Speedi-Beet Team – January Updates

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Gosh, I blinked and January 2016 has already been and gone!

We’ve been really busy training and getting out to some show
jumping shows over the past few weeks. Ash and I had our training session with
Ruth earlier this month; it was great to get back out training, I’ve missed it.
I’ve worked really hard over the winter improving the quality and consistency
of the contact [the feel down both reins being even] and getting the
straightness nailed… and I think at last we are getting somewhere! Our
session this time started with a quick review of progress and aims for the 2016
season – and let me tell you…we are aiming HIGH! Our session focused on
improving the quality of Ash’s hind leg step. As he is so powerful, he tends to
power along with this big open and flashy step… “how nice” I hear you all
say… and it is quite lovely to be honest, BUT, as we progress, the movements
required at higher levels require the dreaded ‘collection’ (!!!!) so we want him
to create less forward power and more upward lift. It all sounds very easy on
paper, but it’s really challenging physically and mentally for Ash. When he’s
concentrating – aka not spooking! – the quality of his work at the moment is
fabulous and so rewarding. He’s been a really tricky monkey to train to be
honest, he’s so sensitive and can be incredibly sharp and terribly spooky
sometimes, but his work ethic is just brilliant and he never fails to make me
smile…. in the end!

We’ve had successful outings to our local British
Showjumping centres, with lovely double clears for new ride Vinnie, whom I’m
riding for my friend Izzy, our rising five-year-old Calvin and Ash – we’ve even
managed to come away a few times in profit! Hurrah! This last weekend, although
we had a bit of a four fault day, Ash went and straight into the Newcomers
(1.10m) class indoors, at a venue where he hasn’t jumped since starting out. So
I was really pleased with him, despite having a silly rail over the terribly
spooky dragon infested water tray!

As we approach the forthcoming season, I’m starting to step
up the fitness work with Ash and looking to venture onto the gallops for the
first time.  I’m not one for galloping
horses unnecessarily and don’t believe they need to ‘gallop’ or interval train
until Novice level. They should have enough base fitness to compete at BE100
level through their day to day training and exercise routine. We’ll start off
with one trip a week, then this will increase to every fifth day as we go
through the season and head towards Intermediate level.

The early season events have opened their entries….. it’s
nearly here…. 

Kick on, and stay safe!

Steve

Happy New Year! I hope everyone’s year got off to a more
promising start than mine… on New Year’s Day I broke my foot!

Jason had a week off training over Christmas, and with
hindsight it really didn’t do him any good because he became very clingy to his
best friend. So when it was time to bring them in from the field one day, Jason
(the usually chilled out gentleman) panicked at the prospect of being left
alone in the field and barged, I was stuck in the mud and couldn’t move out of
the way fast enough. All winter I’ve known that mud swamp had my name on it! So
Jason’s short holiday at the end of the year has turned in to over a month off
work.

 

With training on the back burner for the time being and very
restricted turnout both Jason and my youngster Ferdy became very bored on
livery and we weren’t able to utilise the training facilities anyway, so we
moved them back home. They were very happy to be back, but this is only a very
short term plan. Since my boys went away on livery I have filled their old
stables, so they have been thrown out in a field 24/7, which is really putting
Fibre-Beet to the test!

It really does feel like it’s always one step forward and
two steps back, but with all this doom and gloom there is a glimmer of hope on
the horizon and things looks set to improve in a major way. Never mind small
steps forward – if things go to plan this would be a giant leap forward! Last
week I visited a very special yard to discuss my training requirements with an
international dressage trainer, which is very exciting indeed… could this be
the change of luck we’ve been waiting so long for?

Until next time…

Sophie

Not much to report this month; with working every other
weekend and having bad weather or other things to do I haven’t had a chance to
even look at any shows to go to with Pumpkin. I did ride at one show though on
my instructor’s horse Molly. We competed in the novice class at the BSPA New
Year show at World Horse Welfare. I rode her the week before the show which was
the first time I’d ridden her since a dressage to music demo around this time
last year! She is very different to Pumpkin! We came 3rd in our class and I
enjoyed riding her again.

