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28 July

A mixed day off yesterday with 6 hours driving, 1 saddle fitting session and a lesson with Caroline Crieghton. Now I have known Posy needs a saddle and it is never easy to fit them both to her and me (my hip issues mean some saddles don’t work for me). The best person to fit saddles in my opinion is Nathaniel Underwood, he has years of training, is specialist in remedial saddle fitting and really has a great eye for matching horse and rider to the right saddle.

He checked the fit of my existing saddle and found as I suspected it was pinching her behind the wither. We sat a few saddle on her back and I proceeded to ride in 3 different saddles. The first was more of a XC saddle and too forward cut the second I really liked and Posy was very free in the 3rd although I liked it Posy was a bit less comfortable. So I now have a shiny new saddle. It is an Optimum Performance saddle which Nathaniel makes himself.

Much as I am delighted with it and relieved that Posy has something that is now comfortable for her and me, I hate spending money! Hoping that if I sell a few of my unused saddles I can recoup the funds! Particularly looking to the future when I have found Bobby a home I need to scrape the barrel for a replacement.

So having travelled to Chard for saddle fitting seemed silly not to make the journey count and on the way home we stopped at Warren Farm for a training session with Caroline Creighton. A quick treatment of the saddle with leather cream and it was put into action straight away.

We had quite a technical lesson no big jumps just working on a pole / circle exercise which needed good balance and rhythm. I was really pleased how well Posy coped.

We chatted again about the struggle I have getting changes and Caroline was fairly honest that I am not helping by not being straight due to my old injuries so we need to find ways round that.

26 July

Had a very positive dressage lesson with Stef Eardley yesterday. We really worked on supplying her up using a very interesting exercise. Stef made a square with poles that if you rode inside was a 10 meter circle, the poles certainly prevented any cheating. We started in walk on both reins discussing what the issues were, i.e. she falls onto the shoulder one way and drifts the other. So then worked on the corrections, on the right it was very much thinking a bit of quarters in. We progressed to doing this in trot (steadil) and then eventually to doing a figure of eight and focusing on the change of bend and making it smooth and not allowing her to drift or fall on her shoulder.

We finished by working on the canter. The clip below is best viewed with the sound on as there are a few important points that Stef gets across including not riding her like a 5 year old!

Tomorrow I have day off and we are heading up to Nathaniel Underwood to get a saddle sorted. It is something I always want to put off as long as possible as they are not a cheap bit of kit but I am aware the saddle I am using on Posy is tight behind the wither and that is not going to encourage her development. When I had Pip I left sourcing a saddle far too long and then felt guilty as it made such a difference.

25 July

Time to introduce my new eventer. Not that I can tell you much about him / her yet as only 30 days old in mummy’s tummy but has a heart beat and looking v healthy for this stage of development.

We have put in a request for a bay filly but as long as mum and baby are healthy we will be happy (4 limbs and one head would be a help too!)

I think the breeding should produce something with the potential to be a great Eventer . My Eclipse has super TB lines including Shaab and Sarnie has some of the best KWPN lines. Both have competed successfully so fingers crossed. We now have a very nervous 10 months to wait. I have already wimped out and Sarnie will be going back to Mel Hennah at Trenarth Stud to foal.

23 July

Sorry for the late update, my website building software had a major tantrum requiring an upgrade. Although we are back up and running I have a backlog of course pictures and formatting issues across the site which may take a while to correct. Any major issues please let me know.

So backtracking a little to last Thursday when we headed off for another 3 day show at Bicton. The main drama actually occurred on the first evening! By the time I escaped work and arrived bedded down etc it was fairly late evening. I wanted to work Posy and try a different bit so headed off to the all weather warm up and started working her. As I arrived the last people that had been using the school left so we had it all to ourselves. The entrance to the arena is situated below Bicton’s Webb arena,  what I didn’t realise was this was about to be watered. Suddenly shooting jets of water with a real pumping noise started. Poor Posy was terrified, I tried doing calming circles however the instinct was to jump off quickly before I was deposited - I did resist the temptation and stayed on board! She didn’t settle even after 5 minutes or so, luckily Mum had come to watch her work and was dispatched to get someone to turn it off (I couldn’t get out as the exit was by the water). We escaped in tact both dripping in sweat and me with no idea if she liked the bit or not!

