Both girls are being tuned up for their events this weekend. We leave with Pip early
on Friday with a stop on route to get the saddles checked as we have had them 8 weeks.
Both horses have had some canter work, for Pip working at Intermediate I have tried
to canter her every 4-
Pip is great to canter but Sarnie is very lazy and never impressed (as can be seen in picture) she usually makes sure I end up as hot as her. Cantering in her eyes is then followed by water torture!!
Amazed to see Pip’s video of her show jumping schooling below has had 500 views on Youtube
Had a jumping lesson with Zoe today, we were lucky enough to have somewhere on grass
to work , have to say the ground was perfect. We started off on the flat trying to
get her to work into the bridle more and get her hocks engaged. We used a lot of
canter to walk -
In the jumping we worked on a more forward tempo but still into the bridle rather than long and flat. What happens is on landing she can really come back to me rather than keep up the tempo. It doesn't help that at 11 she doesn't have the flying change in her armoury (my excuse is she only came to me at 9 and it has taken 2 years to establish a counter canter!) We used a pole to help her get a change after the fence rather than bring her back.
As soon as we started on the related distance she came back to me too much and added
a stride so had to really focus on landing and riding forwards. In the combination
I then found I was riding too forward and not keeping the contact so allowing her
to flatten. A very fine line needed -
Hopefully the video below will give you pictures of what we worked on. As I say for Pip the improvement has to come from me learning to ride her better.
I think I took on a bit much yesterday and the result was consequently a bit average. As normal horses were done at 6 and then to work for 7. Finished work at 12 (1/2 day) rushed to yard, grabbed Pip from field, loaded her and the dressage gear to arrive at Colraine in time for 13.35 test! It was only when I packed her away after 2nd test I noticed mud on her hocks still.
We did both Elementary BD tests aiming to complete our qualification to the regional finals. Unfortunately maybe as I was more tense from rushing she just didn’t relax and flow as well. We scored 65.5% in the first test and 66.5 in the second test leaving us 0.5% short of the qualifying mark we needed!
No time to be frustrated as dropped Pip back to the yard and then was off to Cornwall Trec to judge the evening dressage. Made it home by 930 ready for bed and another early start!!
9th June -
Took the girls for a spot more show jumping determined that I am going to improve this phase. Jumped both in the 1.10 and was really pleased both jumped a nice clear round. I then had the excitement of 2 in the jump off and the quick change! Sarnie was drawn first and maintained her consistent form with a good and quick clear.
Pip was a different kettle of fish and at the moment I am just interested in jumping clear, this she did with a good round to finish 5th (typically one place outside the prizes!)) Sarnie meanwhile maintained her remarkable run winning for the 3rd weekend running, have to say the £130 she has won has really helped towards entries (Sarnie is convinced all should be spent on carrots!!)
Jumped Pip in the Foxhunter, for me this level still a little above my comfort zone, mind you that is no excuse or turning left instead of right after number 2! We were clear though til 6 then I didn’t ride forward enough for the 4 strides in the related distance and had that and the following rail down. Plenty still to work on but also improvements are happening!
Thought you may like to see what I had for my birthday from Mum. It is a oil painting by my good friend Vanessa see http://www.immortalanimals.co.uk/ I think she has captured Sarnie perfectly and it is now framed and hung in pride of place in our living room.
Currently updating my calendar for the year and can actually see a plan in place if all goes to plan. Our next intermediate is going to be Salperton in just over 2 weeks followed by some Novice runs over decent tracks at Barbury and Dauntsey. Following this Pip will focus on intermediates.
The two big events we are aiming at this year is the 1* at Blair and the CIC**s at Gatcombe and Pau. We took Sarnie to Pau a few years ago and it was great to combine a holiday with eventing and watching some top 4* action.
Sarnie will focus on show jumping but may have the odd event certainly she will be doing the riding club open qualifier (the day after Salperton) with the aim of qualifying for the championships.
We would also like to have a go at the regional finals for dressage with Pip, be nice to be part of another big event. Mind you all the best laid plans and there could be an early disruption as currently waiting to hear when Mum is going in to have a knee replacement!