Pumpkin has just been hacking and schooling, we had a lesson
yesterday where we practised our medium trots, leg yielding, shoulder in and
sitting trot (I can’t walk properly today!). She was clipped as well and looks
very smart. Sometimes it is hard to tell how she looks weight/muscle wise under
all the fluff she grows but after clipping she looks amazing!

There is some big news though this month. I am moving to
Warwickshire! My partner lives there and we have been living three hours apart
all week for the last year. We now have somewhere to live together so me and of
course Pumpkin are both moving to about seven miles south of
Stratford-Upon-Avon. I have found a lovely livery for Pumpkin and this is
actually a much better location in the country for us to get to a lot more
Senior Showing Olympia qualifiers! We are moving the first weekend in March so
look out next month for pictures and the story of our big move from home.

So at the start of the year I went up to Liverpool
International Horse Show run by Nina Barber and her team, where I was arena
party with Bob Ellis and Kevin Furniss and a few more. Although it was very
tiring it was great fun and I learnt some interesting things.

Once I had got back from Liverpool I brought Spirit back in
from her Christmas holiday and concentrated on our flat work which has come
along nicely and are looking forward to the KW Academy training.

The first KW Academy was this month but unfortunately was
postponed due to the snow and will be moved to a later date. Instead we had a
course building and course walk session with a gathering to get to know the
other members and more about the Academy.

My sister and I hired out the Fred arena at Brendon’s Stud
and had a schooling round and it was a good start to getting back into the
jumping season.

My Pony Club have produced a team selection day which I
participated in too and aimed to be in the open team once again.  I am looking forward to further
training.  

I’m well and truly back into the swing of uni life and
enjoying having the lovely Harry down here with me! He was extremely full of
energy when he first came back and managed to deck me, in full view of all the
college students, who were enjoying their breakfast on the 2nd day back….naughty
boy!

Thankfully he has now settled down into the routine here and
is behaving himself at the moment….fingers crossed. It has been great to
finally get to make use of the fantastic set up here with the academy and I
have had a couple of really good lessons with Lizzel Winter. Including Harry’s
first jump since Osberton back in October! 
I also had an amazing lesson with Carl Hester organised by the academy!
He was brilliant, and despite questioning whether I actually knew how to use my
legs and referring to my left hand as a ‘handbag’ hand, he soon sorted me out
and had Harry going like a proper little dressage horse with a rather lovely
and impressive trot! 

I have entered my first competition; the JAS at Hartpury so
am looking forward to getting in the ring again, but not before a visit to
Carl’s yard on Thursday and a spot of unaffiliated dressage! I have also been
asked to ride in the BHS convention and the Pony Club instructors’ conference
so I hope Harry is on his best behaviour!

Well OMG what a busy month I’m having, since Christmas and
visiting my doctor, he gave me the all clear to carry on with the horses, which
I was doing but very steady away of course!

Pikkert and I have been rocking and rolling to our freestyle
to music, super half passes now, lovely changes, just need to master my sitting
trot, not easy when you have a head injury. It’s far easier to do rising. If
only I could. Really excited to compete Pikkert again, I hope we are fit and
healthy for the regionals.

Now back to the QD boys. D’artagnan (Ted) went to his first
show of 2016 and came home with a first and second, half qualified for his
regionals, what a good boy. I also had some test riding advice from Andrea
Smith at home and at a local indoor, it’s really interesting listening to
Andrea, she has given me some very useful tips which I am going to use in my
tests.

Morris (QD esquire) is trying his hardest, it’s not easy
being Asthmatic, and still on recover from his colic surgery, he’s come back
into some lovely work, we still need him fitter, he’s been treated to some Physio
from Anoush at Equine Performance Therapy! He loves this.

Now for my little cheeky monkey face, Jack the stallion,
he’s so powerful, and boy he’s feeling good! We have completed our long reining
and lunging, and so today was the day to sit on him, he was cracking, really
good. We rode around the arena, then he saw himself in the mirror and got so
giddy over himself! I mean really Jack that is you! So happy with him he’s a
star in the making.

