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1st September

Had a lovely weekend filled with training which lets face it can often be more fun than competing as the pressure is off and you can appreciate the improvements! On Sunday I had a smashing dressage lesson with Stef Eardley. She was amazed how much Posy has improved since her last visit a month ago. This is something I think may be thanks to the new saddle as things really have looked up since that was fitted.

We worked on a variety of exercises to get her improved dressage marks. We then worked on walk to canter and back to walk. I explained I often struggled with the canter walk transition. Stef had a really good exercise of walking a 10m circle at E or B then cantering on the marker and continuing with a 20 meter circle. As you returned to the marker walking at the same time as starting a 10 meter circle. This really gets the horse to step through and under into the transition and they learn by repetition of the exercise. In the video clip we have already done the exercise on the other rein and she is starting to get the idea.

No rest for the wicked and instead of heading for home we went onto our jumping training Zoe Gwennup for a bit of the fun stuff. (That will be the next update!)

29th August

Took Posy to the Cornish Show Jumping Club’s show at Gwelavelan today. A venue that until now I haven’t been brave enough as it is in a huge field overlooking the North cliffs and quite an exciting place for young horses. It is a reflection of how far we have come together that we had a great time and she didn’t put a foot out of place. I was a bit worried though when I saw the powered hand glider heading in our direction!

The ground was the best I have jumped on all year. We just entered the Discovery and after a couple of not so great rounds and me lacking a bit of confidence I was really pleased with a smooth and easy double clear. Was very tempted with the Newcomers as well as it wasn’t the biggest but felt in the end that we just need to build up our confidence and I mustn’t get into the habit of pushing up particularly when our current aims are eventing at 90 level.

A lovely rosette (5th place) and a bit of prize money made the day even better. Have some training planned with Stef Eardley tomorrow to polish the dressage and Zoe Gwennup on Monday then hoping we can get cross country schooling a couple of times as we are now 2 weeks away from our first BE.  

27th August

Quite a contrast with Posy over the last day or two. Yesterday we went to Cornwall Trec’s evening dressage show. We did Prelim 18 and she produced a nice test for 76.5% and won a competitive class by 3%

Actually having spent so long trying to settle her it almost needed a bit more sparkle so I guess you just can’t win.

This evening I had fun with a friend playing in her school with some simulated xc fences and exercises. I was a little worried when hacking over to receive a text that Vanessa had got carried away designing the exercises!

The school is not huge so kept it small but had a simulated ditch rail, brush fence, skinny and angles. Posy found it very easy, the balance between the fence is not what it should be but the exercises she coped with well.

Trying to plan the weekend but as yet the forecasters can’t decide how much and where it is going to rain. There is a jumping show on grass weather permitting and I also have some training planned.

25th August

Picked Sarnie up from stud tonight and delighted that I was also allowed to borrow her bestest buddy Batty (these two hated each other for the first few weeks).

Sarnie was in her usual diva form rearing in the lorry when she though she was to be separated from her friend but was delighted when she came too.

However now I have two horses to feel responsible for and I am sat here writing this with the rain lashing down wondering if I made a mistake not putting rugs on tonight (it isn’t cold I know and there are good hedges but………….)

Hoping they can stay with me as long as possible and then both go back to Mel at Trenerth Stud for foaling. I have decided that I am not having the responsibility of foaling Sarnie she is just to precious.

Meanwhile with the rain lashing down there is nothing exciting to report on the ridden front. Hoping to do some dressage with Cornwall Trec tomorrow but wonder if the weather may have a say again. Weekend plans are also up in the air until we know what the weather is planning. Need to get some more cross country schooling in too but currently no chance!

