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Friday Night Show Jumping

BJ and I are very lucky to have a fair few venues near to us that have lots going on. A few weeks ago we headed to Topthorn for some Friday night showjumping.

It’s a novice night and indoor, so I was concerned the course may be a little tight, but when I walked it I was happy he’d be ok as it was nice and flowing and not to tight…but…there it is again…the dreaded skinny!!

It’s a silly thing to worry over, but we’ve never jumped these at home and I see them and panic! So…there it is….the last fence…a 9not really that skinny) skinny!

BJ worked in nicely…beautifully actually! It was the day after y combined training with Sharon Hunt and he was FLYING!

Quick clear round, then we did the 40cm & 50cm class.

Both of which, went well! I never expect to place when we go jumping, I look at every jumping round as a training session. I want to ride a tidy and accurate round and not worry about time.

After this night out I’ve decided 2 classes are his sweet spot, if I ask for 3 he’s always too tired by the end and dragging his feet. So in future we may do a quick clear round, then a class.

What I loved most about this night was my reaction to the skinny! best video/pics EVER. This little pony make me smile so much and makes me so proud of how far we’ve come, no, we’re not world beaters, but we’re out there, having fun and giving it a go. He’s always so honest and I couldn’t ask for more. And those happy ears, always looking for the jump and showing how much he loves his job!

Here’s the video from the night, I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed riding it!

See you all again soon

Lucy & Bojack xoxo

We try Le Trec…

Last Wednesday BJ and I headed to the HADRC club field to have our first go at Le Trec.

I didn’t really know what it was to be honest, it looked like a fun thing to try, I’ve always seen it a bit as agility on horse back, which it kind of is.

There was 4 in each group, but 2 were a little late, so me and one other got started…the first onsticle was reing back, we’ve not tried this before! we bent a post and he got a little frustrated, but we managed it in the end.

Next to the one handed barells. all in walk this time, but can try faster as we get better!

Then the ditch…we must WALK through it, yup, first time and he got it.

Dancing at the May Pole next, we managed this in walk and trot, pretty sure canter can wait for a few weeks there too!

The next was out of shot on my phone, a simple rail on the floor, step over so BJ’s front legs are one side, hind legs are the other, then walk sideways along it and walk away. Well, my boy nailed that first time, super proud of him.

Off to the skinny corridor, which we managed at walk trot and canter, I actually found it easier in canter!

The bridge was taken in his stride, such delicate little steps as he was a little unsure, but wanting to try it all.

Then the final part, again, out of shot…the bank, walk down and not one horse would go slower than canter up!

They definitely enjoyed the Trec and so did I. Can’t wait to go back in a few weeks for some more.

There was also a course of jumps in the field, so it would be rude not to have a little whizz round. After training with Sharon a few weeks ago I feel my jumping has really changed. She really helped me focus on what is really important and what I need to focus on. Yes, we’re rarely on the correct lead, and it’s not always the tidiest, BUT we’ve really improved our rythym and lines and I’m starting to focus more on the entire course than thinking ‘Thank fuck’ everytime I survive one jump!

I’ve made a little video below for viewing, thank you again for reading, and we’ll see you soon.

Lucy & BJ xoxo

To re-take or not to re-take…That is the question?!

Hello there my lovely followers, Sorry I’ve been a little quiet thelast week or so, work again takes priority and spare time to write blogs get pushed to the side!

This blog is about my entries for Dressage Riders Online this month.

I treat an online test the same as one I attend in person. I look to school the boy for about 30-40minutes before. He takes a while to get working nicely and waking up his back end, so I have a good schooling session before, working on transitions and lots of lateral work to get him listening and moving nicely.

Where possible we’ll do this in the jump field…we’re not fenced in and he always seems happier on the grass and in a more open space.

Friday I decided to film out tests for this months entries. He’d had Thursday off and was feeling good. He worked in beautifully, and felt nice and relaxed when we headed to the school.

Intro A went well, I felt happy with this test and how he performed and felt our contact was more consitent and our halt a bit tidier, bot things the judges keep mentioning.