We have just started bringing babies in for handling and
have now got the lovely Diamond in; he’s a three-year-old by Sir Donnerhall, a
really stunning horse which can really dance. Sadly he will be for sale as we have
too many!

In the next month hopefully I will be able to share more
shows with you all. It’s been pretty hairy outside with all these gales, so
note to all riders to stay safe.

I would like to take the chance to wish all my team members
and readers all the best of luck for your competition season.

Love Sarah, Pikkert & all the QD horses

Hello everyone,

 I hope you have all
had a great start to the New Year, I certainly have!

Charlie had a week off after me being ill over my 18th
birthday (which was really annoying) during the middle of January; we were
dreading his flatwork may have come undone but he seems to have come back
better than ever. His flatwork has improved loads; he is more manoeuvrable in
his trot and canter, his transitions are so much sharper, he is carrying
himself nicely and his jump is coming along really well. We were practising
walk to canter and changing the leg quickly (although he can do flying changes,
which we are also improving on), and we practised grids where Charlie jumped
out of his skin and landed on the correct lead every time and came back after
each jump.

We are hopefully going to enter Askham Bryan BE80 in March,
Breckenbrough BE90 in April and Northallerton BE80, also in April. We will also
be competing at Port Royal show jumping and dressage tests just to keep his
dressage scores up and get some more valuable feedback from the judges.

Charlie is also looking very well at the moment, although I
do feel sorry for him for not being turned out the last couple of days due to
high winds and gales. But by next week, hopefully all should be better.
February will be a chance to squeeze in some last minute practise before the
events which will be beneficial just to get him out again and used to the
competitive surroundings.

We are very happy with the Speedi-Beet feed and what it does
for Charlie; we have seen a nutritionist who said to carry on feeding him
Speedi-Beet, it must be doing wonders!

Hi all,

Yet again another very slow month, Prince has moved back to
his old home now so we don’t have much chance for training in the light.

We’ve been doing a lot of hacking and had our first winter
canter across the stubble field since he moved three months ago which was
(surprisingly) fairly sensible!

 We’ve mainly been
doing fitness work for hunting on the 4th February, lots of trot work and a few
sneaky canters down the grass verges.

But, hacking shouldn’t be wandering around the road with
your horse’s nose in the air. There are many ways to school your horse while
out hacking that can help with eventing, so I make the most of the
opportunities whilst out hacking.

Leg yielding can help greatly with flexibility; it’s not too
difficult either. So, to begin ensure you have a good straight walk – use the
hedge to ensure you are straight. Have a slight inside bend, but this time as
the horse will move the opposite way to the bend, the bend will need to be
towards the hedge. You can encourage this by using your inside leg and gently
closing your hands around the inside rein and releasing, while keeping the
outside rein in hand.

Then you can ask for the sideways movement. Gentle squeeze
and release with your inside leg, slightly behind the girth. Your horse will
move away from the pressure into your outside rein. Keep your outside rein
against their neck, to prevent you losing their shoulder. Your outside leg should
remain still, but used to keep your horse moving forward, if needed.

Another good one is hill work; it’s a saviour for fitness and
its good fun!

You can either go up hills – walking and trotting can help
strengthen the legs, while galloping works the back and quarter muscles (don’t
overdo this and only attempt if your horse is already fit and use to hill
work).

Or, if you have space, you can go across the side of the
hill. The differences in gradient will help you horses balance, agility and
co-ordination and help them become more sure-footed.

However, make sure you introduce hill work slowly to your
horse’s routine – it is physically demanding and so can leave them stiff if not
worked up to slowly and correctly.

Hope those tips help, but don’t forget that the road is a
great place to practice most movements provided it is quiet, as it doesn’t end…
if you don’t get it at first, just keep practicing.

Speak to you all next month and keep hacking!

The start of January was the time for a spring clean in the
yard; tackroom tidy, stables washed and scrubbed and the horses tidied up and
ready for a new season. Having read a comment in the Horse & Hound about
riding with no stirrups and one hand to improve balance and core strength it
seemed that during the spring clean I made it essential that this would be put
into practice by trying to slice off my thumb! Note to self, pay attention when
using mane rakes in future – they have a nasty bite! Apparently trying to
steri-strip it together is not appropriate when it’s a full thickness wound and
stitches were applied by the lovely long suffering Doctors at A&E, whoops!

