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28th July

Posted: 28 Jul 2015 - Comments (0)
A mixed day off yesterday with 6 hours driving, 1 saddle fitting session and a lesson with Caroline Crieghton. Now I have known Posy needs a saddle and it is never easy to fit them both to her and me (my hip issues mean some saddles don’t work for me). The best person to fit saddles in my opinion is Nathaniel Underwood, he has years of training, is specialist in remedial saddle fitting and really has a great eye for matching horse and rider to the right saddle.

He checked the fit of my existing saddle and found as I suspected it was pinching her behind the wither. We sat a few saddle on her back and I proceeded to ride in 3 different saddles. The first was more of a XC saddle and too forward cut the second I really liked and Posy was very free in the 3rd although I liked it Posy was a bit less comfortable. So I now have a shiny new saddle. It is an Optimum Performance saddle which Nathaniel makes himself.

Much as I am delighted with it and relieved that Posy has something that is now comfortable for her and me, I hate spending money! Hoping that if I sell a few of my unused saddles I can recoup the funds! Particularly looking to the future when I have found Bobby a home I need to scrape the barrel for a replacement.

So having travelled to Chard for saddle fitting seemed silly not to make the journey count and on the way home we stopped at Warren Farm for a training session with Caroline Creighton. A quick treatment of the saddle with leather cream and it was put into action straight away.

We had quite a technical lesson no big jumps just working on a pole / circle exercise which needed good balance and rhythm. I was really pleased how well Posy coped.
We chatted again about the struggle I have getting changes and Caroline was fairly honest that I am not helping by not being straight due to my old injuries so we need to find ways round that.

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26th July

Posted: 26 Jul 2015 - Comments (0)
Had a very positive dressage lesson with Stef Eardley yesterday. We really worked on supplying her up using a very interesting exercise. Stef made a square with poles that if you rode inside was a 10 meter circle, the poles certainly prevented any cheating. We started in walk on both reins discussing what the issues were, i.e. she falls onto the shoulder one way and drifts the other. So then worked on the corrections, on the right it was very much thinking a bit of quarters in. We progressed to doing this in trot (steadily) and then eventually to doing a figure of eight and focusing on the change of bend and making it smooth and not allowing her to drift or fall on her shoulder.
We finished by working on the canter. The clip below is best viewed with the sound on as there are a few important points that Stef gets across including not riding her like a 5 year old!
Tomorrow I have day off and we are heading up to Nathaniel Underwood to get a saddle sorted. It is something I always want to put off as long as possible as they are not a cheap bit of kit but I am aware the saddle I am using on Posy is tight behind the wither and that is not going to encourage her development. When I had Pip I left sourcing a saddle far too long and then felt guilty as it made such a difference.

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25th July

Posted: 25 Jul 2015 - Comments (0)
Time to introduce my new eventer. Not that I can tell you much about him / her yet as only 30 days old in mummy’s tummy but has a heart beat and looking v healthy for this stage of development. We have put in a request for a bay filly but as long as mum and baby are healthy we will be happy (4 limbs and one head would be a help too!)

I think the breeding should produce something with the potential to be a great Eventer . My Eclipse has super TB lines including Shaab and Sarnie has some of the best KWPN lines. Both have competed successfully so fingers crossed. We now have a very nervous 10 months to wait. I have already wimped out and Sarnie will be going back to Mel Hennah at Trenarth Stud to foal.

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23rd July

Posted: 23 Jul 2015 - Comments (0)
Sorry for the late update, my website building software had a major tantrum requiring an upgrade. Although we are back up and running I have a backlog of course pictures and formatting issues across the site which may take a while to correct. Any major issues please let me know.

So backtracking a little to last Thursday when we headed off for another 3 day show at Bicton. The main drama actually occurred on the first evening! By the time I escaped work and arrived bedded down etc it was fairly late evening. I wanted to work Posy and try a different bit so headed off to the all weather warm up and started working her. As I arrived the last people that had been using the school left so we had it all to ourselves. The entrance to the arena is situated below Bicton’s Webb arena, what I didn’t realise was this was about to be watered. Suddenly shooting jets of water with a real pumping noise started. Poor Posy was terrified, I tried doing calming circles however the instinct was to jump off quickly before I was deposited - I did resist the temptation and stayed on board! She didn’t settle even after 5 minutes or so, luckily Mum had come to watch her work and was dispatched to get someone to turn it off (I couldn’t get out as the exit was by the water). We escaped in tact both dripping in sweat and me with no idea if she liked the bit or not!

