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16th April

Managed to go splat again seem to be making an unfortunate habit of it of late! One of those things whilst hacking Posy. A dog threw itself against a gate from nowhere causing her to spin, I nearly stayed there but ended up off. Interestingly I had a neck strap on but have no sort of reaction that means I try and grab it, I guess this needed training from an early age and I have only been a late convert to fitting one. Whilst I more or less landed on my feet I then tried to hold on and she pulled me over and along on my knees before I let go. Lesson learnt, not a wise idea and the end of my best Lidl’s jods and one sore and now swollen knee!

Anyway both horses have since had a lesson. Bobby had a dressage session with Robert Pickles where we worked on the engagement in the canter and not allowing him to plough on his head. We did a lot of work leg yielding from the outside track slightly inside in canter. This is great for getting the hind leg engaged. We then progressed to some counter canter, on completion of the canter exercise we quickly trotted then walked and halted to get him coming back and listening and not allowing him to plough forwards. Robert really emphasised the importance of transitions.

A quick clip showing some of the canter leg yield. (Yes it was that foggy)!

Meanwhile Posy had a session with Caroline on gymnastic and XC based exercises. She was ace she really looks for a fence and works things out quickly. We did some turning exercises a simulated coffin and a narrow corner off a dodgy stride and she ate it all up.

So now preparing for Bobby’s next BE at Bovington this weekend. Think the ground may be a bit firm but at least the show jumping is on a surface. We compete on Sunday with times in the middle of the day which is always nice - not too long to wait and able to get away in good time.

14th April

Very pleased that Posy is progressing at home. The flatwork is improving all the time as I find her buttons and she gets stronger. No rush with her but hopeful she can show herself off well in some BYEH classes later in the year.

A little clip from today

13th April

Yesterday we went show jumping at Tall Trees with both horses (so more saddle juggling). Entries were not huge which was a shame as there were good courses and a lovely arena but made my life difficult with limited time to change tack and warm up horses. At least this time I stayed on!

First up was the British Novice and Posy jumped a nice clear round. We still have long way to go on control and suppleness but get her to the fence and she has plenty of ability and actually I think the way of going between the fences has improved

Whilst I was really pleased with Posy I was soon brought down to earth by Bobby. Our results at the moment just seem to be getting worse and we had 4 down. I think it is all related to the canter I seem to have perhaps shortened it too much and lost the power and quality. I either seemed to have  him back behind the bit or running through the hand to the fence.

So putting that disappointment behind me it was back on Posy for the jump off. We were drawn last and there were no clear rounds. She jumped clear for her first win in affiliated jumping.

I withdrew Posy from the 95cm class and just had Bobby in the class. Although the round was not great there was an improvement and we had two down this time.

So not the best preparation for Bovington this weekend but I know the ability is there the key is me finding the ridability in the canter.

Posy was then entered in her first Discovery class. With me being a bit rusty it looked plenty big enough! Sadly we had a video malfunction which was a shame as it would have been good to show you what happened at 3! Fence 2 to 3 was a dogleg with 3 coming up quickly on the turn by the judges box, unlike the last class it had bright rainbow fillers underneath. We turned to 3 and Posy spooked violently sideways taking us too far off course to jump it, I turned her back towards the fence not with a hope of jumping it but more to make a point - she somehow seemed to jump it sideways from an extremely acute angle and leave it up! The rest of the round was clear - the jump off then looked even bigger!

We were drawn first in the jump off and once in the ring had to wait for about 5 minutes for the timing to be sorted. I thought she may switch off but luckily she didn’t although perhaps I rode my worst round and saw some funny strides however again she coped and jumped another clear. We have now done 5 BS classes and 5 double clears. To cap it all we were again the only double clear for another win.

So very clever Posy who now also has 61 BS points and and has won £95!

11th April

This business of having two horses out and about competing is certainly stretching the old bank balance! Undeterred I am taking both show jumping to Tall Trees tomorrow it would be nice to think they both win some prize money but a tad unrealistic at their stage of education.

