Supported By:

Equicover SureGrow Morwenna Foster Advantage by HorseQuest Woof Wear Super X Country Cousin Jack

My Blog

Hot, hot, hot!!! Posted: 20 June 2017

Well it has certainly been warm and as anyone that knows me can tell you I hate heat at the best of times! We headed to Chard on Wednesday for the South West Show Jumping club 4 day show jumping show. A nice venue, a good ring and great courses made it very worthwhile.

Thursday was great weather wise, warm but not hot and Ellie was a tad enthusiastic jumping. With little time between West Wilts and Chard the last jumping she had done was cross country and she certainly got enthused show jumping. She is still convinced that she can hurtle round at her speed and totally ignore the rider, when she does this I am glad she 14.2 not 16.2!! I am also not sure I have the bitting right I have her in a little Tom Thumb but sometimes she runs through it and others she backs off it and goes nowhere. On the first day we jumped the British Novice and then as that wasn't great we then jumped the 90cm open over the same course.

On Friday it was starting to get quite warm, we jumped another British Novice where she had a pole and we circled to get her listening. We were then very brave and jumped our first Discovery. In modern show jumping where most classes are single phase you jump half the course at the class height and then the jump off section is bigger in this case 1.05-1.10. I must admit on a 14.2 this seems quite big! I think the fact that I left my phone in my pocket that then flew out after fence 3 distracted me from worrying too much that I must get a perfect stride. I just remembered to keep the engine going and keep an eye out for the phone so it didn't get squashed.

Ellie was amazing and actually easier over the bigger fences as it made her slightly less cocky. She jumped a great double clear only spoilt by time faults as the jockey took a wrong turn.

Saturday's plan was a trip to Pontispool for some cross country schooling. The hot weather meant we were on board and out on the course just before 8.30am. I kept the session fairly light as the ground was firm enough, it was still pretty hot and we were mid show. I have very little variety of schooling facilities locally at home so didn't want to miss the opportunity of somewhere different. We played in the waters, jumped our first triple brush and put a few demons to bed by jumping the hay cart where we fell at the BE competition.

We were all finished just after 9 and Ellie's highlight was the 15 minutes of grass she was allowed to eat. We returned to Chard and hibernated from the heat as best we could.

Sunday was horribly hot but luckily it didn't seem to affect Ellie too much. We jumped the British Novice and had 2 poles down where we were fighting each other for control (the cross country kicked in again). I then put her in the Discovery again and she jumped another super round just having a pole coming into the double. Over the moon how she has progressed and stepped up to Discovery, she certainly isn't short of scope to go higher.

With the hot weather continuing Ellie now has had a few days off to rest and recuperate.

All go Posted: 13 June 2017

It has been a quick turn around this week and about to head off to South West Show Jumping Club 4 day show jumping show at Chard. Really looking forward to establishing our show jumping and hopefully jumping some Discovery classes. Hopefully I will be able to do a few updates while I'm away.

West Wilts BE90 Posted: 11 June 2017

West Wilts offered us the opportunity to put the Pontispool fall and demons behind us. The weather was exceedingly kind with a good dollop (technical term) of rain the week before giving excellent ground yet it was dry and cool on the day.

We travelled up the night before, not only is it quite a long journey (just under 5 hours) but also we had super early times on the Saturday with dressage just after 8 and we were all finished by 9.30. The course asked a few questions for the level, probably middle of the range in difficulty, with a few combinations and a few questions Ellie hadn't met before. (the course pics are here).

Dressage is right by the cross country start so can be exciting however being nice and early we completed this phase before it had started. I thought Ellie produced her best test to date at this level for a 31. She still needs to relax the neck and can look a bit tight at times but overall I was very pleased. We were probably just in the top quarter after dressage scoring 31.

Quick change for show jumping and I thought the track was quite testing for the level although the arena is lovely to jump on. We made one mistake which was mine, I tried to ride a 5 stride distance on 5 when with the way we had jumped in adding a stride would have been far better, leaving her unable to jump the rail into the double. The rest of the round was great, I was however v surprised to get a time fault, as with the exception of one change of leg the round had been flowing and I had cut inside to number 9. Saying that in the great scheme of things it made no difference to the outcome on the day. Very pleased with Ellie's improvement in this phase.