Friday we were entered for our first class ever in the main arena a 1.05 class. Having raided my bit box I was trying her in a rubber Kimblewick which I have to say gave me more control without being over the top. The class was decent enough for the first class of the show and looking back I didn’t do a great job. With the extra control I had I went around in a pretty canter rather than a jumping canter. It was all too backward and came to a head in a related distance where she backed off a spooky fence and without the power we ended up coming to a halt.
I knew the round wasn’t exactly a disaster but as always the self doubts crept in and my confidence in my own ability took a knock!

It wasn’t until afternoon we jumped the Discovery class and with some help and support from Zoe we had a lot more forward round. It was single phase and I didn’t take any silly risks but cut a few corners on the jump off part so was delighted to finish 2nd in a class of of 70. Feeling happier at this point!
The following day we were back in the lovely huge main arena for a meter open class. This time I was determined to eliminate my mistakes of the previous morning. It was an early start as we were drawn 3rd to go with a 830 start.

The first 3 fences weren’t perfect, Posy is often a little green over 1 and then I hadn’t sorted my reins out by 2. Coming into the double at 3 I had rather a shocking line which was barely pointing at the second part! However once we had got those issues out the way things improved and she jumped super not touching a fence. Again I wasn’t silly in the jump off part but did angle a turn and move forward a bit. In an open class I wasn’t expecting to be place but delighted to finish 9th out of 80 starters.
That afternoon we did a 1.05 in the all weather arena and this time our more forward jumping caught us out making up too much distance in a related distance and clipping a rail behind.
The final day we only had one class entered another Discovery on the outdoor grass arena. Slightly frustrating end to the weekend show jumping as she went a bit green on me over number 4 (need to remember she is still 5) and had the back rail down, we circled and regrouped and she jumped the rest of the round very well.
So with our jumping finished and our long term goals in mind we changed gear and went into eventer mode and headed out on Bicton’s cross country course. Sadly we were slightly limited as away from the watered arenas the ground was very hard. This was my first serious XC schooling session with her and she was fabulous.

Started off with some small fences then went and played in the water. Water is the one area she can be a little reluctant she actually gives me the impression she may of had a bad experience with a bog or similar as she hates deep mud and is always looking to check her feet are not sinking, once in she is fine so lots of repetition and we will be fine.

Jumped fences before and after the water, brushes, combinations, steps and ditches as well as a decent corner. She was superb.
So I have actually started looking at the BE calendar and planning some events before the end of the season.

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14th July

Posted: 14 Jul 2015 - Comments (0)
I gave into temptation and have booked to spend the weekend at Bicton show jumping again. It is such a well organised event with super courses and great organisation as well as superb ground seems silly to miss it! However this time I am also intending on making use of their cross country course and giving Posy a school. Hoping to jump a couple of classes in the main arena this time as there are some smaller classes there and will be great to get her in the huge arena and see a different set of jumps.

Just been reviewing some Shoestring statistics
  • Website is receiving 30,000 visitors a month
  • Facebook posts are reaching 4,000-5,000 people
  • 232 BE courses added from the 2015 season
  • Over 100 people contributed course pictures
I will admit sometimes when work and home is busy it can be a struggle to keep up but seeing the above makes it all worthwhile.

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12th July

Posted: 12 Jul 2015 - Comments (0)
Sooner or later I will learn my lesson! I was riding Bobby back to his field on a long rein with mind elsewhere (patter of tiny hooves maybe) when there was a movement in the hedge, Bobby shot sideways and I was plonked on the ground. He then proceeded to quizzically look down at me with a “How did you get there expression”! No real damage done just a stiff neck, back and elbow! Yesterday both horses had a treatment from Dr Dave Siemens (chiropractor) who helps keep my horses in tip top condition, that with a dentist visit last week and new shoes for both tomorrow has made a big dent in the old bank balance (or overdraft).

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