Then to Prelim 2 – This test is SASSY! I love it! Lot’s going on, and quickly, you have to pay attention! I half knew it, but as always, had a caller, and even Justine struggled to call quick enough!

The first 2/3rds of the test felt good, again, he was being more conisitent and willing in his contact and I was riding him well…then the canter…oh lawdy…left canter was a mess, I’ve spent so much time fixing right canter we’ve lost out left! Wrong lead, disunited, flying changes…you name it, we did it. Ah well, right cater was much better, and both were more collected than normal, so there are positives!

Now, I’d given myself a talking to about canter recently, I often start to giggle when we go wrong, and then fail to ride him properly, so this time, I kept calm and tried to correct and help him, ok, it was still a mess, but slower and less rushed, so I see it as a win.

So, I could’ve re-filmed the test, however, I felt the rest of the test was rather nice, ok, canter still needs work, but we know this! so I’d rather submit a video with a bit of a mess in and get feedback, than keep filming until it looks tidier, but possibly loose a bit in the rest of the test, also…at a competition, I get one go! So, when I fim, I do the same.

I know our marks won’t be great, and we certainly won’t place, but I want our journey to be an honest one, and this canter issue shouldn’t be hidden!

I’ve added the videos of my tests below, and results will be announced on Tuesday, so with any luck I’ll have my sheets and feebdack with me by the end of the week.

Thanks again for reading!

See you again soon

Lucy & Bojack

xoxo

Intro A
Prelim 7

Doing it Online…Ooh Er!

The blog that’s probably not as exciting as it sounds!

I’m going to have a ramble about Online Dressage/Showing today.

I’ll put my hands up, I’ve only done one month of online comps, but so far I’ve really enjoyed it and been impressed 🙂

It’s really simple, you film a test at home, from the C end, either in a school or a marked out area in your field, and you can have a caller (essential for me, I can’t remember a damn test!). Then upload the video, I use Youtube or Vimeo (sometimes YouTube destroys the quality, so Vimeo is more reliable), pay for the class, send the video link and then wait for results, simples!

It’s a great way to compete if you don’t have transport, pennies are tight and show gear isn’t in the budget (as you wear smart yard clothes) or if, like me, anxiety and nerves can sometimes get the better of you. Or maybe you’d like a judges feedback and this is a simple, stress free way to do it.

I love the online feedback as it shows to me I can achieve it when out, so helps calm my nerves when I go out in person.

I’ve encouraged others on my yard to get involved too, for those without transport, or that can’t afford a regular lesson, then £10-£12 a month on a test, with feedback from a BD listed judge is a positive way to spend their money and receive input on how to improve.

I get a few comments regarding online tests, so wanted to address the most common arguments against it…

The judges are too easy on you and give higher marks – I’d argue that every day! I keep a record of my scores at shows and online and video most of my tests, and say they’re about the same, maybe online is 1-2% higher overall…but that’s because we’re chilled and relaxed at home and haven’t stressed getting to s ahow/warming up and them facing the judge.

The judges aren’t very good and have no qualifications – again, entirely wrong! I’m careful with where I compete and will only compete online if the judges are BD listed or extremely experience in their field.

The idea of online dressage is to encourage people to take part, see what they can achieve when calm and focused at home, and hopefully encourage them to go out and start taking part in local competitions.

It’s a fantastic stepping stone to gauge you and your horses readiness, and if you can do it at home and get good feedback, then surely that will encourage you to go out and about and give it a go too?

Or maybe you want to compete, but have no interest in all the faff of travelling, dressing up and getting out there, so enjoy the online shows!

In the last month or so I entered 3 different online competitions, I’ve written a little review for each below, which I hope you find useful.


The Mane Show £11.00 a class

This was the first one I entered in March, as recommended by a fellow livery at my yard.

It’s easy to understand the rules, complete payment, film, upload and share links. The tests are different every month, there are no restrictions, but it’s clearly stated in the rules to be honest about your horses and yours ability and will help you choose which class to enter if unsure.

The rules are also more relaxed than most, allowing for most types of tack, bitless bridles etc.

I’ve been lucky enough to place in both March & April tests, and have to say the frillies are stunning! Which is another plus point of online showing, money is saved on venue hire etc, so can be spent on stunning ribbons!