Friday we were entered for our first class ever in the main arena a 1.05 class. Having raided my bit box I was trying her in a rubber Kimblewick which I have to say gave me more control without being over the top. The class was decent enough for the first class of the show and looking back I didn’t do a great job. With the extra control I had I went around in a pretty canter rather than a jumping canter. It was all too backward and came to a head in a related distance where she backed off a spooky fence and without the power we ended up coming to a halt.

I knew the round wasn’t exactly a disaster but as always the self doubts crept in and my confidence in my own ability took a knock!

It wasn’t until afternoon we jumped the Discovery class and with some help and support from Zoe we had a lot more forward round. It was single phase and I didn’t take any silly risks but cut a few corners on the jump off part so was delighted to finish 2nd in a class of of 70. Feeling happier at this point!

The following day we were back in the lovely huge main arena for a meter open class. This time I was determined to eliminate my mistakes of the previous morning. It was an early start as we were drawn 3rd to go with a 830 start.

The first 3 fences weren’t perfect, Posy is often a little green over 1 and then I hadn’t sorted my reins out by 2. Coming into the double at 3 I had rather a shocking line which was barely pointing at the second part! However once we had got those issues out the way things improved and she jumped super not touching a fence. Again I wasn’t silly in the jump off part but did angle a turn and move forward a bit. In an open class I wasn’t expecting to be place but delighted to finish 9th out of 80 starters.

That afternoon we did a 1.05 in the all weather arena and this time our more forward jumping caught us out making up too much distance in a related distance and clipping a rail behind.

The final day we only had one class entered another Discovery on the outdoor grass arena. Slightly frustrating end to the weekend show jumping as she went a bit green on me over number 4 (need to remember she is still 5) and had the back rail down, we circled and regrouped and she jumped the rest of the round very well.

So with our jumping finished and our long term goals in mind we changed gear and went into eventer mode and headed out on Bicton’s cross country course. Sadly we were slightly limited as away from the watered arenas the ground was very hard. This was my first serious XC schooling session with her and she was fabulous.

Started off with some small fences then went and played in the water. Water is the one area she can be a little reluctant she actually gives me the impression she may of had a bad experience with a bog or similar as she hates deep mud and is always looking to check her feet are not sinking, once in she is fine so lots of repetition and we will be fine.

Jumped fences before and after the water, brushes, combinations, steps and ditches as well as a decent corner. She was superb.

So I have actually started looking at the BE calendar and planning some events before the end of the season.

14th July

I gave into temptation and have booked to spend the weekend at Bicton show jumping again. It is such a well organised event with super courses and great organisation as well as superb ground seems silly to miss it! However this time I am also intending on making use of their cross country course and giving Posy a school. Hoping to jump a couple of classes in the main arena this time as there are some smaller classes there and will be great to get her in the huge arena and see a different set of jumps.

Just been reviewing some Shoestring statistics

I will admit sometimes when work and home is busy it can be a struggle to keep up but seeing the above makes it all worthwhile.

12th July

Sooner or later I will learn my lesson! I was riding Bobby back to his field on a long rein with mind elsewhere (patter of tiny hooves maybe) when there was a movement in the hedge, Bobby shot sideways and I was plonked on the ground. He then proceeded to quizzically look down at me with a “How did you get there expression”! No real damage done just a stiff neck, back and elbow!

Yesterday both horses had a treatment from Dr Dave Siemens (chiropractor) who helps keep my horses in tip top condition, that with a dentist visit last week and new shoes for both tomorrow has made a big dent in the old bank balance (or overdraft).

