At long last, Robbie and I got to go to our first BE event of the season last week!
Sadly, I didn’t get in at Oasby, and have also been balloted from Belton, AND we’re currently sat on the waitlist for Norton Disney. So the start of the season hasn’t gone completely to plan. However, Robbie and I had a great time at Great Witchingham last Friday (although HC!) we were both very pleased to be back out, and Robbie jumped a double clear for me around the BE100 to get us both back into the swing of things! Of course, Robbie took great pride in showing off his brand new Speedi-Beet/Fibre-Beet saddle cloth!
My Auntie from America is currently staying with us for a month, she has been a massive help with the horses and with day-to-day yard jobs! She last came over two years ago, around about the time I was preparing for our very first 1*. She came out to watch me compete at a Novice leading up to it and spent time in the mornings helping me to teach Robbie to rein back, which at the time, we really struggled with, so it’s lovely to be able to show my Auntie how we’ve progressed two years on!
There’s been lots going on around the yard. At the moment, we’re renovating our “little school” which we use for beginner lessons or lunging. As always, one job leads into another, so we’ve also taken down the huge trees at the end of the arena and started to put in a track behind it ready to lead to a future new haybarn. We’ve also spent time re-fencing paddocks and I’ve finally got my little conifers and flowers in their pots on the paving outside of the stables. They look so cute!
Yesterday I passed my PTT exam, which I’m so relieved about and excited to add another title to my qualifications! Personally, I believe every riding instructor/coach should have some form of qualification to teach and now I’ve reached all of my exam goals, it feels like a big weight from my shoulders – although I’d still be tempted to have a bash at the level 3 UKCC if I had the opportunity to. I’d quite like to run some clinics this summer from my base at home and make use of the xc course and the facilities we have as well as my usual daily lessons.
Tomorrow is a busy day at the yard, I have two lessons with Tiny booked – one on Robbie and the other on Alice. We also have five of the horses having their backs checked ready for a busy summer ahead.
On that note, I’m now off to tack clean ready for my lessons!
Look forward to catching up with more of our antics in April,
This month has been all about Tilly and her health, with lots of checkups. We started with the dentist, who took off some sharp points. As we sedate Tilly, to make it a less traumatic experience for her, I always take her to the vets to have her teeth done. Delighted to say that we needed less sedation this time and Tilly was a very good girl.
Next it was the back lady who found some sore spots on Tillys hindquarters, probably from the horribly deep ground the last time we went out. This meant a couple of weeks of straight lines, no jumping, and floor pole work to get her lifting and working her back legs.
This was followed by a visit from our saddle fitter who added some flocking to the front of Tillys saddle, due to the fact that Tilly has changed so much in shape over the last year and the original new flocking has packed down. Tilly is no longer a round, small wither cob, she actually has fairly decent withers now. This has also effected the fit of her side saddle and has resulted in us purchasing a narrower saddle, which is just in for a check over and work before we can use it.
We then attended our very first polework clinic with the lovely ladies from EKKO Equestrian. Was a fabulous lesson working on getting Tilly to really use herself and think about where her feet were.
The month finished off with our first side saddle show of the season, where we came 6th in the Adult Open Equitation class.
Preparation for a show requires a lot of work. This is a photo to show the before and after of her white socks for the show.
Catch up next month!
Jennie and Tilly
I love writing this diary; reflecting each month at what we have achieved is really fulfilling. With horses we are so focussed on the future, the next adventure, the continuous improvement that sometimes it’s easy to forget just how much difference a month makes.
March started for us with the best news; after a long day at work I looked at my phone and hurried off to tell Stanley what a superstar he is. Absolutely delighted to have a call from British Dressage letting us know we had been given a wildcard for the Elementary Freestyle at the Winter Championships in April.
I am so lucky to have an amazing team of sponsors, supporters and professionals who help me live my crazy double life of work and horse with such success and also incredibly lucky to have such a genuine, talented horse who has qualified for a second year running.
Last year holds so many special memories for us and we will go back this year with our heads held high, hope Mum is there to dance with us and enjoy every moment because you never know what’s round the corner
The following weekend while my poor sister ran a half marathon Stanley and I took the easy option and went to play dressage at Pachesham EC. He was super in the elementary and consolidated our last few outings by winning with a super 72.3% despite a big error. He was firing on all cylinders and even got an 8.5 for his medium trot!
