It’s almost Christmas, and I have to say I can’t wait for the few days off! I’ve been getting the horses Christmas pressies ready for them, starting with some Horsebix, fruit and veg, mints etc but also have a few more goodies to buy them too. We have had a fair bit of wet weather this week which hasn’t been fun in either the field or the arena, and the horses have definitely been displeased getting the hooves wet in the mulchy sand! It’s a bit frustrating as our arena isn’t the best in the wet so I’ve had to postpone any jumping until the surface dries out, but it does mean I have to come up with other ideas and get them to do something different which is always good to keep them thinking and interested!
Autumn has been doing more flatwork schooling – concentrating on her bends and circles alongside transitions – I got her to do quite a few good trot transitions where she opened up more down the long side of the arena before coming back to me down the shorter side. She was however treated to a day out at the weekend as I wanted to retry her in her close contact saddle with some jumping. She has also been on the blue chip senior balancer so I was interested to see if that had given her anything extra. Well what can I say – she was amazing at the show; the first class – she was the only clear and a good 6 seconds ahead of 2nd place and she didn’t even get out of breath (rider on the other hand had streaming eyes from the cold and needed a few minutes to regain herself).
I was really looking forward to the second class – then I seen all the fillers – and the dreaded wavey plank that Autumn always knocks! We were second in (not by my choice) and on entering the arena, Autumn started a beautiful balanced canter which I felt oozed her confidence, so all negative feelings aside we went for it! Aside from a rider error losing a stirrup between fences 2 & 3, the round went really well – careful jumping from the old gal, and very fast paces and incredible turns (almost knocking into the photographer and pole picker who were in the line we were taking – think they thought we would go wide – no chance).
Every filler was jumped perfectly with no hesitation, the wavey plank sailed over and the treble jumped foot perfect! I was so proud of her and I know people heard me telling her this the whole way round; on leaving the arena we heard the commentator say what a superb round it was which had me beaming – my jumping girl was definitely back on it! We patiently waited for the results and were so pleased to hear our names announced in first place! The old lady had done it – a double whammy, this time incredibly winning in 26 seconds with second place being 35 seconds! What a fab way to end the year, my good old gal back out and doing fab what a brilliant Christmas present! She earned herself some prize money which I’m putting towards a Christmas pressie for her as she definitely deserves it!
Bob has been a bit challenging this week, again he’s been fine when exercised in the evening, but when ridden in the early afternoon (or daylight in general) has become spooky again in one corner of the arena, so much so that I had to lunge him for half an hour before being able to climb aboard. Roll on the lighter evenings so I can get him back to normal! I can see a few eventful schooling sessions coming my way over the Christmas Holiday.
Aria has been a good girl (yes I do mean Aria). We went for another wander round the village at the weekend with her pony pal. All Hi vised up so the people on the space station could see us, and I even had a caution Young Horse tabard on this time instead of my wide and slow – I have to say bar one driver – everyone took heed of it and slowed giving us plenty of space. Aria was extremely calm, and half way round we even took the lead – not only walking but trotting too! She went a lot better on the road with her shoes on showing it has made such a difference to her. Brownie points to even out the little madam after she tried to boot me the other night whilst picking out her feet!
I also attended an informative charity evening at the end of the week, by a local showjumper, Dan Delsart, in memory of Tim Stockdale (one of my idols) and to raise money for the Tim Stockdale Foundation at my local equestrian centre. The turnout was great with lots of people, and despite a few microphone hiccups the demos were really good to watch and I’ve picked up a few tips and training ideas from them as well – definitely worth attending – I’m hoping to go to the other one he is doing in January as well. I love attending these types of demos as it’s interesting to see how different people train their horses, and also the exercises they use.
Now off to go pressie shopping for Autumn and spoil the others too, unfortunately unlike my dogs I can’t take the horses into the shops to choose their own presents – well not if they want the shop to remain in one piece HA!