9th July

Amazing news today I had a call from my long suffering and fabulous vet Joe Ivey to say he had scanned Sarnie today and it looks like we will be expecting the patter of tiny feet! On what was our final attempt she has finally given in and in just over 10 months will be due to foal. Huge thanks also to Mel Hennah who has been so helpful while Sarnie has been at stud with her and taken the time to AI her 3 times during her last cycle and create an environment where she finally relaxed and learnt her broodmare role.

Very excited to see what is produced, My Eclipse is a TB stallion by Shaab with the most fantastic temperament and a good competition record himself. The TB should hopefully add some gallop to any Sarnie offspring which she always was a little short on.

My Eclipse

Stud card - here

So now the nerves start. I am sure after all the problems we have had getting this far then the chances of her absorbing or growing a foal with two heads is higher than average. The next step is a heartbeat scan in 2 weeks so hopefully at that point we will see things are progressing normally.

Please if everyone can keep fingers crossed for the next 10 and a half months it would be appreciated would love to see my superstar with a healthy mini version (whatever it looks like I can assure you she will think it is the best baby out there!)

8th July

Seem to have been at a bit of a loose end this week. Bobby can’t do too much at home and Posy is having a very deserved weeks break. Although only a short break I believe it does them the world of good just to have time to chill and hopefully consume all the good they have learnt and not plan the bad!!

I have a bit of a dilemma moving forward as to plans for the rest of the season. I would like to do a few events with Posy but she needs a fair bit of XC schooling and at the moment the ground is very solid. More immediately the good news is we have qualified for the bronze league semi final. This is a British Show Jumping league for horses jumping 90-110 and we are currently top in the South West region with a week of June results left to add. The top 15 qualify for the semi final which has 7 tickets to HOYS up for grabs. The qualifier will be red hot and full of horses that have won a lot of classes and probably have a lot more experience than Posy. I would love to have a go as the experience itself would do neither of us any harm.

I have just found out it is at Keysoe on the 8th August Keysoe is a lovely venue by all accounts but a horrid drive from Cornwall which I estimate will take about 8 hours if we don’t get problems in August weekend traffic. Even if we had a good journey up and broke it down with a overnight stop is a 5 year old going to be able to compete at her best in a strong class? It is an awful long way for a pole in the first round that is without considering the fuel and stabling costs to get there. On the other hand I probably won’t have a chance (however slim) of having a crack at a HOYS qualifier again certainly not with Posy who will change focus to eventing. I have a few weeks to think about it but really not sure what to do. Probably erring on the side of it asking too much of her.

We do have some other local finals to look forward to with the young horse final at Bicton in September and a local qualifier at Tall Trees with some good prizes.

 Hoping to get a few more training sessions in once Posy is back in work. Not so sure that we will be doing any more BYEH, would certainly consider it if it was more local but maybe not with the distance we need to travel.

4th July -Chepstow BYEH

Yesterday we did both Posy and my first Burghley Young Event Horse class at Chepstow Horse Trials. It was the day before the horse trials so quite a relaxed setting. We had to do a a shortened dressage test which was marked on impression out of 30, a 1.05 show jumping round marked out of 40, confirmation out of 12 and type out of 8 were assessed.  So we were seen by 3 different judges. For anyone interested the ‘Judging Guidelines’ are here .

As it was a 4 hour journey we set off the day before stopping for a lesson with Andrew Lovell on the way. Having packed for extreme heat I was a bit non plussed to have the lesson in the pouring rain and having a limited amount of change of clothes decided to dry out as I drove which didn’t work out that well as I was cold and damp for a good few hours!! I am very lucky to be able to stay in some beautiful stabling at a friends place overlooking Chepstow racecourse and the event itself. Posy certainly had a good night and was covered in shaving the next morning.

