Do you ever get those days when everything planned just doesnt appeal to you?
That’s what happened today! I was due to head to my monthly peer group meeting but woke up with a niggling head ache and a drive to get in the salon and get a few bits sorted I’d neglected.
Having cleared a load of work yhis put me in a great mood for the rest of the day and when the headache cleared I was ready for a chilled walk with my lady, then off to the yard to see to the boy.
The sun was shining, birds were tweeting and the wind was freeeezing!
Today’s plan was to practice BD Intro B & C ready for filming tomorrow for e-riders and also ready for dressage on Sunday with gipping valley RC.
He was a little sharp to start, but a bagillion transitions later and lots of circles and serpentines he settled nicely and I tried my hardest to keep his tempo more regular and not to rush and was happy with what we did.
Again our transitions to and from walk need more work, especially when collecting him up after a free walk, but we make slow progress every schooling session so that’s enough for me.
After about 40mins in the school I was ready to call it a day, he’d worked well and I didnt want to overdo it before tomorrow.
We toodled up to the jump field and have a lil amble round, then I figured, hell, why not? We popped a jump, then another.
And before I know it I’ve made a little course in my head and we’ve done it twice.
He was a star, no hint of running out, really lit up when we started and happily took me to each fence without too much rushing.
Yesterday we ventured out Stowmarket way for a clinic with Jonathan Allinson. I’ll admit I didn’t really know what to expect, but he was recommended to me by another livery (who was also going to the clinic) so I figured I’d go along and see how we got on.
The boy loaded beautifully, we’ve been playing the pressure release game the last few weeks after he had a little set back, so yesterday was wonderful to have him toodle straight up the ramp and start eating with no fuss.
The journey had a few set backs and we arrived a little late, but BJ was ready to spring into action!
A quick warm up and then we began, we mainly did some good work that challenged both BJ and myself and jumped a small rail at the end.
The entire time, as always, he had a fantastic attitude and really tried, even when he didnt understand what I was asking.
It made my day to have him complimented on his condition too, it’s a silly thing I know, but I’ve spent the last 6 months getting him fit and healthy ready to perform this year, so its fab when professionals notice and comment 😍
Anyways, all in all it was a great day, I definitely want to train with Jonathan again, but would prefer a longer slot, 30mins just wasnt enough for me, I felt we’d just got going when we had to stop.
So here’s yeserdays video, including BJ and Jonathan’s game of chicken! And my constant laughing!
The sun was shining, the birds were tweeting, the sky was skying! A perfect day to go and play in the jump field, and casually mention to Hayley that there are also cross country jumps in the next field…
So here we go, an impromptu cross country training day!
Now, hands up…I’m not wearing a body protector or air jacket, slap my wrist. I own neither as I honestly didn’t think we’d be ready for this so quickly. So…pennies are being saved and I pinky promise I’ll get one before we next play over solid jumps.
I’m going to share some of our daily activities like schooling, lunging etc. I’m trying to keep myself focused from the high of Sunday and build on what the judges say, so by next month there will hopefully be an improvement in our performance.
Today we had a quick schooling session before work, about 25minutes focusing on improving our tempo, aiming for correct lead strike off on both reins in canter, and squaring up our halt.
Well, we managed 4 square halts and EVERY canter was in the correct lead AND with me in the saddle rather than light seat. Our tempo/y rising still needs work, he was fresh and I was struggling to contain his energy, but it settled in the end, all in all I was super chuffed with our quick schooling and it definitely set me up for the day 🙂
I’m still totes emosh, which is rather pathetic I know, but I’m beyond proud of my little man.
Today we headed to our first ever show, The Halesworth & District Riding Club Dressage. I’d originally planned to just do class one, Intro A, and then was badgered into doing a second by the fabulous Krisstey on Thursday, so we also did the Intro B in class 2. We still have a lot of work to do on our canter!
It’s ridiculous to think that I have accompanied an Olympic rider to the Nationals in the first year or so of my career and I was an utter mess at taking an Irish Cob to a local riding club show, I’m a mess!
I have to say how friendly and welcoming everyone was, I was so at ease and after being pointed out to me that I looked terrified! I remembered to smile and enjoy it.
Travelling went well and he was a superstar when we arrived, straight off the Pony Express to avoid any attempts at climbing over the partition or breast bar (we’re working on it!) a quick walk round and then tied up with his HayGrazer.
Ian had a crash course in becoming a groom and did a smashing job!
The warm up started well, he was a little tense, but I was wired so let him off and kept reminding myself to chill, it’s an intro.
A few springy bucks in canter, a million serpentine’s, and a few stop n natters and we’re all set to go in.
I accepted the offer of a caller, as had nightmares of me forgetting mid test.
So, here it is…our first ever Intro (and by that I mean neither of us have ever competed in Dressage before…ever…)
I was beyond happy with his performance. Our first ever test…and we scored 70.65%
I’m still overwhelmed and speechless.