We had another go at a Medium 73 and were pleased with a score of 65.5% with encouraging comments. Lots to like, just lots to improve and tidy up too. He loses a little suppleness as the work gets harder but its nothing that won’t be ironed out as he gets stronger and more confident. We did gain more points towards summer Regional qualification and should only need one more outing to finish qualification now. About time we started putting together some Medium music I think to try and qualify for that level for next winter too.
The weeks have been filled with before work Biomechanics sessions for me working on creating a stable core with independent legs; I am really starting to feel the difference when I ride now so the motivation is at an all time high. It is really difficult some days to ensure I use every muscle possible to make me ride better but wow can you feel a difference in his way of going! After work is lesson lesson lessons- we are cramming before our trip in April!
My trainers are all helping me work towards the same thing, achieving greater collection whilst maintaining energy and uphill balance which allows him to sit and step under himself more. I had the biggest smile on my face after one of my lessons with Sara-Jane Lanning he felt amazing and moments of his work were just brilliant, he felt incredibly grown up. I’m not sure my stomach muscles had so much fun mind who knew riding properly was so tiring!
We finished a month of hard work running through our music at our final competition before we go to Hartpury. Stanley once again rose to the occasion reminding me why we keep going when the world seems tough. Winning the Elementary on an amazing score of 75.9%. I love the smile he has on his face while we dance; he loves doing it to his music as much as I do. A brilliant final outing before the Nationals, we are ready to go and give it our best shot now. Lets hope Aprils update is equally as positive but whatever happens we will enjoy filling you all in on our trip away! As I said at New Year. Have fun and dream big – you never know where life will take you!
Wowzers! This has been a totally crazy few weeks!! We’ve had our first BE runs at Oasby – Open Novice for Ash, the 100 with Heidi, then onto Lincoln with Ash – Open Intermediate and Stafford for Heidi, plus primary focus the European 2* GBR team! It’s just so incredibly exciting…. we have been down to our first training camp last week.
It was great to meet up with everyone and be put through our paces – whilst secretly checking out the competition . The team test riding takes a bit of getting used to as the total priority is ‘the dressing’ – which is all about keeping the spacing even and the overall appearance of the team harmony. We were allocated the anchor position as Ash has an incredible scope to his stride, he finds shortening and lengthening easy and has really good natural rhythm so it’s easier for us to close up or down to keep ‘the dressing’ perfect. There’s lots to take in, and suprisingly to be honest, it’s quiet tiring as you need to focus 100% mentally.
The afternoon session was jumping – yippee! We were put through our paces by Jonathan Chapman and Gary Parsonage. I was really happy with how we performed throughout the camp, especially as we’d been at Lincoln for our first Intermediate two days previously so Ash was a little tired.
It was great to be kicking off the season. Oasby was ‘character building’ for Heidi. She put in a good solid dressage test for 35 – I was really pleased with how she’d progressed and felt seriously impressive during some of the work. Tension crept in, in places, but on the whole we are definitely heading in the right direction. She’s still very weak, and is taking longer to mature as she’s so tall, but when it all comes, she’s going to be fabulous. An eventful showjumping to say the least…. after warming up beautifully, we jumped the first three fences with ease, then suddenly we both ended up on the floor after she slipped on after doing a beautiful flying change on a slight corner.
We both got up, and were thankfully fine, but I was genuinely gutted as she tries so hard to please and really didn’t deserve that! Ash’s Open Novice run was foot perfect – double clear and a 6th place! Having been suffering with the most horrendous mud fever, as mentioned before, we’ve not been able to xc school as much as I’d like, so I was delighted that he literally cruised around making it all feel so easy, and totally on our lines!
Lincoln was very, very windy – so much so that dressage boards had to be pegged down – despite this they were lifting and flapping, so I was doubtful that Mr Spooky would not see attack dragons hiding everywhere!! I was actually thrilled as he really held it together, and whilst a little tense in places, he performed a nice and correct test …. growing up at last I thought!! On to the showjumping, which was big and technical which usually suits us. With flowers, fillers and pots billowing in the gale I was worried the attack dragon might appear…. and it did at fence 3!! In fairness as we turned the corner, the filler swung and the flowers decorating the fence swung too…. all a bit much for Ash who turned on his heel and thought…. RUN! After a cheeky moment, we regained composure and continued jumping around beautifully. I can’t hide that I was tad disappointed – I’m very competitive!! Again, to my delight we cruised around a xc that asked plenty of questions for an early season run.