It was a long morning as we were not on until 15:35 and there is only so much time that plaiting, studs and tack cleaning can take yet it was too hot to head down too early. We arrived at 2pm and found a really relaxed competition with a well organised and friendly team running the day. The dressage and particularly the show jumping were on quite a slope adding a different dimension to the event as horses needed balance to cope with the slopes. The ground had been spiked but was still firm enough but the best it could be considering the weather, the day before's rain must of helped a bit.

I only gave her 15 minutes warming up as I had worked her that morning before it got hot. I jumped just two practice fences and went in. You have to use the same tack for both sections with no adjustments, so whilst you can wear front boots and a martingale for dressage you also have to use a snaffle for jumping which was fine as I currently do anyway.

We were marked as follows

Dressage 21/30

Show Jumping 33/40

Confirmation 9/12

Type 5/8

Total 68

I was delighted with the way she went, her behaviour and her performance. The dressage has plenty of improvement still but I think in both phases she showed potential. I have to admit to being a little disappointed with the scores having watched a few others I felt we deserved to be a little bit more competitive. 74 was the lowest score that made the top 10 and we ended just in the top half of those competing. One of the horses that had a better jumping mark than us and was indeed highly placed had 2 fences down.  

I guess at the end of the day it is my own rose tinted spectacles that made me a little disappointed with the result, we always feel our own are better than maybe they are!! It did leave me questioning the viability for me of BYEH having spent approximately 6 minutes being judged (I knew that before I entered not a complaint just a fact) but travelled 4 hours each way (well should have been), had an overnight stay, fuel costs and a £30 entry -  did we get enough out of it probably not. It would have been different if as we originally planned Bobby had come too to compete at the horse trials. Will have some serious consideration of whether we stick to the original plan and compete the BYEH classes at Gatcombe and Harptpury.

Sadly the journey home was not straightforward with queues in Bristol and then to cap it all the main trunk road into Cornwall the A30 was closed and the diversion route stationary, at over 5 hours into our journey we stopped at friend and trainer Zoe’s home for the night and had to complete the journey this morning.

2nd July

This was our dressage test from Cornwall Trec scoring 71.5% for 3rd, feel we are really making progress in this phase now.

1st July

Looking forward now to our first go at a Burghley Young Event Horse class at Chepstow on Friday. Hoping it is not too hot for travel and competition. Have already bought ice that can be shared in humans cold drinks, dog water and Posy for drinking, cooling and ice boots (need a bigger freezer compartment!).

We are preparing by doing a dressage test tonight at a local venue where Cornwall Trec are running a competition then I have a lesson with Andrew Lovell booked tomorrow on the way to Chepstow. Sounds like Friday will be a leisurely day with our time at 15.35. Think we are as prepared as we can be but looks like some good riders and very well bred horses entered  (class of 45), hoping we don’t look out of place and can at least finish middling.

Bobby meanwhile is not improving on the nose rubbing front although I have far from given up yet. I have a number of things still to try including using a Micklem bridle in the hope it sits in a different place on his head and doesn’t irritate the trigenial nerve.

I have also been given a supplement to try called ‘itch mix’  made  by The Herbal Horse who manufacture quality natural supplements. I am a bit sceptical that supplements can help him but when 3 different people have contacted me and said this has helped their horse with similar issues then it has to be worth a try.

I will let you know how we get on with both of the above soon.

28th June

Hope everyone is not getting bored but it is another show jumping report. Can’t give you the drama of “a good day on paper” or “if only we could get all 3 phases right on the same day”! We also maintained our consistent form (Long may it continue but it does lack in the entertainment factor)

We headed to Scorrier and Chacewater a very local show which jumps on good old turf grass fields, with the rain the night before the ground was pretty good. I may have said before but analysing our results we are twice as successful on a surface as we are on grass. I think this shows up her lack of balance when the ground undulates and as such we need more practice on the grass. As she can be a bit jolly I cheated and did a quick warm up at home to get her really listening before we made the 10 minute journey to the show.

