nice to get a good measure of how we are progressing. Have entered her in her first novice tests which will be interesting particularly as we don’t yet have much of a medium trot! We were due a lesson with Stef tomorrow but sadly the weather put the kibosh on that!

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22nd November

Posted: 22 Nov 2015 - Comments (0)
Yesterday we went show jumping at a new venue for Posy - Duchy College. We nearly didn’t go high winds, driving rain and hail as well as a substantial drop in temperature made staying home seem far more attractive. I have to say though the further we drove the more the weather improved and it stayed dry at least.

Posy was feeling bright and a bit hormonal! To be honest she is better when she is on Regumate to control her seasons, usually by now the colder weather stops mares cycling but with it being mild she has continued coming into season. I quickly removed the spurs and warmed up in a quiet time between classes.

In the Discovery she jumped a good clear round although added an extra stride between 6 and 7 when she backed off the black and white fence.
Sadly at this point the video gave up (Someone forgot to charge it - whoops). So you don’t get the pleasure of the disaster that was the jump off! We had the second fence down behind and then the next fence in front as she just ran onto her forehand a bit. The black and white was off a tight turn back and we were on half a stride, I went for the long one she backed off put down and stopped. At this point she had a pat but on turning round I rode her strongly gave her a tap and we launched literally into orbit over it. Very proud I didn’t come out and have a confidence meltdown as can be my habit!

We were also entered in the 1.05 Amateur class. Decided this would be a good opportunity to put matters right. She jumped a nice first round clear although I had to really ride at the black and white jump which again we gave an extra few feet! In the jump off I rode sensibly kept my lines tight but not really cutting corners and jumped another clear which was good enough for second. All in all an educational day and one that we both came away from having learnt some valuable lessons.

Still struggling on the biting front. Probably 80% of the running forward and down onto the hand is a schooling issue but at the same time be nice to find a bit that could just help her listen so she can start to sit back on her hocks. The myler combination has not been the magic solution I hoped.

Today she has had a nice hack as I do try and keep some variety and think hacking is a key part of any event horses education (even the getting very wet bit!).

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