22nd August

What a miserable day and weekend of weather! I know some parts of the country are scorching but in Cornwall in is wet and muggy with rain varying from hard to good old Cornish mizzle! In some ways it is not a bad thing to have a quiet weekend for Posy I am aware with Bobby not doing much I must be careful not to over compete her, however balance this with the fact she thrives on work and mental stimulation. I have finally deemed her ready to go to her first BE and entered West Wilts in mid September. Hopefully this can be followed by Pontispool and Bovington before she gets a month off. Hopefully this should set her up nicely to push on as a 6 year old.

19th August

Well the care and attention my horses get has been sadly been lacking this week and it is sack the owner time! Yesterday morning I arrived at the yard (Bobby is out at night and Posy by day) to find Posy wandering round the property! Some idiot (looks the other way) hadn’t shut her door properly the night before, although I think she had probably only discovered her freedom shortly before I got there. No major damage to Posy or the yard thankfully. There is a closed gate so at least she couldn’t leave the property and start heading back to Ireland.

Yesterday we went cross country schooling, only popped studs in behind and was booted and had over reach boots on. Today when I got her in from the field I noticed a front shoe missing, following an hour walking up and down the field it was not to be found! Slowly a suspicion was dawning on me that I may have lost it xc schooling and not noticed, sadly on close inspection of the video this appears to be the case. So some very shoddy stable management which cannot be repeated!

Anyway cross country schooling was very good. We did have some green moments early on and a misunderstanding at a fence that nearly resulted in me hitting the deck (luckily not recorded on camera). I guess it was in the early stage we may have lost a shoe! As we went on confidence grew and she really started to feel very classy.

Hoping to take her back to Chyverton as plenty of fences to progress to and reinforce the positive messages. Just need to get the shoe back on!

17 August - BS Tall Trees

Yesterday we headed to Tall Trees for a BS show. Tall Trees over the years always seems to be a good venue for me. I was still feeling a bit fragile after my confidence crisis last week resulting in over thinking my riding and a lack of confidence in my own ability. Although things were much improved we did have a moment warming up when her babyness and my riding resulted in a pole in the front legs and nearly a crash, however we built things up again and in the ring I was more than happy.

In the Discovery we finished 2nd with a double clear, I missed a turn after the penultimate which cost us a win but for once I was pleased with the performance.

In the 1.05 there was a tricky line to an upright and I just slightly over shortened which resulted in a rail but otherwise the round was good.

Still not quite to the bottom of the bitting issues, tried her in a jointed pelham at Tall Trees which whilst gave me enough in an arena she still wasn’t taking a great deal of notice. Will keep playing and seeing if I can find something she likes.

15 August

Struggling to keep up at the moment so I thought it may be a good time to give some excuses! Work (Health and Safety Enforcement) has been really busy and although I am used to starting at 7 I am also used to finishing at 3 which hasn’t been happening. Summer is always a busy time as Cornwall is packed and the complaints increase but I also am involved in a serious accident investigation which may end up in a prosecution, the investigation is similar to that the police would carry out. I am putting in a fair few extra hours which means I am getting to the horses later and arriving home later. Lacking motivation and time for things I usually enjoy such as updating the website.

Nothing major to report this week Bobby continues to tick over and we are currently trying some patches on him to try and help his nose rubbing. I am not sure how many more miracle cures I can try but you keep thinking there must be something out there to help him in the summer. I am seriously starting to look at selling him up country (where he may not rub) and to someone that would like predominately a hunting horse where I think he would excel galloping and jumping.

Posy had a few days off to get over Bicton and a chiropractic treatment from Dr Dave this week. I have had a play with some bits but it is hard to recreate the show situation in a quiet arena with a few poles. Off to Tall Trees tomorrow and we can see how things go then.

Hoping to do some more xc based schooling in the next few weeks and eyeing starting our BE campaign at either Treborough or West Wilts so watch this space.

11 August - Bicton

Bicton was a bit hit and miss this time, still enjoyed a few days away but came away a bit frustrated as one of those times we took 1 step forward and 3 steps back. I have identified the two biggest issues to address, my confidence in my own ability (or not) and bitting for Posy.