Onto the mud bath that was Stafford for Heidi after a quick last minute reroute following our tip-up. In fairness the organisers did such a fabulous job to make the event continue after such a large deluge of rain, but, conditions were far from ideal for our 17.2 leggy grey bird! The dressage warm-up resembled a fresh plough, the arenas – well, lets just say we slipped, slid and squelched our way to complete it but it was not our finest work. The score was harsh – give us a break, can you see what we are having to deal with I felt like screaming at the score board! She cruised around the other two phases, rolling an unlucky pole in the showjumping but making the xc feel very easy. The following day she trotted quite stiff all round, which is very unlike her as she’s very hardy, so a quick call to Tomma Spilman our McTimony Chiropractor and thankfully a slot was booked. It turned out she was very, very sore most probably from our fall, so a few quiet weeks for her. She’s got such a fab work ethic and is a complete pleasure to do on the yard. Her time will come, I’m sure of it.
We’ve also managed squeeze in – I don’t know actually how – our first Mark Todd Bridging The Gap training session with Gill Watson It’s a programme designed by BE to help riders making the transition from 2* up to 3* – it was fab, I really enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to taking part in more over the coming months.
Heading to Withington Manor next…..
Kick-on and stay safe!
P.S. Hot off the press – We’ve just got back from a fabulous Belton International where Ash had his first CIC2* run of the season. We finished 8th in seriously talented company – we are just thrilled! Full report next month 🙂
This month has been very exciting for me and QD horses, as I have recently just started riding again, on Rocky, my sisters coloured horse. He’s an Irish boy and pretty safe to start back riding on. I’ve ridden for about five days now, I am totally shocked how my legs are so wobbly am sure by next week I will be feeling stronger.
We have brought in Golly and Jerry again, these two cheeky three year -lds keep having holidays! We plan to take them to Bramham for the sports horse classes in hand. Just need to handle them and practice our in-hand technique!
Most exciting news is the new arrival to QD horses – on 21 March a little chestnut colt was born! The mare must of popped him out in less than eight minutes – wow! He’s now a week old and the most bold foal we’e ever had. He causes mayhem in the yard, jumps out, plays football and eats Fibre-beet already!! He’s called Freddie, by Governor (TOTILAS ) out of jumping mother line Veron x Indoctro. We still need to think of a super Official name.
Next month we have a dressage clinic at QD horses with top Judge Andrea Smith! So we will keep you all posted on our training!
Love Sarah & QD horses!
Finally the start of the event season that we have all been waiting for!! Everything was cleaned, Harry plaited and the lorry loaded ready for the first event of the season. I was headed to Aldon for the CIC1* with Harry for a nice easy first run to get back into the swing of thing.! Unfortunately, my hopes of a nice easy completion were not to be. Having done a good dressage test and show jumped clear, Harry very uncharacteristically was not feeling the cross country for some reason and after a stop at a very straightforward fence I decided that he didn’t feel quite right and pulled him up. Not quite the first event I had hoped for. I can only think that something must still be amiss following his virus and illness at the end of last season and over winter. He is usually such a cross country machine! We will be running some tests over the Easter holidays to try and get to the bottom of this issue. Hopefully it is nothing too serious and we will be back up and running very soon!
Other scary news is that I have very nearly finished my last year at uni! Just the Easter holidays and then exams to get through! I am looking forward to going home and having a chance to do some more with Rosie and get her out and about. Hopefully I will be able to take her to some pong club rallies and start her off with her jumping!
Unfortunately due to Harry not being 100% I have no events entered yet but hopefully we can figure out what’s wrong and get started again with the event season!!
At the beginning of this month I went to Felbridge and got a double clear in the 1m and was 5th. Also this month the new clothing arrived which was just in time for the team relay at Brendon Stud and we were flying, but unfortunately one of our team members had a pole so added some time to our total time.
On the 25th I went to Felbridge with Brendon stud but unfortunately had a few poles but looking forward to the four day shows at work.