We entered the Discovery (1m) and Newcomers (1.10m). The discovery she jumped her customary clear round as did most of the class. I think there were 9 in the jump off and we were drawn 1st to go. I angled some fences and kept my turns tight but didn’t do anything too dramatic.

It was good enough for 3rd  the two ahead of us were only a second quicker. The Newcomers was quite a twisty track and on the turn to 3 I just lost the shoulder and we jumped the fence a little crooked and then struggled to make the distance in the related causing us to have a pole. At 6 there was a big water tray which caused a major jinx and eyes out on stalks until she hopped over suspiciously having added an extra 2 strides in the process.

So a good educational day whilst still keeping up our record of good results. All systems go now for the BYEH at Chepstow on Friday.

24th June

Having eventing withdrawal systems and frustrated with the lack of immediate prospects of blowing the cobwebs away. People keep asking why I don’t event Posy yet but there are a number of considerations.

Saying all the above I am taking her to Chepstow for the Burghley Young Event Horse a week on Friday and then she will have a few weeks off. After that we will pick up the cross country schooling and try and aim for a few Autumn events so we can really come out the starting gates flying next year.

I doubt if Bobby will be able to event again this year which is depressing but it is not fair to put pressure on him and to be honest my ambition is not at the BE90 level but beyond that and with his rubbing issue it is not going to happen.

Be nice to find a fairy Godmother or an owner that wants their horse evented but even that can be difficult as I put a huge amount of pressure on myself to perform and then if I have an owner to please that can almost result in a meltdown!

Currently with an eventing website and an eventing passion I have done 6 events in the last 2  seasons and it is getting so frustrating. I often think about Pip (picture right) (who is doing great with her new owners) and should I have sold her when we were getting established at Intermediate? It was the sensible thing, her size and movement caused my hip huge discomfort which meant I couldn’t do her justice.  The hip has improved but I miss the chance to ride at the higher levels. For me BE90 and BE100 is a stepping stone and not my ambition I desperately want to get back to riding at Novice and Intermediate (and beyond) but also panic that age is not on my side being on the wrong side of 40!

Need to find my PMA (positive mental attitude) and get my backside in gear although currently I am not sure what I can do to change my prospects of eventing this year! No funds for another, one who can’t event and one that needs time. I guess as always this is a fair reflection on the struggles that all riders go through!

21st June - Posy back in the limelight

Posy was not allowing Bobby to take the limelight and it was her turn to jump today. The regular jumping over good courses is really getting our eye in, however after our BYEH in 2 weeks she will be having a couple of weeks off to take it all in.

Today we went to Colraine to jump the Discovery and our second Newcomers. The Discovery actually felt small but the customary clear round was forthcoming. Nearly everyone went clear so I decided after our success at Bicton to have a crack in the jump off.

Really pleased for her stage of education it was a super round and she made the turns very easily. It has to be said I seem to ride best in a jump off where I can really be positive. We won the class by 6 seconds so an excellent result.

The Newcomers was a decent track but not as frightening as last time, however a clear round and the jump off did look frightening particularly the upright which was the third fence in the jump off and was 1.25!!!

As you see she didn’t really read the lightweight rustic which was the first fence but after that she jumped superbly and made it feel very easy. Couldn’t be more delighted to have a double clear in only our second attempt at this class. It has been a long time since I did the bigger classes with Sarnie and Pip and it is certainly case of getting  my eye back in again! A few well deserved days off for Posy before we count down to a more eventing related competition with the Burghley Young Event Horse a week on Friday.

20th June - Bobby’s turn to shine!

Bobby has been a bit of a depressing subject of late. He has had a quiet 6 weeks whilst he has undergone acupuncture in an attempt to help his nose rubbing issue. Sadly this has had no effect and as the summer is progressing he is getting worse needing to throw his head at his leg to relieve the itch. We are pretty sure it is the trigenial nerve that causes head shaking that is giving him facial pain. Clearly the pollen in the summer is aggravating this and making the poor horse very uncomfortable. My vet looked again this week and whilst there is a few treatments we can still try realistically it is a problem that is not going to go away. Sadly currently eventing is not feasible as he won’t settle in the dressage as the uncomfortableness makes him want to rush his work and in walk and sometimes other paces he is flipping his head down to rub. Sadly I am contemplating selling him in the autumn to a suitable home that possibly want to hunt in the winter when he is fine and can manage or accept the summer issues.