The judge is knowledgeable and fair with comments and feedback.

The closing date is normally the last day of the month, with results being posted between 1st-5th and then sheets and ribbons arriving by the 10th both months.

The only down but of the Mane Show is that the ribbons have safety pins rather than hooks, so displaying is a bit of a bugger! and I hate using safety pins around horses, so am super quick with any pics taken with BJ wearing them, but that won’t stop me entering.


Optimum Events £12.00 per class + £1.50 (myridinglife fee)

I’m filming later today for this month (2 days before the cut off…bad Lucy!) but I kept forgetting to schedule it in.

This is a local company in Suffolk which is why I’m keen to support them. They run events locally, but most start at Prelim, and I’m a few months off being happy to go straight in at Prelim, so am currently entering Intro and Prelim classes online to build up the brave pants!

The judges are all BD listed and definitely don’t go easy on you online, which I love! I want to know what BD listed judges think of our partnership and how we can improve so we’re ready to start affiliated competitions at the end of the year and know I’ll get honest and worthwhile feedback with Optimum.

Rules follow standard BD rules, filming is easy, pretty much the same as everything else, but uploading they ask for them to be sent via whatsapp. Due to the size of my files I couldn’t do this, so uploaded to youtube and sent the links via whatsapp, which they were happy to accept.

Cut off is normally the middle of the month, another plus point for me as it means I can get involved with online tests all through the month. Results are posted within 24hrs of the closing date and sheets and ribbons sent out quickly, mine arrived within the week.

Now, I placed 1st in both classes, but I don’t count them, and only looked at my scores/feedback, as in one class it was just me, and the other there was just 2 of us. I’m looking forward to these events gaining in popularity and seeing the classes grow. But hell…we all love a ribbon right? And these are stunning!


E-Riders £10.00 per class + £1 postage

With E-riders I entered April Intro B & C and had entered the Intro an Prelim for the Live Dressage on their FaceBook Group on the 12th May.

Again, rules etc are easy to follow and understand, filming is a little different as you have to introduce yourself at the beginning of your video, confirming your name, the horses name and event entered. Which is a fab idea to stop people using the same video for numerous online entries (but lets face it…those people are only cheating themselves!) and upload is easy too.

Cut off is the end of the month and results post the first day of the following month…and what a tense day that was! lots of refreshing and keeping an eye on the page, and wowzers! so many entries!

Both my classes were split into 3 groups of approx. 20. I was extremely lucky to place even with a 66% and 72%

I noticed a bit of backlash about this on the group and have mixed feelings about it. Personally I saw 75%+ and thought ‘Wowzers…these riders are good!’. A few comments suggested some were entering online Intro classes while competing at BD Novice level. If that’s the case these people should be banned from entering as they have such unsportsmanlike attitudes. While it’s difficult for any organiser to check up on this, I could understand the frustration from some people. But, at the end of the day, it’s meant to be a bit of fun, and if you were out and about competing you’d know that somedays a 65% will have you clear in the lead and others with have you bottom of the pack. That’s just how it goes, it just encourages me to take on board all the judges say and work together with my boy to improve.

I’ll also add the scores and notes from the judges were on par with other judges, both online and in person, so I don’t believe these BD listed judges were being generous, I think there were some fab combinations taking part and they deserved the marks they got!

This then led to a new set of restrictions coming into play, overnight. Which effected my Live tests, I contacted Susie and we discussed my options and we decided it was best for me just to do Prelim, rather than the intro I had planned too. GULP!

Having only been competing 6 weeks, I’ll not lie, I felt a little pushed out of Intro and I’m only working at Prelim at home, so not 100% ready for just Prelim tests, but, big girl pants on, we gave it a go. And along with Georgia and the fabulous Spirit, our yard mates, we got a JOINT 4th! Spirit and BJ bring it home to GHL!!

Unfortunately, due to the restrictions I won’t be taking part in e-riders for a month or two now, I need to up my game before throwing my hat in the ring again.

