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Ellie turns her hoof to something new!

Posted: 18 July 2018 - Comments (0)

There seems nothing that Ellie can’t turn her hoof to. This year she has had wins at affiliated dressage, show jumping and eventing.

This week it was time to try something new - showing! To be totally honest I have never been a big showing fan but always fancied trying Ellie in a Working Hunter Pony class. Now there has always been a major hurdle in this plan these classes are restricted to younger riders making me ineligible. However Cornwall’s biggest one day show Stithians had the class as open so we popped an entry in. The class was for 143-153 ponies as Ellie is in the lower range I didn’t expect her to be too competitive.

It was about a week before panic set in and I realised we not only didn’t know what we were doing but didn’t have any correct gear either!! A close contact jumping saddle would not show her confirmation off that well, a Micklem bridle is evidently not correct and evidently white show jumping boots would be a no no. I don’t have a shirt and tie nor correct showing stick.

Well the day before was spent teaching me and Ellie on the art of standing a horse up correctly and doing a good trot up. We also borrowed a cavasson bridle and some black boots.

Our class was the last of the day which meant we went over early afternoon and missed the queues. Even then we didn’t get on until about 6.

The course was 90cm with a variety of different rustic questions. It was quite spooky and caused a few horses stops. 11 fences on a sloping ring meant it couldn’t be taken lightly.

I warmed Ellie up who immediately in a different bridle popped her tongue over the bit - hopped off and popped the bit up higher than I normally would have and luckily she didn’t repeat the trick.

She jumped a super round (video to follow when internet fixed at home) and wasn’t affected by the spooky jumps. I think about half of the 14 jumped clear and were called back in for the showing bit.

We were then called in in any order. Annoyingly I ended up at the end and was first to be called forward so I didn’t get to see anyone else’s show and learn what to do! Also after all my practice the previous day we walked up and trotted back under saddle for the judge so there was no stripping and running out needed.

She did a nice show and we waited in line. Wasn’t the most settled line as a traction engine drove past the ring making a big racket. Ellie’s eyes were out on stalks but she did contain herself.

The judge added the scores and we were delighted to be pulled in 2nd. Really pleased particularly as she is a little small for this class and not quite true to the type they are looking for.

We went back in for the championship of the 3 Working Hunter Pony classes where we walked trotted and galloped for the judge. Have to say she gave a great gallop (best bit for Ellie) which the judge complimented us on. We ended up reserve champion which was amazing.

A really fun day and nice to do something different. Ellie loved the experience of the crowds looking at her and being able to show off. Busy and buzzy atmosphere which didn’t phase her and can only stand her in good stead for some bigger horse trials in the future.


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Kensa growing up

Posted: 14 July 2018 - Comments (0)

Finally got a nice picture of her this week. It is rare I can get much as she usually likes to have her head in the camera. It struck me though how much of Sarnie I could see in her particularly around the head!

She is 2 now and being left to mature. She came in and was easy to have feet done last week but other than that she gets very little handling as such. She is always desperate for attention though. I guess we are half way to starting to find out if she has anything of her mother about her under saddle.


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Weather problems

Posted: 12 July 2018 - Comments (0)

When we struggled through the winter a long hot dry spell seemed an impossibility, yet it is causing nearly as many issues as the wet. The heat has been oppressive for horses, dogs and humans and the ground is like concrete. Whilst many BE events are performing miracles, getting the work into the horses at home is not easy.

I for one have now ceased entering any BE for the next month 6 weeks or until a consistent change is seen in weather patterns. The field is too hard to ride in at home, the school I use is quite dry and deep so I have limited facilities to get them ready. I am trying to do a variety of work to condition them for the current climate so they are ridden at least a couple of times a week in the heat of the day as well as cooler times, they are doing quite a bit of long slow road work and a little schooling so they go on a variety of surfaces, terrains and in different temperatures.

I have to say although Bicton had put huge amounts of appreciated work in at the weekend the heat did spoil things a little. I was lucky with Fliss we were able to book a stable to keep her in a cooler environment. There were a number of other measures I took to reduce the impact of the climate

x Reduced warm up time to at least half of normal
x I have been feeding electrolytes since the weather warmed up
x She had water available at all times except when being ridden
x Took ice to add to washing water and for icing legs after XC
x Reduced boot use so only used tendon / fetlock boots XC to lessen legs being overheated
x Was able to use a proper wash down are so continually hosed to reduce temp after XC
x Obviously riding her at all times in a balanced manner and ensuring she was fit enough for what she was doing

Overall Fliss enjoyed Bicton and came home very happy with what she had done so the weather didn't spoil her day.