2nd June 2013 -
What a lovely day, beautiful weather, good company and best of all a winning one! The idea was to get some jumping in at the Devon Area show and then do some cross country schooling with both horses.
I had intended to enter Sarnie in the 1.10 but this was on the grass arena and I felt as the ground was firm she may be better off in the 1.15 open in the main all weather arena. So both were entered in this and Pip in the 1.20 as well. The class was 2 phase (jump off started at fence 9) and I went first with Sarnie. In this case first was not to my advantage as it would have helped to watch a few to get ideas of lines etc! We had an awkward jump over 2 but from there on she jumped super, I slightly missed one jump off turn and added a stride to the last but we came back with a double clear.
Knew the round was good and expected a place but never expected to win. As it was in a large class there were only 4 double clears and we won by half a second! So two wins in two weekends for Sarnie!
I also entered Pip in this class and she too jumped a clear (or so I thought)! Unfortunately as we went to start the jump off section a horn sounded and we were told we had time faults. Frustrating but very pleased with the round she jumped.
Pip was also entered in the 1.20. However first we had to do a quick swap so Sarnie could get her rosette (she would hated to have missed it!)
Pip continues to jump much better and I pushed her on a bit to avoid the time faults. We just had one rail where I had a bit of a dodgy stride but again a very pleasing round and we are starting to find Foxhunter less outside of our comfort zone.
Some of the best show jumping pictures -
So we then moved onto cross country mode! I had booked the course for both but sadly I was limited in what I could do as the disadvantage of the recent lovely weather was some pretty hard ground! I gave both a little canter round over some easy fence focusing on getting a good forward stride. We came back and practiced a number of ways through the water jump. Both girls went very nicely. Thanks again to Nick for the photos.
31st May 2013
It has been really nice to have a few days to focus on Sarnie. We are entered for the riding club team area horse trials in 3 weeks which is run as a BE100+, so Novice dressage and Sjing with BE100 XC at novice pace. It will be a good step back for her after over 2 years away. It does however mean we have to polish the dressage a bit, I have been a bit slack here and let her get away with murder. We have had a few more serious sessions this week and she is starting to remember what to do! I actually am finding doing the trot work in sitting easier as this help to get her together and stop the energy escaping!
This weekend we are taking both horses to Bicton Arena for a BS show. They will each do a class and then I have the XC course booked to do some schooling. Is will help bring Sarnie’s fitness on and get her back in the swing and enable me to work on a few bits with Pip ready for our next Intermediate.
28th May -
Having two failed attempts it was third time lucky to actually do Pip’s first intermediate. We went up the evening before as seems a lot to do in one day with 6 hours driving and competing but it did leave me with a lot of time to kill on the Monday as dressage wasn’t until 3.45! Her rash although more settled hadn’t allowed me to ride her since Thursday for fear of it getting badly irritated again. In fact mid morning I was concerned as she was in her on site stable fast asleep but when I took her for her grass walk she did prance around rather a lot so presumed she was feeling ok.
Dressage I hadn’t had a chance to practice the test with Pip due to her days off but I had ridden it through on Sarnie much to her disgust. It was my first test ever having to do sitting trot on Pip something I have found particularly difficult since smashing my hip and with Pip’s big movement. The new dressage saddle helped enormously though. She was more swishy tailed than normal and kicked out against the leg in the leg yield in the test, I am pretty sure this was mainly due to irritations from the rash.
I was delighted to learn we had scored 31.8 a PB for eventing despite the rise in level, this left us inside the top 10 in a hot class.
Show jumping was always going to Pip’s difficult phase and I also went to Pontispool knowing jumping is always difficult there. This year was no exception the courses were huge, technical and caused endless problems, there were few clears in any sections.
Pip went in a little green and I was disappointed she had 2 of the 3 elements of the treble down at 3, she was looking at the trade stands. The rest of the course was better just caught us out on a couple of related distances so we ended up with 4 down.