This is not a complaint at them, they want to make it fair and encouraging for everyone, which I totally respect and will be back when I can take part competitively with them 🙂

I received my sheets and ribbons yesterday, so the 14th, which was a little longer than I’d like in all honesty, and I’ll update this when I receive my live sheet from Saturday as it may have been a one off for slow postage this month. I like to receive online tests within the week, so that I can start working on what the judge has said to start improving for the following month, so mid month does leave me a bit on the back foot. However, there were a LOT of entries so that must have slowed down the sorting/posting of the sheets etc.


Looking forward to May I’ll be entering the Mane Show again, they were my first and I do love them! Optimum events will be filmed today, and as a new one I’ll be trying Dressage Riders Online.

I hope you’ve found my rambling review useful, and hope to see some of your joining in the online fun!

Until next time, love and smoochies!

Lucy & Bojack

xoxo

Please Note – all information is correct as to how I have read and understood it, please make sure if you’re entering any online competitions that you take the time to read the full rules and terms before filming etc.

Give it a go Show Jumping @ Boyton Hall

How did I forget to share this day with you all? It was one of the best we’ve had!

The boy and I had never done any SJ out and about, so when I saw the ‘Give it a go’ Show Jumping day at Boyton Hall I popped it in the diary and decided to give it a go.

It’s about an hr from me, and the final 20mins are lots of lovely windy country roads, but it’s a venue I’ll definitely be going back to.

Well set up, fab surfaces/areans, friendly and welcoming staff and plenty of parking, what more could you want?

We arrived in good time, and entered the classes we wanted to give a go.

We started with the 30cm clear round, something nice and small to give me an idea of where I was going and give BJ a look at the jumps, he went clear and felt good 🙂

Then we entered 2 classes, Table A7, 40cm & 50cm.

We’re keeping it super small at the moment to build up both of our confidence and to get him a little bored of the lower heights so he wants to jump the larger heights and not feel overfaced.

We got one down in the 40cm, but managed to gain a frillie and placed 5th 🙂

The 50cm we got 2 down, one from a call of nature and the second was 100% my fault.

I came away from the day absolutely buzzing, once again this special boy had performed beautifully, another fantastic day out helping him learn to take it all in his stride.

As always, a little video of our day is below.

Thank you for reading, and we’ll see you again soon!

Lucy & BJ xoxo

Dressage and Clear Round SJ

A few weeks back I decided to head a little further afield for the Colne Valley Riding Club Dressage and Clear Round Show Jumping.

I find BJ settles and has a nicer canter after a lil’ jump, so thought this would be a fab opportunity to have a little practice towards some combined training.

We set off early with the Sophie on board to be cameraman for the day and arrived in good time, it was at Stratford Hills and there was plenty of parking in the HUGE field we were in.

However…no toilets! I deserve a ribbon just for holding it all day to be honest! But luckily, that’s the only down part of the day.

The weather was ever changeable all day, from bright sun to icey hail, but always with a bitter wind, so the thermals were needed!

BJ travelled well, and stood like a champ on the pony express all day, I’m honestly so proud of this boy for being so chilled after being such a stress head on the lorry in the past.

With a huuuuge field to warm up in BJ was nice and relaxed and feeling good going into the first Class, Intro B. This was our first attempt at dressage in such an open field and we did well staying in the boards and keeping focus. We scored a respectable 69.56% and placed 2nd 🙂

We did a quick clear round after this class, the jumps were 35-50cm, so nice and small, but a nice reward for the boy after the dressage. Well, after 1 jump, the hail came down!! But we kept going, it wasn’t the prettiest clear round, but we made it round without knocking anything down!

A little break, then on to Prelim 14 – Restricted – This did not go so well! I was convinced we’d be lucky to score 50%, we almost left the boards at one point and my giggle fit after this meant it wasn’t the tidiest test…but…shock of shock, we scored a rather nice 65.19%! The rest of the class were fantastic and we didn’t place, but all I was worried about was getting practice cantering in a test. We managed to keep all scores above 5 and I’m so proud of my hard working boy.

We then had a quick spin around the clear round again, I just wanted to do a tidier/smoother clear round, and we did 🙂 He was calm and responsive and I was happy with our performance.

So time to relax, await the score sheets and prep to get ready to go home.