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Bicton BE80 - Fliss's Debut

Posted: 8 July 2018 - Comments (0)

Excuse me for starting by reflecting how far we have come together to get to our first BE.

In the winter my confidence was shattered. Yes I have jumped Advanced in the past but I didn't even want to canter Fliss. I spent more time crying than anything and certainly had very little enjoyment in riding. I had supportive people around me and was honest about my struggles. Fliss was an angel very patient but as a green horse did need riding.

I took her to her first XC schooling at Pontispool in the arena in the winter and she refused point blank to get her feet wet or to follow another horse in. Eventually I managed to lead her in (in short boots and it was icy cold). We ignored XC and got our confidence together show jumping.

Finally I felt ready to tackle our first BE event. Huge thanks to the team at Bicton for producing a great event with the best ground possible considering the weather. The track was top end for the level (BE80) and certainly needed riding.

It was hot and luckily Bicton has onsite stables which I was able to book. Not only did this mean she was cooler and more relaxed it also meant the back of the lorry could be used to keep the dogs cool with plenty of shade and air flowing through. With no one to leave them with we probably wouldn't have gone if we couldn't have used a stable.

Dressage warm up was kept to 15 minutes and she was going sweetly until a grey pony starting working nearby, no idea why but she took fright, her head up in the air and really spooked. Luckily she settled to go in the arena and produced a nice test for her stage of training. A bit wobbly at times but great to have a judge that rewarded the good bits so marks ranged from 5.5 to 8. Very pleased that one 8 was for my riding.


We were one of only two combinations to break the 30 mark with a 29.8 to leave us 2nd after dressage.

Show jumping was small for Fliss but was very pleased with how she jumped, sensibly neither treating them as insignificant nor over jumping. She didn't touch a pole though for a clear round.


Cross country was a decent track for the level with lots of questions particularly for a horse that was yet to have any sort of round cross country. 1 and 2 were decent size and she backed off and needed strong riding, however once away she really focused on the job in hand and took her fences on. The water was early at 7 and although she backed off for half a stride she trotted straight in and was away. The rest of the course she jumped sensibly with a big grin on her face, we took it steadily due to ground, heat and experience and clocked up 7.2 time penalties. This was still good enough to finish 3rd which I was over the moon with.



















Both of mine will now be focusing on show jumping for a bit until the weather changes to make eventing more favourable. Very good point for both girls to be having a mid season break.


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Website stats

Posted: 4 July 2018 - Comments (0)

I have my half year stats for the website :-

Total unique visitors - 27.5k
Total visitors- 93.5k
Page views - 497.5k
71 new course picture galleries for 2018

225 new courses (levels)
5319 new photos
62 blog posts year to date

Thanks everyone for your continued support


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Hot hot hot

Posted: 1 July 2018 - Comments (0)

So how is everyone coping with the heat? I know I said in the winter I wouldn't complain however I do find the heat a bit much and hard work. The next week is looking pretty warm, at least we had an hour of rain today not enough to affect the ground but at least enough to water the grass and hopefully green things up a bit.

I have given Ellie the week off as no imminent plans for her, it will do her good to have a few days break. Fliss meanwhile is building up for her first BE at Bicton. On Tuesday I took her to a local course Porth Valley primarily to play in the water, the ground was hard so other than a few pops over a couple of fences we stuck to water training. Really pleased she went straight in again and even ended up popping in off a small step. Fingers crossed for Bicton.

Today we took her show jumping. For some reason my gremlins were back at work again, possibly the heat getting to me I'm not sure, wasn't looking forward to it or feeling confident of riding well. Had hoped to step up and jump the 1.05 today but in the end played safe and also restricted the time in the heat. Jumped the 95cm (single phase) for a nice double clear and 2nd place.


In the Discovery she jumped another super round and literally breathed on a pole for 4 faults, as this is her first competitive pole for 9 rounds I think that is forgivable! Sadly no video but it was a nice rhythmical round over a decent track. Really pleased she coped well in the weather.


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