After that unfortunate start my thumb is healing well,
riding with one hand is certainly harder than you think but also a very
powerful tool at ensuring the horse is truly connected and using their stomach
muscles. Lots more of it to be done in the future!

Regional’s preparation is well underway and Stanley is
getting fitter again after his little break at the end of December. He is
feeling amazing and I am so pleased with how he has wintered so far, a far cry
from the scrawny black pony we had at home last year. We are looking forward to
getting him on a weigh bridge to see just how much weight he has put on.

January brought the first show of 2016, I was really unsure
whether to go or not due to our preparation being somewhat hampered by the
‘lovely’ weather causing our woodchip arena to resemble something from ice age!
It also meant my lessons were cancelled and we spent most the week in walk.

However I decided that it would give us a really good
starting point for the year knowing what % we can get with little preparation
and no lessons for ages! The downside to having a beautiful yard on your own is
there is no-one to be your eyes on the ground, Dad tries but can’t always be
around and with no mirrors sometimes we just muddle through. Hence lessons and
judges opinions are so important at helping us move towards the next goal.

He tried really hard and 75% of the test was very consistent
and submissive. Unfortunately a misunderstanding in left canter meant he was a
bit tense and went behind the leg (our nemesis but at least it was only left
canter and not the whole test) we corrected it as we went to right canter and
he went nice and forward again. I also was a little test rusty and didn’t
prepare him as well as I could of for certain movement. Pleased to finish 4th
with 68.6% but more pleased with how much his contact and push from behind is
developing, he is taking the rein now and coming behind the vertical is getting
much lesson common.

We worked on movements from our test in my lesson the week
after this and I felt huge improvements which is promising. We also started
talking about trying to get him to work in a more consistently engaged way
keeping the forehand ‘up’ and carrying more weight behind – it seems so surreal
that my trainers now see him as a horse developed and strong enough to do this;
simply amazing but his muscle development is huge and ever improving.

Lots of lessons planned for the next month and a dressage to
music outing next weekend so hopefully we can right the wrongs and improve on
our score for the regional’s which are now only three weeks away! Good Luck to
all those competing and we hope February brings more sun and less of the wet
stuff!

January has been a bitter sweet month here at Roman Bank.

Very sadly and unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago we lost
one of our little ponies, Whisper, who we have owned for many, many years. I
used to take her out to local show jumping shows quite a lot before I got into
eventing. Really, she was the pony that gave me a taste of competing. We were
rushing around on the Sunday morning mucking out and getting ready to take
Hutch to a BD competition, she was out in the field munching away and then the
next minute, she was gone. Such a shock to us all, our vet thinks she possibly
had a heart attack or a problem internally. She was our main jumping pony for
our more competent riders in the riding school and although we could never
replace her, we had no choice but to start looking for a new pony to take over
her job.

Our riding school ponies have been amazing, each working
that extra bit harder to cover the lessons. We were pretty lucky that within a
week, we found a very sweet and suitable pony whom we picked up from Leicester
on Wednesday. (Crazily enough she belonged to a friend of Speedi-Beet Team
member Steve Garrod, small world aye!?) She’s been out hunting all winter and
I’d like her to build up a little more condition and muscle now that she has
changed jobs, so looking forward to watching her change shape on her new diet
of alfalfa, Speedi-Beet and topline conditioning nuts. We’ve named her Oakley
and on the afternoon that she arrived, nine of our pony club members arrived
early for their lessons/lecture to greet her with cuddles – she is loving all
the attention! She’ll spend a couple of weeks schooling with me before she goes
into lessons so we get  to know her a
little better…I’m hoping I’ll be able to take her around a couple of BE80’s
later in the year myself too.

I’d hoped to take Hutch and Robbie to another BD show
together at the start of the month, unfortunately that didn’t come off either
as the lorry failed it’s M.O.T on two silly little things, however it’s now all
fixed and passed ready for the event season. I’m looking to re-route Hutch,
again, and took Robbie to an arena ODE at Keysoe last weekend instead. I felt
quite unprepared for Robbie’s competition after all the goings on, but I
couldn’t have asked for much more from him! I felt he did a fair dressage test
and jumped a double clear in the 1m to place us 9th – he always tries his best
to cheer me up!