I must admit I was a bit nervous about cross country the after our previous fall but I shouldn't have worried too much as she was great, still green in places which is fine but honest and bold and where we were on some funny strides she coped and sorted things out. We went out of the start and over the first 4 plain fences before the water at 5, this just involved a run through and a log the other side, pleased she kept the canter going through the water and out over the log. 6 was a hanging log with a drop on landing she popped a short stride in assessed and went. At 8 was the first combination which was a 2 stride double and she really made it seem quite short. The next combination was a wooden rail in front of jumping through the hedge, she was unsure re this but gave her a bit of time, kept leg on firmly and she jumped through the hedge before turning back on ourselves and back through the hedge further along. The next was a step onto a bank a couple of strides off the bank to a roll top on two strides, although I had her back she jumped so boldly off it was sort of one and a bit strides to the roll top but she coped. We then had some really bright double of houses with the first being on the narrow side, again she went a bit green and the jump over the first was rather hollow but jumped out really well. We had rather a large jump over the rails and hedge under the tree before a few more plain ones and we came back into sight where we were picked up by the video. Over a log and then a double to finish which she jumped really well. I am still at the stage of not letting her run at her pace cross country so we picked up 6.8 time penalties.

Really pleased with her across the day, she has again shown how capable she will be in all phases. She was less than impressed with her reward as we stopped off on the way home to get her teeth done. I did try and tell her she can enjoy her grass and hay more but she wasn't best pleased. Realised how lucky we were with the weather when we arrived back to a wet and dank day in Cornwall.

Thank you as always to Nick Perry for the pictures and Nick and Jane for the support.

Midweek Update Posted: 7 June 2017

I have some good if not sad news in that Posy has been sold and has gone to a new home this week. So this means I can start some serious horse hunting for something to share Ellie's workload. So if anyone knows anything get in touch, I am open minded but my ideals are

x - 5-8 years
x - 15.0-16.1
x - Narrow ish sit on
x - Excellent in traffic and non quirky
x - Can be green but ideally seen something of life
x - Jump is far more important than an aptitude for dressage
x - A Sarnie clone would be perfect

Meanwhile this weekend the focus is back on eventing as we head to West Wilts horse trials. I am hoping the weather has not gone from one extreme to the other, at least it won't be too muddy for us as we are one of the first on course and finished by 9.30am!!

Hoping the demons from our fall at Pontispool will be well and truely put behind us. We are actually heading out of Cornwall tomorrow evening as we are in silly season in Cornwall for traffic jams, then we will drive the remainder on Friday. I will try and add updates on social media and expect the full report on Sunday.

Cross Country Schooling Posted: 3 June 2017

I felt it was important that after our parting of company at Pontispool last weekend we needed to get out and ensure that Ellie had not been upset by the experience.

Fortunately Cornwall Trec Group had some cross country training organised at Porth Valley which is a lovely schooling facility. I needed have worried that Ellie had been affected by the previous weekend as she was her usual keen enthusiastic and occasionally slightly cocky self. Interesting a few good points came out of the training including the fact that when she get so quick I take my leg off whereas I need to keep it on and not just rely on my hand, it is not always easy when they are accelerating at the fence.

We did have a moment jumping into the water where a slightly awkward jump resulted in me losing my position and nearly getting a ducking (see video).

Welcome to Cousin Jack Posted: 2 June 2017

The eagle eyed amongst you may notice a new logo added to my list of supporters. I was delighted to be approached by Cousin Jack of Cornwall who manufacture and sell 'Happy Jack' chopped and dust extracted straw horse bedding.

I have been lucky enough now to have been using this for over a month as everyone is aware I will not endorse something I haven't tested properly! Previously I have used shavings but I have found this far more absorbent and from a human point of view it makes a comfier looking bed. Certainly from all the bedding I dig out of Ellie's ears I think she is loving the new mattress.

The bedding is dust extracted which is key for any good bedding and pine is added which gives it a great scent and stops it smelling unpleasant also having the advantage of preventing them eating their bed. Ellie does get try the odd mouthful but certainly isn't stuffing it.

I am delighted to be supported by a true Cornish company and appreciate the support they are giving Shoestring. 'Happy Jack is currently available in Devon and Cornwall as well as some outlets in Somerset. If you are thinking of changing your bedding or want to give something different a try I would really recommend this. If anyone has any queries please feel free to get in touch.

No for the obligatory endorsement photo courtesy of Ellie (every day)

The Pictures Posted: 1 June 2017

As promised here are the pictures of our fall at the weekend. Sadly my bought digital images are yet to arrive but I am linking you to the photographers website. You need to use the right arrow to scroll along.

The fall