On a more positive note it was time to get him out and see how he coped with some show jumping. Whilst he did some nose rubbing when we were walking around before and after his round once cantering in the ring he was fully focused on the job in hand and jumped very well.

We did the British Novice which was a Single Phase class. He was basically controlled and jumping super, in the second part fence 9 was an upright with a black pole above a yellow one and most of the class had it down. I therefore rode it so carefully that I pulled him right into the bottom of it where he didn’t have a hope of jumping it! Other than that we were clear and as the course didn’t jump well was good enough for 4th and his first money prize BS.

I was quite glad I didn’t take Posy as the ground was pretty hard she will jump on the surface at Colraine tomorrow.

19th June

Continuing where I left off (in the last post) we left Bicton on Monday morning and on our return journey we stopped at Andrew Lovell’s for a dressage lesson. Whilst Posy didn’t reckon the timing was great after her efforts at Bicton it seemed too good an opportunity to miss with Andrew only a few miles off our route home.

We worked on 2 main areas, the canter and starting to introduce some medium in the trot work. Sadly unlike the last lesson technology spoilt the video and we used headphones for the lesson which means the video doesn’t pick up what Andrew was saying.  In the canter we brought the circle in and out using a slightly travers feeling to engage the hind quarters. You can see from the video clip how that really engaged her in the canter

Andrew had me riding with a long stick in each hand to help get her in front the leg and stop me working so hard.

In the trot we used the turn about the forehand aids in the trot to expand a circle and then allow with the outside rein down the long side to encourage the medium. We were starting to get a step or so but at the moment she still hasn’t got the strength to really power through but I have no doubt looking at how much she has improved already that it will come in time.

17th June

Just recovering from a busy Bicton which sounds silly when I only took one horse but it seemed non stop and I must have walked miles too.

We set off on Thursday after work which in itself was a major feat due to the late decision to go. I was up at 5am to do some packing before work and then escaped again at lunchtime for a quick ride. Eventually the horse, dogs, mum (still poorly) and all the gear was packed and we trundled the 2 and half hours to Bicton. It may have been easier to leave on the Friday as we were not jumping until late but with the time of year tourist traffic virtually makes Friday and Saturday travel impossible.

Friday was an educational day. We were not jumping until late in the grass arena and had entered the Discovery and 1.05. It is interesting despite all Posy’s success show jumping that it has mainly come in the arenas and not on grass. We were discussing this and think that at the moment she still struggles with her balance on grass.

I made a mistake and should have worked her Friday morning but didn’t get her out to ride until the class at about teatime. The weather had closed in and we had steady drizzle, no problems with studs but no video (luckily). Posy was totally above herself and running through the hand not listening, bucking, launching at fences and being a total twit (polite version of what I said on the day)!

We went in the ring and she took not the slightest notice of me, only allowing me to point. It is a testament to her jumping that we only had one fence down despite total disregard for all the riders aids and ineffective struggles. Luckily Zoe Gwennap who spotted Posy in Ireland and helps me was at ringside and took Posy and I to task. We spent the next hour (having pulled out of the next class)  working in the warm up rings on transitions, changes of bend, balance and just getting her focused on me and not ignoring or fighting me. By the end I was on my knees and Posy was a little better!!

Lesson learnt I was up next day and riding by 7 repeating the same exercises. She was really leaning on my right hand so I put a brush on the side of the bit which helped prevent her grabbing the right rein. A bit of a cheat but better than me constantly pulling at the rein. She wasn’t a great fan and we found for the rest of the show that to warm up in the brush and then take it off before we jumped worked best.