I was disappointed with 4 down but the track was huge and at the end of the day she is not short of scope I just need to learn how to ride her!
So onto cross country my eye is out intermediate and I thought when waking the course it was pretty testing! (Course pics are on the course pictures page) I was particularly worried about a double of triple brushes (pictured) which had to be ridden on two forward strides at 5, the following water which had a big hanging log, two strides to a drop into water (two of the three that started before me were eliminated there) and the following big bounce!
We set off and jumped the first 3 smartly I saw a bit of a fiddly stride to the box at 4 and then lined up for the triple brushes, again just a fiddly stride to the first one and that left me with a bit of ground to make up to the 2nd element and we a bit off but she stretched and went. The water was probably our most awkward fence she jumped the log ok but hesitated to the drop and jumped down steeply (sequence below) , then we didn’t get a great stride over the hay wagon out.
The bounce was fine and we jumped through the quarry up the steps to the bank well, she did jump the normandy bank with the ditch either side a bit green and big but I sat on tight. Some nice chase fences then some elephant feet pimples that needed accurate riding again a little green but very honest. We chipped an extra stride in at the water but popped out over the triple brush fine. Then there was a version of a bridge over a large ditch, a real rider frightener so kicked hard and shut eyes! Jumped well!
We finished over the double of corners on an attacking 4 strides (video)
We finished with 21 time which was a bit frustrating as I didn’t think I was that slow, whilst no bad thing at our first intermediate I do need to ride on more forward strides cross country and not be too backward.
We actually finished 14th in a strong section (Mark Todd and Paul Tapner were top 2) so an excellent first run at this level.
Today we have had the vet and Pip has had a steroid injection and a long course of antibiotics so we can get on top of the rash. Unfortunately anything like a steroid injection prior to the competition would have made as unable to run as would have failed any drugs test!
Sarnie’s turn to go show jumping today. Her first outing since her ‘mystery’ leg injury however I was confident enough to enter her in the 1.10 open. Had a few dodgy strides in the first round but she picked those little feet up up and jumped a good clear.
Although it was a small class there were 6 clears, a few of which would be very speedy against the clock! Typically I was drawn first although in many ways I never mind this as you are not influenced by what others have done. Decided if I could to lay down the gauntlet and give it a go. She was brilliant made 2 good turns and then galloped to the last leaving it up!
She won the class which was beyond my expectations and she came home to a big bag of carrots!
Pip meanwhile still has this rash which won’t settle. She now hasn’t been ridden for two days, looks pretty awful and if it gets any worse won’t be going to Pontispool so please keep fingers crossed!
Been a busy week (when isn’t it) with my focus on the intermediate at Pontispool on Monday. Slightly worrying about the weather as a dry week this week will make the ground there quite hard. However to be fair they will work v hard on it.
We went SJing on Wedneday jumping a big Foxhunter at Colraine. For me having not not done Fox for a while it is very much on the edge of my comfort level and I have the tendency to override! Jumped the first 4 lovely came to the double at 5 and thought mustn't miss, mustn't miss.......................... guess what I missed! Held onto her head instead of kicking and literally landed her on the first part Came away jumped round the rest fine, so frustrating on my part although better now than next Monday (if I don't do the same again!)
A good lesson with Robert Pickles last night working on the dressage, really starting to progress her work and ask for a more advanced frame. Worked on using a traver feeling to really engage her hind leg. On the down side the dreaded rash is back again and she is itchy and irritable. She had this first a few weeks ago and it has left her skin dry and bare in places and sadly it has flared up again. Seems to be a heat rash but she has not been prone to this before so wondering if the rug I had also changed her into had been washed in something odd or had a few mould spores where it hadn’t been used for a while. Horses always throw something up at you!
Therefore the last 3 days of prep may be days off so she is feeling better! For our big day.
Struggling to keep up with the blog at the moment, need a few extra hours in the day!! Partly I spend a lot of time now updating my website with course pictures, can’t believe how many of you have got involved this year and the database has grown hugely many thanks to everyone.