Here’s a little video from our day, thank you for reading, and we’ll see you again soon!

Lucy & BJ xoxo

Off to the Show we go!

Well, this Saturday we had our first (and last) go at showing.

I’ll put my hands up right now, and say it’s never been something that interested me really, I enjoy watching the cob and traditional classes at the Suffolk Show, but have never wanted to get involved myself. However I’m always getting comments that I should try it once so I figured, why not?

We entered the Gipping Riding Society (GRS) Showing Show a few weeks back, my plan was to have a go at the Working Hunter Pony Clear Round, Green Working Hunter and the Open Cob Class.

I figured working hunter should be possible as his jumpig is coming along nicely and it would be good practice.

and the open cob class (any height, any type) meant the midget could get involved, as most show cob classes need him to be at least 5cm taller!

So, 5am came around, alarm work the household…and off we went! Ian was dragged along as I knew I’d need a spare pair of hands through the day and could pay him with bacon butties 🙂

We arrived stupidly early! Before the trade stands in fact, I’d allowed a little too much travel time, but hey ho, I’d rather be early and have time to kill than late and rushing.

The showground was beautiful, well set up, and as always with GRS everyone was so welcoming and friendly and the atmosphere was relaxed.

I had a quick walk of the CR course and fell in love! So beautifully put together, everything flowed wonderfully and no chance of me getting lost (always a fear with jumping I’m ashamed to say!).

We had a nice relaxed warm up, then in to the clear round. Clipped no5 uphill and got confused between 1 or 2 strides in the double, but overall I was really happy with how we handled it, nice and calm and well jumped buddy!

Then came the actual class…Green Working Hunter…and they add a skinny! which isn’t that skinny, but we’ve never done them before and as soon as I see it I loose any calm I have and go into full panic/twat mode! So…you guessed it, we had it down! Got over it, so YAY for that, but we had it down, along with the another one, that’s 2 down. Ah well…he jumped the rest of the course well and his little show went well too 🙂

Next was pretty much a whole lot of nothing! it was about 11am, and we didn’t have another class until 3ish…so a lot of waiting around…

The last class we did was Open Cobs. I have mixed feelings about this one and I’m wanting to be careful not to sound like a whiney cack bag or sore loser. There were some STUNNING Cobs in this class, and we in no way deserved to place. That I’m sure of, however, we were last…and I feel my straight moving, well put together cob didn’t deserve to be last. But hey ho, that’s showing!

The judges in both classes were lovely, feedback was given by both of them and they were very kind to the grown woman stressing like a twat on her pony in front of them!

Overall I enjoyed another lovely day out with my boy, he had good practice standing by the lorry and staying calm and he did everything asked of him willingly, so I can’t fault him.

And whatever any judge says, I know how far my boy has come, no, both of us, have come in just a few months, and to me he was always be the best at any show or competition and I’m always the winner as I get to take him home with me.

But I prefer my dressage and show jumping and don’t see us showing again. And yes…a big part of that is the tweed…I felt very odd wearing tweed!

Thank you for reading and here’s a little video of the day.

See you again soon

Lucy & BJ xoxo

A Matching Pair!

What a day!

It was our first solo outing to a comp and I couldn’t have asked for more.

The day started chilly…no..freezing! Up at 6 and on the road by 8 to attend the Gipping Riding Society unaffiliated dressage.

I’d decided to stick to intro for both tests as our canter still needs work to be ready for Prelim, so first class of the day, Intro B, we were due in at 9.48

I pulled up next to a familiar face I’d not seen in about a decade! Quick hello then on with the stressage!

There was a HUGE field to work in, that suited us just fine, he likes having room to stretch his legs and prefers the grass to a surface to keep him calm.

Our first test went ok, he was a little against me for the first 1/3 ish and took a while to settle. But I was happy overall, I made sure not to rush, to focus on my rhythm and tempo and keep him steady and consistent. Really trying to focus on riding each part of the test to completion and not rushing to get to the next part.

We scored 60.65%, with no scores under 5, so only just in my comfort zone, but we managed a first and I was proud of our achievement and the notes from the judge.