Another late jump on the Saturday and this day we were in the arena. Having worked her hard and started to get her listening I actually moved back to the snaffle I do the normal flatwork in. First class was a meter class and despite a few green moments she jumped a super but steady double clear.

Lots to work on, the main thing in time as we get better balance is getting the changes with her as that can often let us down.

I then withdrew from the next class in the arena and moved her to the young horse class so we could have another opportunity to jump on grass. If we are going to do BYEH and event her then it is no good avoiding the issue! This class seemed quite small and she jumped a super round for equal first (all double clears). I think this was one of the nicest rounds of the weekend.

Next day again I made the effort to jump a class on grass and we actually started with our biggest class of the weekend a 1.05. Here the old canter lead issue caught up with us again and I was unbalanced round the corner to 3 which we had down. I am working on changes at home, Fred whom I bought her from had some on her but with my crookedness from my hip injury it is something I struggle with. Just one pole and I was by no means displeased.

We moved back to the arena for the Discovery. The day before we had completed our 4 double clears for the year so the handbrake was off and for the first time with Posy I decided it was time to ask a few questions in the jump off, cut a few corners and angle some fences. Usually it takes a time or two for horses to get it and be quick thinking but we only missed one turn and she turned and listened really well. We did have some luck with a miss an No.1 and lucky not to send a pole flying! The class had 80 starters and Posy’s round was quick enough for 3rd place which I was over the moon with.

A great finish to the weekend and was very tempted to jump another day but seemed a good note to finish on. I also hadn’t told her that on the way home (the next day) I had arranged a dressage lesson with Andrew Lovell (tomorrows report).

Really delighted with the progress at Bicton and huge thank you to Zoe for all her help as feel we have taken a huge step forward with Posy. Thanks also to Nick and Jane for their help and fabulous pictures.

10th June

Today Bobby had his final acupuncture session , he has about 10 needle in (the camera doesn’t show the needles that well but two are pictured). He is great to treat and seems to tolerate the treatment happily but frustratingly his nose itching has got significantly worse and is mirroring what happened last summer so there must be a seasonal element to the problem which we can’t control, all very depressing. Having the vet out for an assessment again next week so we will see where go from there.

So Bobby is kicking his heels up in the field this weekend and we are heading back to Bicton for a 6 day show jumping show. The thought of 6 days jumping is a bit much and we will probably do 3 days. I have entered Posy in the 1m and 1.05 classes just to establish ourselves at this level.

Going to be a man down as Mum has been ill all week and she has strict orders to rest up take it easy while we are away. Good job we are only taking the one horse. Very little signal at Bicton so expect an update next week sometime when we are recovered. Wish us luck and good health (trying to decide if I could have a sore throat coming!)

6th June

Back out competing again at Colraine for some more BS. Sorry if this isn’t the eventing fix everyone wants but it is a means to an end and for the moment while we are successful quite good fun! Having at the last competition won ourselves out of British Novice today was the time to up our game and start out at Discovery.

She was actually quite spooky in the first round and you will see her jinx at no.1 and a couple of others. However her usual care and clean jumping continued and we jumped a good clear round.

The jump off looked very competitive and I made a decision to go for a double clear and not a fast round. It turned out to be a very good decision the winner was 13 seconds in front of me and totally out of reach for us but the rest had fences chasing the time and left us in 2nd place. Another frilly and some more money. I think Posy is now on 150 points!!

So brave pants on decided there was no reason to wimp out of jumping a Newcomers. Amazing when you haven’t jumped that size course for a year or two it looks pretty big! I am not sure today my nerves would have stood a clear round and an even bigger jump off!

Well she pull the stops out and jumped a super round and even gave me my wish (careful what you wish for) of a rail down. I have to say she made it feel very easy and I think we will soon be very confident jumping Newcomers and the jump offs!

Really enjoying this show jumping and certainly laying a good foundation for her future transformation into an event horse.