So to go back a few days I took Sarnie for her first cross country schooling in nearly 2 years! We went to Chyverton primarily to baby sit a friend with her novice horse. It was amusing as Sarnie loves to show off so I thought she would be in her element being nanny. I perhaps did not appreciate the indignity she would have to endure jumping tiny xc fences some under 2ft in order to show how it was done. They were so tiny they were frightening and she honestly near stopped twice! Once our nannying duties were over she was allowed to play properly it was like putting on an old comfortable pair of slippers as we popped round the bigger fences. We both left with a smile on our faces!
So the last 24 hours have been a bit up and down! Last night I was knocked over by a youngster I was leading, she was spooked and in the process gave me a head butt, eye closed up and swelled, looked like I have been in boxing ring! Today a great shade of black! It has certainly been a topic of conversation for anyone I have met today. Hoping it goes down a bit before Monday and I get asked at work what I have done this time!!
This morning went to get my new jumping shirt Mum had kindly bought me at West Buckland only to find it appears I threw the wrong white bag away in the rubbish. Can’t believe I did it!
The day did cheer up with Pip continuing her jumping improvement with her new saddle. We were 4th in the Newcomers with a Double clear and also gained a 4th rosette in the 1.15! I wish there was a video but in trying to get my eye open this morning and realising what I had thrown away the camera was the last thing on my mind! Can’t believe what a difference a saddle has made to Pip’s jumping.
We are now on countdown to Pontispool and our first Intermediate, 9 days away! Feel we are ready, hoping to have a lesson this week with Robert Pickles and have a jumping round at Colraine. Need to fit in a canter somewhere too. Typically a very busy week at work with a trip to London on Tuesday, hoping I don’t get stuck there this time.
Been busy particularly considering it is mid week! Yesterday did two Elementary tests
at Colraine with Pip. Probably a reflection on how far we have come that I was disappointed
with two scores of 65.5%! The first test was a little tense and not our best effort,
probably suffering from being out on my own poor Mum was still working. The second
test was 59, I have never done it before and it was really complicated! I had to
watch several videos on Youtube the night before just to understand it. Also I am
usually v good at learning tests but could not get my head around it and had to have
it called. Everything came up v quickly with leg yields, rein back, simple changes,
canter centre lines all included. This test I was really pleased with, Pip tried
v hard and although not established in some of the movements she coped v well. She
did win her section in both tests -
Pip is a strange horse, a real worrier at home yet take her away and she copes with everything and is quite laid back. An example of what she can be like at home has frustrated me recently. I am very lucky to be able to use a friends 60 by 20 school which means I can practice the long arena as well as short arena tests. However what was very exciting has for the moment caused great trauma to poor Pip! Mirrors have been installed, a big one at C and a couple of smaller ones in the top corners. Whilst Sarnie preened and admired her beauty Pip is terrified of the new mirrors particularly the corner ones. She has seen mirrors before but I can’t even lead her within 10 meters of the corner ones! So we are now schooling in a 20 by 30 section of school at the far end!
Sarnie seems back to her normal self now. The vet is due to give her the once over on Thursday but I am quite confident all will be ok. Upped her feed hugely as when she hurt herself she really dropped weight and looked very poor, rang up Pure Feeds who supply my feed and discussed how much I could feed her considering she was in very little work. Found their conditioning feed only has slow release energy so despite doing little work I could feed quite a lot, I can really see the weight going back on now. She will start doing some show jumping competitions again and maybe even some cross country schooling.
12th May -
It wasn't a great start to the weekend getting to the stabling. Remind me that booking the closest isn't always the best option!! The stabling itself was lovely but access was by a lot of narrow roads really not helped when there was confusion over the directions resulting me in driving the shiney smart lorry through narrow villages with barely an inch either side, over hump back bridges that didn't look wide enough and turning round in places barely big enough for a car! Very stressed when we arrived that night.
Found a slightly better route to the event although still a few hairy moments, proud to say no dents added to the lorry!