There has been disappointing news on the Sarnie front, she has come back from meeting her potential husband having refused point blank to be covered. Her violent resistance means future attempts are not practical. The vet came and scanned her last night and we have decided to have one final try by AI. She will go back to Nippy in a fortnight just to help come back into season once showing in season she will be scanned and hopefully at the optimum time we will do a collection from Nippy and straight away do the AI. This really is the last throw of the dice I can’t afford to keep trying and also if nature really is saying she won’t have a foal then we have to listen. Fingers crossed firmly please. I can’t thank Georgia & Matthew Stokes enough for bending over backwards to give Sarnie every chance and my long suffering vet Joe Ivey who would would like to see a foal from Sarnie as much as I would.

8th April - Colraine Show Jumping

Sorry getting a bit out of date! Whilst Bobby had a well deserved day off we took Posy to Colraine show jumping. Just entered the British Novice and was quite glad that was all I entered as seemed quite a decent track. It was run as a single phase so the second half of the course was against the clock and jump off height.

Sadly no video or pictures due to a technical hitch! Posy was a little green over the first couple of fences but soon got into a rhythm and popped round clear. We took it very steadily so had a slow double clear. However these were a rarity and  there were only 2 of us that managed a clean sheet. So we came second and returned home with a slight profit (£8 on entry). So an excellent start to Posy’s jumping career with 3 classes jumped 3 double clears, two 2nds and a 3rd!

6th April  - Howick Horse Trials

It has seemed a long time coming and certainly been a few hiccups on the way but we finally got to our first BE event with Bobby. It was a day of firsts - dressage on grass, SJ on grass, competing XC and certainly doing a one day event. I questioned before we left how he would cope with the atmosphere and that was well and truely tested in the dressage. The arena was in sight of XC, quite close to show jumping and under a loud speaker! The whole day was highly exciting and although he kept the lid on it to the extent of any bad behaviour he was like a coiled spring and dressage was a damage limitation exercise with me valiantly struggling to keep him in the correct pace. He is very capable in this phase so I was a little disappointed however the judge was clearly blinded by his good looks and long eyelashes and gave us a very generous 36.5. On a good day we could have knocked 10 marks off!

Show jumping warm up was very sticky and actually ideal to canter Bobby around on and get him working and concentrating. It didn’t quite work as he still went in the ring and just ran through my hand a couple of times, once into the double and once to the final fence. Once I get him listening and the bitting sorted he should find this phase easier.

Cross country was great asking a variety of questions in both types of fence and combinations. Considering his total lack of experience and knowing we were on a non competitive score I took him very steadily across country trying to give him an educational and positive experience. He was ace always looking for the next fence, focusing on the question and really the only issue was that if I had let the handbrake off at all I think brakes would have failed.

There is a nice bit of video showing the rail ditch combination and the roll top to brush.

A very nice clear but about 20 time which isn’t an issue at the moment the speed is there just need it with control!

I would highly recommend Howick, great event, well organised and very friendly. They did well to run considering the rain before hand and the tractor drivers were fabulous as nearly everyone needed towing in and out.

Following this event we have squeezed an extra in before our next planned one at Bicton in 3 weeks and entered Bovington in 2 weeks. He thrives on work and I think 3 in short succession will do him good and then move him up to BE100 in May.

Some more lovely pictures thanks to Nick Perry for the brilliant shots.

1st April

Suddenly we are very close to Bobby’s first event and the weather is looking hopeful. Are we ready? Well if you asked me a week ago I would say yes but after my tumble at the weekend it does put some doubt in your mind! On a practical review he has never done dressage on grass, show jumped on grass or done a competitive cross country round leave alone a one day event. However he is more than capable at each element the big question is how he copes with the atmosphere, people and things going on.

30th March - BS Show Tall Trees

It has been a long time since we took 2 horses to one show leave alone jumped them in the same classes.  This was further complicated by the fact they both share a saddle. It was certainly a tad hectic and not helped by for the second time in 48 hours me trying to fly from the horse without any wings!!