3rd June

I need you all to keep everything crossed for the next 14 days please?! We finally managed to AI Sarnie again on Tuesday although as is her way things have not been simple. She has been at stud (Trenerth Equestrian) for the past few weeks to be close to my vet and have a stallion to tease her and other mares to show her the ropes. Poor Sarnie got bullied when she arrived then turned the tables and was the bully, now the two enemies are best buddy’s (who says human relationships are fickle!)

My long suffering vet spent nearly 3 weeks regularly scanning her and in the end last Friday injected her to come into season. Monday’s scan showed she was coming into season so we made arrangements for Nippy (SOS Kantje’s Unicolor) to come down on Wednesday to donate sperm which would be immediately transferred to Sarnie. However when Joe scanned her yesterday she had just ovulated meaning that Wednesday would be too late and we needed to get the AI done ASAP otherwise we would have no hope. It was just not possible to get Nippy down to the stud in time so I was delighted we were able to use the resident stallion - My Eclipse. Eclipse is TB, son of the prolific event stallion Shaab and has himself evented to Intermediate and has the most fabulous temperament. Huge thanks to Mel for giving us the opportunity to use him and trying so hard to make it work for Sarnie.

My Eclipse  - Studcard

Sarnie is staying at the stud at least until she is scanned in 2 weeks as she is settled and we want to give her a stress free time. She still had quite a lot of fluid that needed washing out so the chances are not high but there is a chance. So fingers very firmly crossed please!

1st June

It has been quite a weekend with the usual non stop pace. We are also back in that time of year that Cornwall gets rather cut off by tourist traffic jams and if I want to head out the county at the weekend it has to be at the crack of dawn. That was what we did on Saturday to head to Warren Farm for my first taste of cross country with Posy. I have to admit although she was meant to have done a little xc schooling I had serious doubt whether she would be bold as out hacking she can be frightened of her own shadow.

We started in the school and warmed up and popped a few show jumps before going out in the xc paddock and trotting a few simple fences. She didn’t bat an eyelid and popped everything happily. We then joined a few together and it was at this point she decided we were taking things a tad too slowly and she would liven it up a bit!!!!

Excuse the bad language in the background!

Mum understandably moved the camera but suffice to say there was no limpet like hanging on and I hit the deck! So ten minutes later having given her a good session of canter work round their large outdoor school we resumed. She was a very good girl from this point on!

She was simply very classy, we didn’t do anything complicated but she jumped everything she was presented with, went in and out of water, over a small ditch, up and down steps and was very bold.

I am very lucky to have a very talented horse but with that talent as if often the case is going to come some quirks. Just need to make sure I harness her ability to work with me.

So onto Sunday and with Caroline’s advice ringing in my ears that she was a tough cookie and I wasn’t to feel sorry for her (I am worrying about working her too hard) we headed off for a dressage lesson with Andrew Lovell. We had definitely made strides forward since out lesson with Stef Eardley last week and I was hoping we could really move on again. Sadly there was some confusion about the timings of my slot and I missed my shared lesson, Andrew was very kind and offered to teach me at the end.

I have to say I found him very inspiring, he picked up on some little things in both the horse and my riding that made a big difference and another step forward. With my hip issues he quickly identified that I slightly collapsed one side, simply by thinking about keeping my seat bones central (either side of the line I was riding) and occasionally wiggling my hips it helped straighten me and hence Posy could go better. He also used the half halt a lot and the way she moved away from it to ask for that bit more engagement, it was certainly the best she has gone to date and it gives me a lot more tools in my locker.

Mum recorded 15 minutes from the lesson and so there is a very long video. I realise for those of you bored by dressage it is far too long but do flick through and see how much better she is going. However as the tape caught much of what he said it is a useful reminder to me and there are some really good tips that may be useful to others.

The clip starts with us working on increasing and decreasing the size of the circle not using leg yield but just spiraling in and out.

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