Well West Buckland was not what I was expecting my understanding was a fairly short and straightforward course albeit well built. In contrast it was a testing course of a decent distance. Whilst this did give me some concerns re Pips fitness I was quite pleased as in 2 weeks we are entered for our first intermediate The course was designed by Lucy Weigersma and had a lot of boldness and accuracy questions but actually rode really well. It was brilliantly built and presented and I would recommend anyone to make the trip. Course pictures are all loaded.
Dressage I got a little bit behind (took too long walking the course) and Pip needed definitely needed more warm up, even more than I had planned! She has been doing so well in the dressage (BD version) but got very tense particularly in the middle section. However I was actually really pleased with a 33.5 in a strong section that didn't put us too far out of touch.
I was delighted with the way she show jumped, our best round to date. The saddle is really making a difference makes me feel guilty it wasn’t sorted before. We did have two hefty rubs but the poles stayed up and that is all that matters. I rather lost my position over the yellow spread at 5 when her
jump sent me into orbit!
So a quick change for xc and the sudden realisation I hadn't attached my hit air attachment to the saddle or even brought it with me A quick tour of the trade stands found no spares but a suitable bit of string (Thanks to sponsor Sue at HF Equestrian) was added!!
XC was running late maybe the organisers regretted the number of frangible pins they had used. There were a fair few stops for repairs or falls which never helps ones frame of mind . Even as I was being counted down the red light came on and there was a 5 minute delay.
We eventually set off and over the first 4 straightforward fences. 5 was the first question having come through a narrow gateway there was a very narrow brush to jump. It is only this season that Pip has really started to lock on and although not the prettiest jump no question of anything bar jumping.
Next was decent spread then a right turn on 4 strides to a step 2 strides to a skinny house. It was when we went through this very smoothly in a good forward rhythm that my confidence suddenly grew and I let the handbrake off so we powered up the hill over a straightforward fence before we came to a big ditch rail ditch combo. The ditch was huge the greyhounds refused to jump it and I nearly didn't make it! Pip however made nothing of it or the big trekanner that followed. The rail under the tree to the corner on 5 strides also swept past comfortably before we approached the biggest bounce I have ever seen at Novice! (There was an option to jump both parts separately)
I didn't see the best stride but she was very athletic and coped easily. We powered over a few simple fences before the water which I thought again was strong. There was a decent hanging log jumping straight into water then out in 4 strides over an angled brush. She backed off on approach but a strong leg aid and she really took it on stayed straight and powered through
We finished with 4 time faults which seeing the ground was sticky in places and we had dawdled initially was very pleasing. Even better in a strong class of 42 Open Novices we were placed 9th finishing on 37.5!
So absolutely delighted she gave me a real feeling of class and I feel we are ready to finally tackle Intermediate with confidence. So it is Pontispool in 2 weeks please keep everything crossed for no disasters and a good run.
So pleased with new saddles they really are making a huge difference to Pips way of going and helping my position. It is lovely following years of struggling without to finally ride Pip in a dressage saddle. Yesterday though I had my first proper jump. Went and helped at Colraine and then when the competition was over popped the course up for a school with Pip (1.15 ish)
Very pleased with how she went, realise v different in a schooling session but was soft and made the jumps feel v small. Gearing up now or only our second event this season with West Buckland on Saturday.
5th May -
Having qualified at Novice for the regional finals it seemed a good time to move up and concentrate on Elementary’s particularly with our forthcoming Intermediate eventing in mind.
First up was E43 one of the slightly easier tests at that level.
I was generally pleased although the arena boards were slightly moving in the wind which spooked Pip particularly in the walk which broke. However we won the small class with a very respectable 68%.
57 was quite testing with rein back which we have not mastered yet, I also don’t practice it too much as she can get very unsettled in the halt. It was also our first time doing simple changes in a test.
Really pleased with how hard she tried. We scored another 68% to win the open section. We lost marks for our rein back and in the simple changes as she didn’t stay through in the transitions. Really promising and certainly don’t feel out of our depth at this level, now to try and translate it to the eventing test. Loving the new dressage saddle makes a huge difference and finally feeling I can master sitting trot!
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