Both were entered in the British Novice (90cm) and 95cm Amateur class. The weather sadly was horrendous which meant the show jumping was in the indoor arena not the bigger outside arema and it was so miserable the outdoor arena was not even used to warm up. It is great that there is a second indoor arena but it is quite small and meant warming wasn’t easy. I rode Posy first as being the youngest it meant she could get the most time. She behaved brilliantly despite the wind rattling things and warm up being tight. Was a bit nervous going straight in at 90 but needn’t have worried as except for a green jump at 1 she jumped a very competent clear round.

So then came the first of what was 4 saddle swaps, we did cheat and use a stable to speed things up. Bobby probably suffered most with struggling to warm up but actually started his round the best to date but half way round we lost the canter and had a pole.

There were 4 or 5 in the jump off and although very green Posy was more than capable of angling a fence and slightly cutting a few corners. Another clear and we finished 2nd in her first BS class even winning a small money prize. (Big plus point)

So straight onto the 95cm class where Posy jumped another clear round. At the moment we have not got a great contact or connection but she has such talent that even with this missing she is finding it very easy.

So it was Bobby’s turn for the 95cm and again he was jumping well, we did have a pole but then he decided I needed some flying practice! In all honesty it was just one of those things. We approached the double and he slightly screwed and jumped right over the first part, I straightened him up sharply and he straightened however I had not got my position back and as he jumped the second part I was catapulted out the side door! Ouch - I certainly as is my normal way landed with a bang! Luckily I was only winded and able to hop back and pop a couple of practice jumps outside.

Sadly there wasn’t time to lick my wounds or mend my bruised pride as it was time for another quick change and Posy in the jump off.

What a good girl I just steered and she produced another clear round for 3rd place. So two classes, two double clears and two frilly’s!

Today I am certainly walking like someone double my age and trying not to let on at work that I have tumbled twice since I left on Friday!

28th March

Posy had her first lesson last night working on xc exercises indoors with Caroline Creighton. I wondered how she would take to this and all I can say is like a duck to water, we did turning exercises, angles, small corners and skinnies and she did everything asked of her. In fact the evening would have been perfect except for one turning exercise which is very tight on a green horse and a gave her a positive boot to the last part, she slightly humped on landing and then showing how quickly she could turn leaving me on the floor - whoops

The Whoops clip!

A compilation of the whole session, you will see why I am pleased despite the whoops moment!

Hoping currently the weather does not play havoc with competition plans but we seem to be going through an unsettled spell. Tomorrow we are due to be show jumping at Tall Trees and then hopefully all systems go for Howick a week today with Bobby.

25th March

Today is finally a breather day for me and the horses. Well I had to go to work and catch up with what had been missed the last couple of days but that is still a bit of a rest!

Monday we took Bobby XC schooling at Chyverton. Wow he has suddenly got a lot more mature and really got the hang of it all.

Then on Tuesday we took both horses to meet up with Zoe at Bicton for some practice in the arena. Posy went first and we are still very much at the getting to know you stage. We worked on the quality of the canter and keeping her connected.

Starting to get the hang of her now. She has a great technique and didn’t touch a pole. She is being registered to jump BS as well so they can both go show jumping.

Bobby has matured so much and is startling to get a better rhythm to his fences, he still sometimes finds it hard to sit on his hind end and take the weight behind but he is rapidly improving.

So having done some Sjing practice we popped out onto the cross country where he gave me a magic feel, bold and straight to all the turning and skinny questions.

Love this picture and thanks to Nick Perry for the great pictures

22nd March

Wow what a weekend and another 2 days off to come as using up my holiday before the end of the council year.

Yesterday we took Posy to her first show jumping show with me, we bravely entered the 80 and 90 but she is such a natural this didn’t seem a push.

The first round in the 80 she was green and we rather waggoned round but we left everything up fairly comfortably. She didn’t worry about the water tray at the last fence either.

