Rain, rain… and yet more rain!
I’m sitting at home after a busy bank holiday morning at the yard, battling the great British weather yet again. Dry clothes changes required this weekend… I’ve lost count! But, to be fair, on Sunday we did make a break for it, with promise of a fairly dry day we headed out to Fieldhouse for some British Showjumping with Mindy (It’s Morka) and Helen O’Regan’s Pluto (Kilbegan Diamond Guy).
Mindy jumped another fabulous double clear in the British Novice, this was her second ever visit here and I was delighted with her attitude, actually more than the performance. She’s been a real handful to be totally honest… it’s a good job she’s incredibly talented!
We had visited Fieldhouse for the first time with her the week before and she was a monkey to get into the arena, then very spooky so I had to ride her very strongly. She jumped a great round – double clear – which I was thrilled with. It’s taken a very long time to get her to accept the forward aids when she’s unsure and in a new environment. Whilst I’m sure we’ll have setbacks, I really felt over the two weeks we’ve made significant progress. If we can just emulate the work ethic we have together at home, she’s world class!
Pluto jumped a really classy round in the Discovery, having a really unlucky rail going into a double towards the end of the course. He’s another rather tall lad and very athletic with his hind legs over a fence, this can sometimes leave him a little on his shoulder on the take-off stride. I’ve been working hard to get him to ‘sit’ on his hind legs more and not run through the hand, which leads him to be too close to the fence. This is always tricky as the natural reaction is to go to your hand, which makes them grab the bit and put their head in the air causing more imbalance… ideally you need to encourage them with the use of lots of grid work, transitions and keeping your body weight back behind their movement. With lots of repetition, the work is starting to pay off in the ring.
Ash is now cantering and starting proper schooling sessions. We’ve steadily been working away with him, and are really pleased with how he’s looking. He’s feeling so well in himself! Too well some days! With the ground conditions terrible at the moment, we are holding off making any plans really, there’s no rush with him… we already know he’s a superstar! We will get another vet check towards the end of the month, and then go from there.
We also have some very exciting news… with the help of my mum and dad, we now own Ash and Mindy! We simply can’t thank them enough for their unwavering support.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank British Horse Feeds for the continued support, particularly over the last few months, which have been incredibly tough.
Let’s hope the dark days are over, and the sunshine is just around the corner…
Kick on, and stay safe!
We’ve also been over in Holland to watch the young horse classes and view a few stallions which we might use for 2019, but it’s still early days.
Back at home we’ve been really busy, we have three mares to foal. Cappuccino is due April 5, and she was showing some signs so I actually delayed my blog just in case I could share the new arrival, but nothing else has happened so maybe she’s waiting for the 5th as it’s my birthday!
Hopefully when the three foals have arrived we will have a small open day, it’s so exciting, but sadly we won’t be able to keep any of the foals, so they will go on the market as they are all very well bred.
We have a few holiday horses in to school while one of our clients is away in Orlando. Shadow and Ferdi have joined us, and last week we had Izzy staying over, for a week’s riding after throwing her owner off, she’s now gone home with one happy owner, and is now going really well.
Well guys I have to say… I have booked a holiday too! Just a short break with my one-year-old Frankie and sister, Julia, to Vilamoura in the Algarve.
Any way it’s time for me to say good bye and keep dry….. ha ha!
Woooohoooo! This month started with the best news for Stanley and I… To go alongside our qualification for the straight test we got a wildcard for the Elementary Freestyle at the Nationals! After the uncertainty of the last year I am just thrilled we get to go back there and trot under the arch into the big arena! I have zero expectations but we will go and enjoy ourselves and try our best. I think some of the tests may be live streamed so I will try and keep you updated and please keep your fingers crossed for us!
After the second round of snow disappeared, much to Stanley’s disappointment as he loves making snow angels, we were able to get back to business.
We have had lots of lessons this month with Sara-Jane Lanning and also with his breeder, Sarah Ansty, in preparation for April. At the start of the month we carried on pushing forwards with our training trying to get a little more ‘sit and push’ and working on some harder movements.
The sneaky Sara-Jane had us run through Advanced Medium 98 without really realizing what we were doing – yes there were mistakes and yes there are loads of bits we could do better. BUT we did it! The lessons towards the end of the month have been reined back in a little; we certainly didn’t want to embed the changes in his mind! We have been focusing on his basic way of going, trying to polish up all the elementary movements and ensuring he’s as soft and supple as possible.
We have had some great results this month, getting plus 70% scores in all our Elementary 59 tests and a collection of red rosettes. We also got a PB at Medium just missing out on the 70% goal by 0.4%. We have achieved our Summer Regional Medium qualification now so have a couple of goals in mind for May after he has had a little downtime. You can follow us on Facebook – H.B.Equestrian to keep up to date!
Our final competition pre-nationals wasn’t quite as confidence providing as I had hoped, however it was very beneficial. We got a good mark, we got a good placing, but I am a perfectionist and I know it could have been better! I over rode the trot work and Stanley got quite tight in the neck and lost suppleness – then I got behind my music and panicked which spoilt some of our movements. Oh well, an important lesson to learn and definitely at the right time! One week to go and counting…
Apart from our lessons, Stanley has not done much at all, we have hacked on the roads but it has been impossible to go ‘off-roading’ and he has had limited field time just going out for a few hours each day, not ideal as I like him to be out and moving, but I have never known rain like it and most of our fields resemble swimming pools at the moment! I really hope that by our next blog the ground will have dried up a bit and those poor souls trying to start their event seasons may have finally got under way! For now, stay safe, dig out the armbands and just keep swimming!
Robbie hasn’t been eventing in nine months – I was so happy with him that he jumped straight back into the swing of things with an Open Novice at Oasby. I was a little worried about how it would go but Robbie picked up pretty much where we left off last season! Although the weather wasn’t great, as always, he tried his best in the dressage phase. We then went on to have an unfortunate pole in the showjumping (which was totally my fault!) and jumped clear xc! It was a wet, cold and muddy day with lorries being towed on and off the site. Luckily, we got in ok, but had to be towed out!
We stepped up a level early in the season to Intermediate Novice at Great Witchingham. It was a mixed day for us, we are really green at this level but I was very pleased with how Robbie performed in a trickier Intermediate dressage test. We then had a totally pants showjumping warm up and round, (1.20m!!! Eeek!!) but a fab clear xc… I then got back to the lorry to realise I’d ridden with my money in my breeches pocket and lost £40!! Highs and lows of eventing aye!?
We took Alaska, my puppy, with us to both events. She is loving the eventing life and has taken to being “lorry dog” amazingly well.
Numerous people, whilst at events, have admired her and said how cute she is!
This week we are holding an Easter yard day with the pony clubbers to include our crazy annual egg hunt. I’m already kicking on towards preparing for our next event now! Hopefully the weather will stay fine for us!