The main aim for the meeting had been to progress to jumping Newcomers consistently remembering we have already done a few before. In retrospect maybe day 1 in the Newbury grass arena which isn’t the easiest was not the best place to start. The courses were nice but well up to height and technical. The 1.05 was a good round but we just lost balance coming to the last off quite a difficult line and had it down.

In retrospect at that point I should probably have stepped back and done something easier, so easy to say with hindsight! I am someone that always wants to progress so we carried on and did the Newcomers which was again technical and bang up to height, the course was good the problem was the way I rode it. Once fences start to get out of my comfort zone (it has been a while since I consistently jumped this height) I can over ride and this is what I did seeing a couple of strides that just were not there and therefore rushing her into the bottom of the fence and taking the pole out, for a careful mare this is not the way to help her progress.

There followed the I can’t ride and I am ruining my horse tantrums. In all fairness I can’t do that too often and had a good talking to from friend and trainer Zoe (I think Mum disowned me at this point!) Seriously it has always been one of the biggest elements of my riding I struggle with - confidence in my own ability. Maybe it is time to look at the sports psychology again.  

So apologised profusely to Posy and vowed to do better the next day! The next day I jumped another 1.05 but this time in the all weather ‘Everys’ arena which has always been a good place for us to jump. I did pull out of the Newcomers though and entered instead a great new class they put on a 90cm Derby.

We jumped double clear in the 1.05 but I was starting to find steering and control an issue. She has been going sweetly in a Kimblewick but this hasn’t been the easiest for turning and she is starting to go back to leaning on the right hand.

Luckily as it was a warm day we had been able to jump early in the 1.05 and then Posy was able to put her feet up until teatime when we had our first go at a Derby. The biggest challenge was remembering the 22 numbered fences course (28 jumping efforts)! It including twice jumping out the ring, a devils dyke, a steep bank slope to a fence and a small jump on and off a bank. Wasn’t quite sure what Posy would make of it.

I needn’t have worried she was ace. A little unsure first time about jumping out the arena but from there on found it very easy. The steep slope back in the arena she happily came down and it was a case of slowing her not kicking her on. She did rather leap suspiciously off the little bank but made nothing of the dyke at the end. Again steering was difficult at times but there was plenty of room and despite being one of the slowest double clears we came 10th!

So the final day we just did one class and having learnt my lesson hoped to finish on a good note jumping the Discovery. The round doesn’t look as bad as it felt but basically she towed me round (maybe after the first day decided listening to mum is over rated) and I had a real job turning her. It is a testament to her jumping we made only one mistake.

So lots to work on with both horse and rider and lessons learnt.

5 August

Just packing ready to head off to Bicton tomorrow for another 3 day show jumping show. It is amazing how much we both come on each time and with the excellent facilities and fabulous organisation it is great fun too. Hoping to try and step up this time and focus on the 1.05 and 1.10 classes but the nice thing is we can easily step back if confidence, weather or any other random circumstance dictates!

Hoping my back and hip stand up to it. Ever since I tumbled off Bobby a month ago it has made everything stiff and painful. Sadly since my hip fracture my back, neck and hip can get quite temperamental, I regularly see a good local osteopath (amazing how if the horse needs treatment I don’t resent paying for that but I do my own) and at last I can turn my head properly and feel reasonably pain free (old and creaky before my time).

Will update on my return.

3 August

Escaped for a weekend of training to friend and trainer Zoe who put Posy and I through our paces. Mainly working on improving the contact which has never been the most even and really riding her forward to the contact. It was useful that as well as working in the school we also did a bit of work in the field and I was delighted how much more balanced Posy was on the undulations.

As the contact improved we were more consistently getting a better and slightly deeper spot to the jumps.

Still a long way to go and have to remember she is still only  5 and much as I want things to improve overnight they won’t! Hoping to jump a few Newcomers at Bicton this weekend but if the weather is unfavourable or we are not quite together then can easily take a step back.

July blog click here

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