The jump off was better and we finished with another clear to finish 4th.

We jumped the 90cm although even if this had been a clear I would have left it there as the courses were long enough. As it happened we were eliminated for starting before the bell despite both Mum and I hearing it (must have moved it near the mike I guess!)

This round was certainly the best, we just got a bit long and she knocked a spread out but actually that did her good as she really operated after that.

Looking at the videos I definitely need to ride her a bit more between leg and hand but as a getting to know you exercise it was very successful.

So we took Posy home and swapped her for Bobby and the jumping boots for some white bandages. We then headed for a dressage lesson with Stef Eardsley. My first lesson with Stef and I liked her training style very much. We started off working on the canter and using a medium canter to really engage the hind leg. Bobby then showed off his recent issue that having learnt to sit more in the canter he has also discovered a huge trot, yet at the moment he can’t quite control the power and ends up belting off. Stef made me really ride it rather than accept he struggled actually do something about it. She then set up and exercise making a square using two dressage boards at B and E and then a cone tight to each corner so you had to really down the revs to get in and round before allowing them to power out. Well that was the idea the first time we jumped the dressage board and he never quite settled to the exercise although once we moved away from it then he did some great work on a circle and I was encouraged to introduce some power to the trot work.

We finished working on a smooth canter transition. He can sometimes jump into canter and other times run so established a good trot and then used a firm aid to pop him into canter. I had some of the best flat work we have had together and she really helped move us to the next level.

So today while Posy had a quiet day it was Bobby’s turn to jump at his first BS show as a registered horse (overgrown pony!). The British Novice was a big enough track and the first time he had started at that height. He can still be green at new venues and hadn’t jumped here before and you can see he approaches the first jump and rather cat leaps in surprise! I had to ride him a bit more forward than ideal and as the round went on he got a bit flat and we were caught out in the double. However on the whole I was delighted with how he went.

So tomorrow Bobby is off cross country schooling and Tuesday both go to Bicton to use the SJ course and then Bobby can have a turn round the cross country jumps there - all go.

19th March

Amazing how much more extra time another horse takes! Never mind all the extra plus the diet and I will get back in my hacking jacket for Howick! We are definitely in and competing on the Easter Saturday.

Had a good jump with them both earlier in the week and Posy finds things very easy. We finished jumping a course of 1m without her even trying!

16th March

Had another really good lesson with Caroline this weekend. Working on indoor cross country type exercises. (Make the best of it until we can get out on the cross country). He is improving so much in this area although he doesn’t always lock on to fences yet like Sarnie always did and Pip learnt to do. Asked some decent questions though and he really started to take them on.

So we have entered his first BE event with a trip to Howick (Chepstow area) in the BE90. With 3 weeks to go feeling a little unprepared XC wise as was hoping for an unaffiliated run somewhere however hoping we can get a couple more schooling sessions in.

11th March

With the greys getting all the attention Sarnie has been feeling a bit abandoned. Realistically I have had to face facts that there is something preventing her from wanting to work properly and considering she is now 16 and been my horse of a lifetime I won’t be pushing her to do anything she doesn’t want to. However I am still hoping that we can have a foal from her.

So yesterday she came in where she met the new pipsqueak (picture was snapped a second before she tried to eat her). If Posy turns out half as good as Sarnie I will be delighted.

Sarnie was scanned by the vet (Joe from Rosevean) who could tell she was cycling properly and probably mid cycle. She was swabbed and once we have a clear result next week she will be travelling to see her future husband. Fingers are firmly crossed for some success this year although realistically we know that there is a chance she won’t get in foal.

9th March

Gave both horses a jump yesterday, first time travelling them together and separating them although they don’t know each other well enough for this to be a problem yet! Not sure that Posy thinks much of Bobby anyway.

Posy was first up and still keeping things quite light. Worked a little to warm up at moving her off my right leg into the left hand as currently she has a tendency to sit on the right hand. This is something that will take time. Jumped a small course with her and she made it feel very easy, she is straightforward, athletic and jumps from any stride.