Lowest score was a 6 – our half circles – never been our strongest point so wasn’t surprised there. And at one point he tried to duck out at A!
Highest score of 8.5!!!! for the final MXK change of rein in working trot. and 8.5!
Final note being “Pleasing test with some super moments. Well Done!”
I honestly couldn’t be more pleased with my lad.
We then had a little break before our second test, results for the first class came in as I was worming up and I overheard Krisstey and Hayley “Don’t tell her, she’ll cry” Thanks Krisstey, so figured he’d done a good test and maybe we’d placed, but I tried to ignore it and focus on our next test…that I didn’t know….
Quick warm up and in we go…
A few more 6’s in this one, I lost my tempo and rushed a bit, always an issue with me. But the bit I was so proud of, was our 20m circle allowing stretch, he normally giraffe’s at his point, but no, he felt amazing, massive smile on my face! and a respectable 7!
Again, a slight wobble at the first pass of A, oops! But overall comments were awesome.
“Lovely chunky fellow showing pleasing movements. Now needs to develop suppleness over back for consistent roundness & softness. Take care not rush the tempo (with your rising seat) as results in pushing out of balance”
Overall it’s been a fantastic debut, more than I could have ever hoped for. Fantastic comments and lots to go away and work on, especially our constantly crooked halt!
Anyways, my rambling needs to end now, thank you for taking the time to read/watch. And keep watching the socials and the blog for our future adventures!
Yesterday BJ had another playdate with his favourite gal Nellie, this time in the jump field!
After a taster of jumping in our lesson Thursday I wanted to play again, but this time without the security of a fence one side!
He was such a good boy, we kept it nice and slow and steady and tried his best, we destroyed one jump but that was my fault as I came into it knowing we should have done it slower and on it’s own once.
After a long tiring night shift Roxy was pleased with Nellie too, she’s had a rough time in the past so needs some careful handling, and did so well. We both left with huge smiles on our faces and proud of our ponies!
Hope you enjoy the video (please excuse the angles, first time I’ve put the camera on my hat and it’s not the best).
Well, after seeing him jumping Wednesday and sharing pics that Hayley saw…there really was no other option for my lesson Thursday, I engaged my brave pants and we jumped! First time in 10 years for me….scary bananas!
I once again forced my GoPro on Hayley and we headed to the school.
Once again, I had so much fun with this awesome pony, and the most surprising thing for me, was how calm he was, we kept it nice a simple, heading towards the jumps in a calm trot and just letting them happen, and even as they got bigger, after the jump we could have a long rein and bumble round. I was worried he’d get over excited with them, but no, once again my lad was calm and sensible and we worked well together.
Please remember when watching the video that I’m massively out of practice, and far from confident when jumping, my biggest issue has always been jumping before the horse…this has not changed!
Now to progress slowly and learn to trust each other and not get in his way. I think I have a habit of slowing him too much so he’ll catch rails and fail to take off, but I guess I’d rather that then winding him up!
Once again, thank you for reading and watching the video, and I hope you’re enjoying our journey as much as I am.
PS. Yes, my left hand in rising trot is driving me mental too, no idea what it’s problem is at the moment!!
We’ve really been enjoying the early spring like weather in winter, BJ’s had some lovely naked days in the field and I’ve been putting my brave pants on!
Tuesday he enjoyed a day off, and Wednesday I thought I’d pop him on the lunge and remind him how to jump, he was an utter star!
He came out feeling goooood! He’d spotted the wings and rails and was strutting his stuff on the lunge while warming up.
He happily took himself to the trot and canter poles and flew over them, I was getting the impression he’d missed something a little more challenging.
The first jumps were simple small cross rails and he popped them with ease, I even caught him locking on halfway across the school and taking himself to them.
We then progressed to some uprights, and 80% of them he did with ease, he can occasionally rush and bury himself in them, but is always very honest and tries his best.
I was flying high watching my lad have so much fun, so the last few jumps we really pushed him, loose schooling over an 80cm oxer.
He was a star!!
I’m so proud of how well he did and how hard he tried, and it was really helpful to see him jumping on his own without me getting in the way, now I not only know he can, but also know where I can help him as a rider and hopefully we’ll be out at our first fun clear round jumping soon!
Anyone following me on on social profiles will have noticed I’ve been taking part in the #teamequissimo BA search.
Today is the last day….and I’m a sad panda! I’m really going to miss my daily task or chats and have really enjoyed taking part.
It’s genuinely pushed me to do things I’ve avoided for months/years! Which includes my rather emotional livefeed on my work YouTube channel, which it turns out, I really needed!
I just wanted to write a quick blog to say thank you to Equissimo for the last month, it’s been awesome, fun, challenging and inspiring. Not only in my personal pony life, but also in my business life and my on team of BA’s.
I can’t wait to see who they select to join their inspiring team of supportive and inspiring BAs, there are some fantastic people taking part in this challenge (and ponies) and I can’t wait to continue following them.