I’m really excited to be sat here writing my British Horse Feeds blog, something that I have rally missed doing each month. I’ll try my best to remember all what we have been up to here at Roman Bank recently.
It has been a slightly odd season for me so far, obviously my main man Robbie (Ballyengland Twilight) sustained a check ligament injury around July time last year and we have spent what seems like forever building him back up again. I believe time is the best healer, so I’ve probably given him longer than necessary, but he’s now back jumping again, which is great! We’re just about ready for a jump school outing or to find a jumping show to go to. We both have had some lessons and he has been to a few dressage competitions this season, which if you’ve been following my updates on the British Horse Feeds Facebook page, you’ll already know about. Belton and Houghton earlier in the year, trying to keep his hoof in the door so to speak at a big event environment. I have been missing jumping around (what is for me) the bigger tracks with Robbie, but I’ve chosen to train with next season more in mind for him.
It has meant that my eventing has been focused a little more on Alice (Alice Springs) who I’ve been working really hard with. At the moment, we are committed to improving our showjumping – so lots of training outings in between events. She has gone clear cross country at every event we have been to so far this season and her dressage has come on in leaps and bounds. Fingers crossed I haven’t just tempted fate by writing this and it stays that way!
One of the biggest pieces of news I have to share is that I’ve been a very lucky girl and have a new horse to add to my little team – Lui De Ville, also known as Frank/Cranky Frankie! He is a gorgeous seven-year-old, who has had a year out of action. I’ve had him for a few months now and after lots of initial walker work and bringing him back up again (he was quite round). I’m back on board and training hard! He belonged to my instructor – Tiny Clapham, and we’ve been taking Frankie off to a local yard that has a lovely big 20x60m arena for lessons every other week. We had also booked to take Frankie to our first low key dressage competition a couple of weeks ago but as we got set to leave, we had clutch issues on the lorry and sadly couldn’t attend. Last week we took him back to Tiny’s old yard to see “her secret weapon”, Roy Midwood, who is an equine health practitioner and has a reputation as one of the country’s greatest osteopaths, having worked with world class competition horses. It was a really interesting day and I left with lots to think about and practice. The day covered more than I ever imagined it would, not only just looking at the horse but adding thoughts on my nutrition as a rider and building muscle tone and strength as well as attention to horse and rider biomechanics. I came home with homework on top of homework from my last lesson with Tiny.
I feel like now is the right sort of time in my career for me to have a horse like Frank. My eventers so far have been slightly older and have had professional riders in the past, but have all come to me with injuries/problems and have lost their way. I’ve found this is the only way I can afford to live my eventing dreams and I really enjoy giving them back their careers and bringing them back to full health, finding their enjoyment for the job again and I’ve learnt so much from them in the process too. I’ve been eventing 10 years now (which in comparison to some, I know is nothing). In this time I’ve had a couple of youngsters, just out of the field to break and school and that maybe aren’t so talented, so I feel Frank is my first “serious” young horse.
My two working pupils, Steph and Heidi have just finished their year of working on the yard with us and have achieved their Diploma Level 2! I’m so proud of them both, they have worked so hard and have done a fantastic job of helping to care for our ponies. I have had lots of fun with them both and they have become lovely friends too. Heidi is staying with us for almost another two years as an Advanced Level 3 Apprentice, which is very exciting!
We have recently added a new mound with roll top on it to the cross country schooling course at home. Of course we had British Horse Feeds in mind and thought it would be the perfect fence to proudly display my Fibre-Beet banner. We are also now truly flying the flag for British Horse Feeds with a 20ft flagpole in our driveway! It looks awesome!
Hope to catch up with more news again real soon,