She’s now having a few well deserved quiet days which is also tying in with her first flu jab. Mind you her most stressful activity at the moment seems being turned out so hope she soon settles to this. We turn out individually as she was in Ireland but being a smaller yard she is not always in sight of others and then gets stressed. I am sure she will settle soon.

So onto Bobby, we carried on working on the quality of the canter and getting him to sit on his hocks and therefore jump better. He is continuing to improve at a rate of knots and he jumped really well.

As you will also hear with Zoe’s shouts it is important with  Bobby that I keep sat up to help him. So some really good sessions. However with Bobby’s first BE at Howick fast approaching I am starting to worry regarding the lack of cross country schooling or competition opportunities.

7th March

Took the opportunity today to pop Posy over to our local venue Colraine and do a dressage test. Always a nice starting point as dressage days are usually quite laid back yet still gives the opportunity to see what they are like in a slightly busier environment.

She was great, walked her round in hand and let her settle before warming up and then doing the test indoors. Although the test itself showed we have some getting to know each other to do she was well behaved. Just struggling at the moment with a bit of an uneven contact, she has an old crack in her mouth and I don’t think this is helping much. Means she is not as straight as I would like but this just needs a bit of time.

So here's the test which I was delighted with for a first attempt.

She scored 64% which considering the mistakes was fabulous and came 4th :) Sadly rosettes only went to 3rd.

4th March

All go at the moment and today was Posy’s first outing. It was just a low key lesson with Robert Pickles an ideal way to get her out and about without putting too much pressure on her. I was really pleased with her she loaded well, travelled well and although bright on arrival and a real wriggle to tack up she came out the lorry and was easy to mount, walked up to the school and was good as gold.

At the moment she tires quite quickly so we had a short session doing some basic work such as leg yielding out off a circle, some basic serpentines and just sharpening up her canter transitions. At the moment she is a little one sided and leans on the right rein but this has already improved.

Robert loved her which was very encouraging. A video of some of the work we did today.

A really good outing and very pleased with her attitude today.

3rd March

Following a successful trip jumping on Sunday we looked to consolidate today in a bigger arena and outdoors at Bicton. They had an eventers Sjing with similar heights to BE. We had hoped when we orginally planned to come we could do some XC training too but sadly it was too wet. The show jumping however was great and he jumped his best rounds to date.

The 85cm suddenly felt small and certainly in this size arena it will be the last time we jump a class this small. He jumped a good clear leaving him in 4th

The 95cm was an even better round although we made one mistake for 4 faults.

Suddenly making big strides forward with him and can’t wait for the eventing and outdoor season generally to start. Disappointingly our first hunter trial at Pontispool next weekend has already fallen victim to the weather.

1st March

With Posy settling into life as part of the Shoestring string Bobby had a chance to make sure he kept ahead of the competition. We headed off to get some rounds under our belt at the Threewaters Riding Club Open Show Jumping at Resparveth. The forecast was mixed but we thought we had got away with it as we arrived in lovely sunshine. An hour later as I warmed up (outside) for our first class the wind suddenly seemed to reach gale force and the hail and rain sheeted down. The other 5 horses in the warm up disappeared leaving Bobby who continued to warm up despite the weather. Whilst it may have seemed a bit mad it was in the back of my mind that it may do this at an event one day and at least we would be prepared. Now I know he is good in future I will be running for shelter too!

The first class was an 85cm accumulator. He jumped a clear round still green in places but improving all the time. We certainly were not up to jumping the joker but the clear round left us in 5th place.

The next class was a 90cm and a decent track in what was a tight school for a green horse. There were also tricky turns with a tight line to the double and a tight line to the last. The round started well, we had a green jump into the double but he managed, at times he just lost the bounce in the canter so before the final line I brought him back to walk and regrouped, typically it was next fence we then had down and with a tough line to the last decided to circle and get a nice line rather than wagon it as I would of done if we were still clear.

So improvements made still quite a way to go.

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