Then came the long wait for our next class…class 3, intro C, we were second in at 12.36.

The boy was a star, stood so well on the pony Express and made me so proud! I turned to a small block of ice and felt I’d never be warm again however!

By 12noon we were back in the warm up paddock and having a good mooch about, I didnt feel the need to do too much and kept him at walk and trot, he was very willing and ready to go!

The second test felt fantastic, a few blips down to my error or him losing a little focus, but I was beaming and so happy with him, starting to get all teary again and had to give myself a talking to!

The club was so friendly and welcoming, a really nice atmosphere to compete in, and a huge thank you to Alison for calling my tests for me.

I took the boy back to the lorry to un tack, groom,clean tack and be ready to head home before popping to check on scores.

Well…theres a shock…68%!! What a darling boy, it’s something special when you get a good score after a test you’re proud of!

We loitered to get our score sheet and ended up placing 1st again…a pair! I had to dash before getting all teary again!!

I gave my second chocolate bunny (perks of a first) to one of the girls parked next to me, a lovely family, 3 generations out for the day with the sweetest ponies and riders, one of which was extremely nervous competing and had placed 3rd, a really sweet family, I failed to properly introduce myself to and don’t know the names of, but another huge thank to them, not only for my cookie but also for keeping an eye on the boy when I left him alone.

All in all it was an awesome day, a wonderful atmosphere with friendly and helpful people, I’ll definitely be back and have booked into their showing show in a few weeks.

I got all emotional and sent a very gushy WhatsApp to my trainer Hayley when I got home too. Although I was a competition groom for 8+yrs I never really rode, I had no confidence and doubted my ability, and until I met Hayley 6 months ago never thought I was any good at riding.

Well, 6 months on, we started competing 3 weeks ago, 4 competitions entered, 8 tests, 8 ribbons 1st – 4th. If it wasnt for Hayley’s guidance, knowledge and belief in us we wouldnt have achieved it. No words can Express my gratitude for having her train us, #dreamteam baby!

I’ll stop my rambling now…

As always, thanks for reading, I’ve added a few pics below and also a lil video, mainly for mumsy, but if you fancy a watch please do!

P.s. I just got confirmation I’ve got a slot at the Charlie Hutton clinic next month…what a fabulous Sunday!!

Lovely big warm up

Standing on the box like an angel!

First test sheet back, complete with chocolate bunny!

Red is definitely his colour

Who doesnt love a moustache!

The days results

Our ribbons so far, no words 🥰

More Showjumping Clinics

Well..you just cant shut me up this week can you?!

Yesterday saw us heading to Grove Farm for a showjump clinic with Hayley.

I was late, flustered and BJ was a mess straight from the field, but we had a good time.

The aim was to remember how to piece together a course and ride it completely, and for me to WAIT TO JUMP! and not fold a stride out…and also to not dance the funky chicken as we jump, elbows in missy!

Anyways, here’s the video from yesterday, I hope you enjoy it, we sure did!

xoxo

Made to Measure Bridles, Online Dressage and Hacking fun!

Well what a day! It’s been pretty awesome.

The afternoon started measuring up the boy for a custom made noseband, a lil thicker and a different buckle to keep him more comfortable and looking sexy as ever.

Then we toodled up to the jump field to work in and pop a few jumps before filming our dressage tests for e-riders this month. And boy…did he feel amazing! I thought a lil jump would relax him nicely and oh boy did it!

He felt so nice when we went in the school, I made sure to keep recent notes from judges and Hayley in my head and worked very hard on keeping my tempo and not rushing, and I think I did a pretty good job.

I was happy with how I rode him and as always, so happy with how he performed.

But after a great performance he was utterly shocked to find out his work wasn’t done 🙈 Sophie had asked for company out with the very sweet and extremely sassy William, brave girl pants engaged…and we’re going for a canter!

He was a perfect gent, we even popped over a few logs, and it was so lovely to see such a big smile on Sophie’s face having found that her boy could be trusted not to run off with her out hacking!

I’ve booked in a few more shows tonight too and am about to submit my dressage entries. Feeling rather fab and so in love with my boy!

Lil video below, and thanks for reading guys xoxo