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26th February

Posted: 26 Feb 2015 - Comments (0)
Well Posy has finally started her journey to me. She has left her current yard and is heading to Dublin to meet the ferry. We don’t however know yet whether the ferries will take horses today as conditions are a bit breezy, fingers crossed please.

We have been working on our preparation with Bobby for the Riding Club combined training qualifier this weekend. I had a run through the test yesterday and he is still struggling with how quickly the movements come up, we start off well then get quicker and quicker as the test goes on. Our run through finished with me cantering up the centre line sideways in the wrong direction and halting in a rather crooked manner facing the wrong way! (Think I missed out a medium trot hence facing the wrong way). I rather think it was divine intervention that the competition has been postponed due to the bad forecast. Shame though. Can’t really work out a plan b yet until I know when Posy arrives. We are meeting the transporters at Exeter so that will be a 4 hour round trip sometime in the next few days.

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23rd February

Posted: 23 Feb 2015 - Comments (0)
Had one of those days where I really felt how much progress we have made with Bobby. Rode and schooled tonight in some very blustery weather (missed the sleet and hail). Although he is bright he has settled unbelievably from the super sharp ball of energy that first arrived and actually puts his mind to working properly.

Schooling wise he tries hard, currently we are trying to master some novice dressage movements for the weekend as we are doing Novice 27 at the riding club combined training qualifiers. He is struggling with elements and I am not sure he is quite ready to put it together but he is trying so hard. We were doing some counter canter tonight and one time we had a really balanced canter and transition and he suddenly went into a different gear with a huge bouncy trot and then after about 3 strides couldn’t hold it and ran onto his nose, but if that is taste of what is to come it is very exciting.

I am always careful when I work him to do plenty of trot between canter transitions to stop him anticipating and we always finish sessions with a good 5 minutes stretching in the trot and then we have a 10 minute walk home. I think this has helped him relax in his work.

Posy news is currently she is hoping to leave Ireland on Wednesday - we will see!

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22nd February

Posted: 22 Feb 2015 - Comments (0)
Currently hibernating as the wind is howling and the rain is hammering down, Bobby is having a rare duvet day! Poor Bobby thinks he is overworked as this is his first day off since we got back from Ireland, he is hoping the new girl comes soon to share the workload. Sadly I suspect with the current weather the wait may continue a while longer, she was meant to be starting her journey today.

Had a really good jumping lesson with Bobby yesterday working on riding a course and getting the canter between the fences. The canter has improved hugely but now rather than working on keeping the canter we have progressed to needing to keep the bounce and rideability in the canter.

You can see in this clip of us riding a course that as we went on further the canter got less and less bouncy which meant by the end we made a mistake.
We then worked on jumping a couple of fences and getting the canter back in between and bouncing. It is not easy as I slightly lose my position on landing where he throws his jump and then the canter just gets a bit flat. You can see in the last clip things did improve although that was one of the few good shots I got to the double.
Really pleased with the progress and just at that stage where we need to get plenty of jumping under our belts.

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19th February

Posted: 19 Feb 2015 - Comments (0)
Been a little bit of a frustrating week. The new girl Posy is still over the water in Ireland waiting for transport to come over. Feels like being in a housing chain with everything happening as quickly as the slowest person. In order for the transport to be affordable there will be a lorry load of horses and we were waiting on vettings being completed etc. Then once we thought things were ready to roll the weather has turned and the forecast currently is delaying any livestock sailings. Latest I heard was that they are hoping to leave Ireland on Sunday.

Bobby meanwhile seems to have since his successful jumping outing found another gear in his flatwork. Whilst the steps are quite impressive he is not currently strong enough to hold himself so the resulting work is plunging forward on his head! Luckily I had a lesson with Robert Pickles on Tuesday and disappointing that it was not to be able to move forward it was quite helpful to have someone experienced on the ground when we needed help. He made us literally try and tootle along in the trot and let him find his balance, use a lot of trot walk trot transitions and do some walk pirouettes and shoulder in at walk to get him listening. Too be honest it didn’t seem we made much progress at the time but we came out the following day and had some much better work.

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15th February

Posted: 15 Feb 2015 - Comments (0)
So no rest for the wicked! Bobby after a few days off was told he needed to be on top of his game as there was soon to be competition! On Friday we had a good lesson with Caroline and yesterday we headed to Tall Trees for their show jumping. Bobby having completed a few cross country sessions was quite keen and running through the bridle in our lesson, so for the show jumping I changed his bit from the loose ring snaffle to a Universal bit that just gives a bit more control. I am not a great one for changing bits always worried I am likely to over bit and having had Sarnie who ran her entire career in a snaffle it is not something I have much practice at!

The change of bit made a huge difference and enabled me to control the forward energy without stifling it. Occasionally his canter is still not strong enough to hold the shorted canter and he trots but as long as I don’t panic he is very capable of jumping out of it.

We did the 80cm class and he jumped a hugely improved round and was clear. In the jump off sadly I saw one of my non existent wing and prayer strides that resulted in a pole but we still finished 4th. I plucked up courage and entered on a ticket Bobby’s first affiliated class the British Novice. Certainly didn’t expect what happened a double clear that would have put us second if weren’t on a ticket! A little green at times but tried hard and the fences were nothing to him.

So really pleased with him.

Today almost seemed Spring was in the air. Like to give the horse variety in their work and today we went out for a couple of hours hacking. Up and down hill, stony and wet paths as well as a variety of natural hazards! Great education and really helps fitness and getting them used to different surfaces and going.

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14th February

Posted: 14 Feb 2015 - Comments (0)
I am back and nearly recovered from a successful Irish trip. It has been very full on although we did have a frustrating 3 hour delay at Brstol for our flight over as fog was affecting the airport. This rather set us behind on day one. I don’t think it is fair to go into details of the people and horses we saw, suffice to say we looked at about 25-30 horses over the 3 days and I probably rode about 8 of them. Very quickly if I didn’t like something or if it didn’t suit moved onto the next one. As it was we ran out of time to see a few that were penciled in.

In the end there were actually 3 I would have happily bought. A beautiful just backed 4 year old who moved and jumped amazingly. A real blood type and about 15.3. In the end felt it was just a bit too baby for what I want now although if ~~I hadn’t found anything more suitable I would probably have taken a punt. On the opposite end of the scale I really liked a bay 7 year old gelding that had a bit of experience but had been in a professionals yard for a few years and I just wondered how well he would adapt to an amateur.

So the chosen one was a 5 year old grey (I did not want another grey) mare 16.1 believed to be by the show jumping stallion Douglas. She has a lovely straightforward nature and has been produced by an amateur as a 4 year old having done a few training shows, hunter trials and hunting. She was bought by a professional in October and that is where I saw her with Fred Scala who has made the whole buying process very easy. She is very athletic with a good jump and just had the right amount of education for a 5 year old. She was vetted on Friday and passed with flying colours so will hopefully be joining me this week. Really excited about her and hopefully she and Bobby can campaign at similar levels this year.

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