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24th June

Posted: 24 Jun 2015 - Comments (0)
Having eventing withdrawal systems and frustrated with the lack of immediate prospects of blowing the cobwebs away. People keep asking why I don’t event Posy yet but there are a number of considerations.
  • She still needs time to mature and I hate hammering their legs this time of year on hard ground.
  • We still haven’t established a good way of going on the flat she needs better balance and consistency to the rein. This is for all phases and certainly at the moment the dressage is not good enough to be competitive.
  • We need to build our own relationship and trust in each other, she is an immensely talented horse but perhaps one that I don’t always click with that easily.
  • She is good enough not to hurry she potentially could progress through the grades and it would be a shame to spoil things by doing things too quickly
  • I am enjoying show jumping she is very good we are winning lots and it costs less!
Saying all the above I am taking her to Chepstow for the Burghley Young Event Horse a week on Friday and then she will have a few weeks off. After that we will pick up the cross country schooling and try and aim for a few Autumn events so we can really come out the starting gates flying next year.

I doubt if Bobby will be able to event again this year which is depressing but it is not fair to put pressure on him and to be honest my ambition is not at the BE90 level but beyond that and with his rubbing issue it is not going to happen.

Be nice to find a fairy Godmother or an owner that wants their horse evented but even that can be difficult as I put a huge amount of pressure on myself to perform and then if I have an owner to please that can almost result in a meltdown!

Currently with an eventing website and an eventing passion I have done 6 events in the last 2 seasons and it is getting so frustrating. I often think about Pip (picture right) (who is doing great with her new owners) and should I have sold her when we were getting established at Intermediate? It was the sensible thing, her size and movement caused my hip huge discomfort which meant I couldn’t do her justice. The hip has improved but I miss the chance to ride at the higher levels. For me BE90 and BE100 is a stepping stone and not my ambition I desperately want to get back to riding at Novice and Intermediate (and beyond) but also panic that age is not on my side being on the wrong side of 40!

Need to find my PMA (positive mental attitude) and get my backside in gear although currently I am not sure what I can do to change my prospects of eventing this year! No funds for another, one who can’t event and one that needs time. I guess as always this is a fair reflection on the struggles that all riders go through!

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Posy back in the limelight

Posted: 21 Jun 2015 - Comments (0)
Posy was not allowing Bobby to take the limelight and it was her turn to jump today. The regular jumping over good courses is really getting our eye in, however after our BYEH in 2 weeks she will be having a couple of weeks off to take it all in.

Today we went to Colraine to jump the Discovery and our second Newcomers. The Discovery actually felt small but the customary clear round was forthcoming. Nearly everyone went clear so I decided after our success at Bicton to have a crack in the jump off.
Really pleased for her stage of education it was a super round and she made the turns very easily. It has to be said I seem to ride best in a jump off where I can really be positive. We won the class by 6 seconds so an excellent result.

The Newcomers was a decent track but not as frightening as last time, however a clear round and the jump off did look frightening particularly the upright which was the third fence in the jump off and was 1.25!!!
As you see she didn’t really read the lightweight rustic which was the first fence but after that she jumped superbly and made it feel very easy. Couldn’t be more delighted to have a double clear in only our second attempt at this class. It has been a long time since I did the bigger classes with Sarnie and Pip and it is certainly case of getting my eye back in again! A few well deserved days off for Posy before we count down to a more eventing related competition with the Burghley Young Event Horse a week on Friday.

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Bobby’s turn to shine!

Posted: 20 Jun 2015 - Comments (0)
Bobby has been a bit of a depressing subject of late. He has had a quiet 6 weeks whilst he has undergone acupuncture in an attempt to help his nose rubbing issue. Sadly this has had no effect and as the summer is progressing he is getting worse needing to throw his head at his leg to relieve the itch. We are pretty sure it is the trigenial nerve that causes head shaking that is giving him facial pain. Clearly the pollen in the summer is aggravating this and making the poor horse very uncomfortable. My vet looked again this week and whilst there is a few treatments we can still try realistically it is a problem that is not going to go away. Sadly currently eventing is not feasible as he won’t settle in the dressage as the uncomfortableness makes him want to rush his work and in walk and sometimes other paces he is flipping his head down to rub. Sadly I am contemplating selling him in the autumn to a suitable home that possibly want to hunt in the winter when he is fine and can manage or accept the summer issues.

On a more positive note it was time to get him out and see how he coped with some show jumping. Whilst he did some nose rubbing when we were walking around before and after his round once cantering in the ring he was fully focused on the job in hand and jumped very well.

We did the British Novice which was a Single Phase class. He was basically controlled and jumping super, in the second part fence 9 was an upright with a black pole above a yellow one and most of the class had it down. I therefore rode it so carefully that I pulled him right into the bottom of it where he didn’t have a hope of jumping it! Other than that we were clear and as the course didn’t jump well was good enough for 4th and his first money prize BS.
I was quite glad I didn’t take Posy as the ground was pretty hard she will jump on the surface at Colraine tomorrow.

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19th June

Posted: 19 Jun 2015 - Comments (0)
Continuing where I left off (in the last post) we left Bicton on Monday morning and on our return journey we stopped at Andrew Lovell’s for a dressage lesson. Whilst Posy didn’t reckon the timing was great after her efforts at Bicton it seemed too good an opportunity to miss with Andrew only a few miles off our route home.

