Happy New Year!
The break over the festive period was very much welcomed, although the weather could have been kinder! A lot of rain and mucky fields to battle against, but on the plus side, I got some riding in. We had our last lesson of 2023 on 21 December and Bob excelled. We were jumping what my instructor called the Christmas star, involving four jump wings set at north, east, south, and west with poles off each one meeting on the floor in the centre, and a ground pole on each long side – laid out in an I X I formation.
We started off as always with poles on the ground and progressed with them being raised, initially jumping once or twice before going over the poles in every direction multiple times. Bob and I have been practising with it over the break and he’s improved every time, as has my confidence with him, which is such a relief. It’s a good exercise to get you looking for your fences and helping to improve your turning to them too. You can make your circles any size, so if you want to start practising for jump off, there’s always the flexibility to make them smaller/tighter.
The year didn’t end so great for us, as on New Year’s Eve my car was written off in a hit and run just after leaving the yard following an afternoon ride. Luckily, my partner and I weren’t badly injured, but the whiplash and concussion have delayed me riding, which was very frustrating as we had been making great progress.
To add to this, only days later we were hit by flooding, as I know a lot of areas sadly were. We arrived at the yard and saw the usual sections of the fields under water and, although annoyed, didn’t think much of it. By the time the dinners and stables had been prepped and the horses were about to be brought in, we couldn’t believe what we were seeing: over half the summer paddock was under two feet of water and it was still coming.
We then helplessly watched as it moved onto part of the winter paddock the horses grazed the day before. We put some blocks up to try and divert it from the stables, but within half an hour Aria’s stable was flooding and water was going into the big barns from the field behind the stables. Despite feeling sore, we had to empty the small brick stable by Bob quickly and get that set up for Aria, so she had a dry stable to stay in, although it wasn’t ideal. We were so relieved it stopped raining and the water did not reach the main stables.
On checking the next morning, thankfully the yard had drained, as had part of the fields, and there was no major damage, apart from to fencing round the river and lost bedding. From the pictures I’ve seen we were incredibly lucky, and I feel so bad for people who still have fields draining. What an absolutely awful shock for everyone!
I’m now on the mend and the weather is dry, although cold (which I will happily take over rain), so I’m back to planning for this year and what we will be getting up to, including car shopping – maybe I will finally get a four-wheel drive to help me in the snow?
Last year at the AGM of the local riding club, my partner and I (well, I volunteered him too) agreed to be on the committee, so we have our first official meeting to attend at the end of the week, which should be fun. I have several ideas to help grow the membership and hopefully attendance at the shows that we can discuss. The grassroot shows were such a huge part of my early equestrian journey and were so much fun, as well as helping me learn about competing, so they really need our help to keep them running. Here’s to a busy, but fun, horsey-filled year!