I had a lesson with Tiny Clapham, with both Robbie and Darcy,
and am looking forward to her coming back for some more training in February.
Also lessons with my regular dressage instructor too (who has helped me so
much!) on Alice. We’ve had the vet in for flu and tetanus jabs – getting
prepared and competition ready! And just before writing this blog, I’ve sat
down planning our next outings and even booked our first BE event of the year!
Lots happening on the yard too, we’ve now got solar panels on the stable roof
which means I can use my home-made solarium more often and look for a yard
washing machine for horse clothing! More building works going on….I’ll fill
you in more next month!

Coral x

So this month hasn’t gone as well as planned. On the 2nd we
had an arena cross country lesson with Ros which turned out to be quite
challenging with Harry having a few unnecessary stops and generally behaving
out of character. On the positive side his canter was looking much stronger and
our turns are looking a little neater.

Only a few days later I noticed Harry had some sore looking
pasterns, it was like an abscess had burst on both front feet, except there was
no abscess and there was no gunk the day before!? The only explanation we could
think was that his new over reach boots could have possibly rubbed although
he’d only worn them twice and had clean legs before and after exercise. After a
few days of hibi-scrubbing and mettanium cream, Harry was perking up although
still lame. I continued to walk him for 10 minutes every day and we’re now
doing some light work (mostly bending and stretching) but despite his legs
being almost completely cleaned up, Harry’s still not 100% sound. Luckily he’s
back to his normal character but doesn’t understand why he’s not allowed to go
galloping down the beach with his friends.

Ah well it’s not all been doom and gloom, at the beginning
of the month I had my 18th birthday! I had some lovely presents including a charm
bracelet, BE membership and my brother went all out and bought me an optimum
time event watch which I’m super excited to try out once Harry’s sound. I’ve
also had a couple of rides on Mum’s horse Summer who’s glad to step in and be
my back up horse once in a while!

At the moment it seems like a waiting game with Harry but
I’m sure we’ll be back on track soon and out competing hopefully.

Tilly has now had her second set of front shoes fitted, and
I am delighted to report (and to the relief of the farrier), that she was as
good this time as the first time, although not keen on the smoke.

I had another side saddle lesson where we were concentrating
on the fit of the side saddle, and with a few tweaks, we are now a lot happier
with the fit.

We had a lovely afternoon in the sun, when a friend came to
visit.  Apart from walking across a lorry
park, my friend has not seen Tilly being ridden side saddle, so we did a short
display for her. Next time, she is going to have a sit on the saddle.

We then had another side saddle lesson, but this time, it
was a jumping lesson. This lesson was at home, and as we only have a small
arena, we were only able to jump one or two jumps at a time.

The month then finished off with more arena eventing. The
Saturday we competed in the 80cm class, riding astride, but we were way too
slow. Next time I need to take the shorter routes and kick on.

Sunday was then the most exciting day. I had entered the
70cm class, and did it side saddle!!! This was the first time I had actually
jumped a course of jumps while riding side saddle and it was both very exciting
and very scary. This was the first time they had someone competing side saddle,
so there was a lot of interest and people watching, so nothing like a bit of
pressure, haha.

I went into the ring, almost feeling sick with nerves and
approached the first show jump with a very determined face. Once I had got the
first jump over and done with, I started to relax and enjoy it, and by the last
jump, I had a massive grin on my face.

I was absolutely thrilled to discover that I had finished
only 0.71 seconds over the optimum time, so no placing, but so, so, close. Next
time, just a second faster, and I could win the class. 

Roll on, lots more side saddle fun this year.

Photos taken by my son:-

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153930726591934.1073741970.750911933&type=1&l=e6…

Official photos album:-

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153933257956934.1073741971.750911933&type=1&l=32…

Video of the entire arena eventing side saddle round:-

https://www.facebook.com/jennie.daniels.18/videos/10153928831186934/?l=8982311019415643564