We worked on 2 main areas, the canter and starting to introduce some medium in the trot work. Sadly unlike the last lesson technology spoilt the video and we used headphones for the lesson which means the video doesn’t pick up what Andrew was saying. In the canter we brought the circle in and out using a slightly travers feeling to engage the hind quarters. You can see from the video clip how that really engaged her in the canter
Andrew had me riding with a long stick in each hand to help get her in front the leg and stop me working so hard.

In the trot we used the turn about the forehand aids in the trot to expand a circle and then allow with the outside rein down the long side to encourage the medium. We were starting to get a step or so but at the moment she still hasn’t got the strength to really power through but I have no doubt looking at how much she has improved already that it will come in time.

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17th June

Posted: 17 Jun 2015 - Comments (0)
Just recovering from a busy Bicton which sounds silly when I only took one horse but it seemed non stop and I must have walked miles too.

We set off on Thursday after work which in itself was a major feat due to the late decision to go. I was up at 5am to do some packing before work and then escaped again at lunchtime for a quick ride. Eventually the horse, dogs, mum (still poorly) and all the gear was packed and we trundled the 2 and half hours to Bicton. It may have been easier to leave on the Friday as we were not jumping until late but with the time of year tourist traffic virtually makes Friday and Saturday travel impossible. Friday was an educational day. We were not jumping until late in the grass arena and had entered the Discovery and 1.05. It is interesting despite all Posy’s success show jumping that it has mainly come in the arenas and not on grass. We were discussing this and think that at the moment she still struggles with her balance on grass.

I made a mistake and should have worked her Friday morning but didn’t get her out to ride until the class at about teatime. The weather had closed in and we had steady drizzle, no problems with studs but no video (luckily). Posy was totally above herself and running through the hand not listening, bucking, launching at fences and being a total twit (polite version of what I said on the day)!

We went in the ring and she took not the slightest notice of me, only allowing me to point. It is a testament to her jumping that we only had one fence down despite total disregard for all the riders aids and ineffective struggles. Luckily Zoe Gwennap who spotted Posy in Ireland and helps me was at ringside and took Posy and I to task. We spent the next hour (having pulled out of the next class) working in the warm up rings on transitions, changes of bend, balance and just getting her focused on me and not ignoring or fighting me. By the end I was on my knees and Posy was a little better!!

Lesson learnt I was up next day and riding by 7 repeating the same exercises. She was really leaning on my right hand so I put a brush on the side of the bit which helped prevent her grabbing the right rein. A bit of a cheat but better than me constantly pulling at the rein. She wasn’t a great fan and we found for the rest of the show that to warm up in the brush and then take it off before we jumped worked best.

Another late jump on the Saturday and this day we were in the arena. Having worked her hard and started to get her listening I actually moved back to the snaffle I do the normal flatwork in. First class was a meter class and despite a few green moments she jumped a super but steady double clear.
Lots to work on, the main thing in time as we get better balance is getting the changes with her as that can often let us down.

I then withdrew from the next class in the arena and moved her to the young horse class so we could have another opportunity to jump on grass. If we are going to do BYEH and event her then it is no good avoiding the issue! This class seemed quite small and she jumped a super round for equal first (all double clears). I think this was one of the nicest rounds of the weekend.
Next day again I made the effort to jump a class on grass and we actually started with our biggest class of the weekend a 1.05. Here the old canter lead issue caught up with us again and I was unbalanced round the corner to 3 which we had down. I am working on changes at home, Fred whom I bought her from had some on her but with my crookedness from my hip injury it is something I struggle with. Just one pole and I was by no means displeased.
We moved back to the arena for the Discovery. The day before we had completed our 4 double clears for the year so the handbrake was off and for the first time with Posy I decided it was time to ask a few questions in the jump off, cut a few corners and angle some fences. Usually it takes a time or two for horses to get it and be quick thinking but we only missed one turn and she turned and listened really well. We did have some luck with a miss an No.1 and lucky not to send a pole flying! The class had 80 starters and Posy’s round was quick enough for 3rd place which I was over the moon with.
A great finish to the weekend and was very tempted to jump another day but seemed a good note to finish on. I also hadn’t told her that on the way home (the next day) I had arranged a dressage lesson with Andrew Lovell (tomorrows report).

Really delighted with the progress at Bicton and huge thank you to Zoe for all her help as feel we have taken a huge step forward with Posy. Thanks also to Nick and Jane for their help and fabulous pictures.

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10th June

Posted: 10 Jun 2015 - Comments (0)
Today Bobby had his final acupuncture session , he has about 10 needle in (the camera doesn’t show the needles that well but two are pictured). He is great to treat and seems to tolerate the treatment happily but frustratingly his nose itching has got significantly worse and is mirroring what happened last summer so there must be a seasonal element to the problem which we can’t control, all very depressing. Having the vet out for an assessment again next week so we will see where go from there.

So Bobby is kicking his heels up in the field this weekend and we are heading back to Bicton for a 6 day show jumping show. The thought of 6 days jumping is a bit much and we will probably do 3 days. I have entered Posy in the 1m and 1.05 classes just to establish ourselves at this level.

Going to be a man down as Mum has been ill all week and she has strict orders to rest up take it easy while we are away. Good job we are only taking the one horse. Very little signal at Bicton so expect an update next week sometime when we are recovered. Wish us luck and good health (trying to decide if I could have a sore throat coming!)

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