We are still learning as we go, in relation to all the field maintenance and keeping on top of the ever growing weeds. It is such tough work but gives a good sense of achievement as we accomplish it! We did need some help recently though, as we needed to change the rear tyre on our mower. Seems like a simple task, but no. We managed to get the tyre half off and slip the inner tube in but getting the tyre back on was proving a challenge. We then decided to try and take the wheel off to give us more space to fight with the tyre (we had tried this initially, but it was quite tight). Well we tried and tried for two hours using my faithful hammer, pieces of wood, lubricants – you name it - but the wheel only budged a cm if that! Luckily after a quick chat to our neighbour, who is good with mechanics, he came up a few days later and in less than two minutes had the wheel off! Even better, he took the wheel away as he thought the trim needed a clean and sand off. The following evening he presented us with a completely refitted and blown up wheel, all we had to do was bolt it back on and we were back at work. It’s so lovely having helpful neighbours! Once sorted, Martin got on with tackling some of the thistles in the winter field so we are now making a dent in them before they seed, and I sowed some more grass seed to cover a few patchy areas.
Bob’s been acting a bit out of character in the last few jump sessions, being a bit nappy/resistant or charging at times, so for my lesson I asked to do flat work instead. He did well going over some ground poles, and weaving in and out, until in one of the canter sections he put in a leap then bunny hopped and stopped. This was similar to what he did a couple of times jumping so I was glad my instructor could see it. I’ve had a suspicion the saddle could be pinching him slightly so got my instructor to take a look and agreed with me as we both thought it was sitting slightly low on his withers. The gullets have now been changed again and off I go with a much happier boy. He is such a good horse and does try hard to get on with things, but I am grateful we have such bond that he shows me when something is not quite right so I can sort it as soon as possible.
Autumn’s been out again, this time to our first show of the year. I was initially going to take Bob but a loose shoe on the Friday scuppered that idea. I got all of Autumn’s tack and my boots cleaned on Friday evening, with just my outfit to sort on Saturday evening – why did I leave it so late!
It turned out I had forgotten the zip on my breeches had broken, so I had to dig out an overly long pair of old jods I had as an emergency pair. They made zipping my boots up hard but they would do! Next was the showing trousers – turned out they were a bit too big and were sagging at the back! Right, I thought let’s sort my jacket. It looked all nice on the hanger so I tried it on and who knows what had happened, but I kid you not, the sleeves had shrunk and were halfway up my forearm! Panic took over and I grabbed a jacket I had bought from an equine boot sale. It fitted but despite a couple of washes there were some stains I hadn’t managed to get out yet – a bit deflated but tough I thought it will have to do.
The plaiting was a bit of a catastrophe as despite wearing a fly mask, Autumn repeatedly shook her head so I think a 2 year old could have done better buns! Oh well I thought we can only go and have some fun, I had no expectations for the show so that took the pressure off and away we went. We had been delayed due to my plaiting and we arrived in enough time to get tacked up and do about three laps of the warm up before entering the ring! No clue what to do, I made sure we had a few horses in front so I could see what was required for the individual show, only issue was the front one was a pony and Autumn likes to stride out so I spent a lot of time holding her back. We managed an individual show but Autumn slipped halfway round and panicked herself, so her next turn was not as smooth although she tried her best and we came away with a 3rd in the veteran horse society (VHS) qualifier and 4th in the class overall. Next was In hand and I won’t lie, I felt a mess in my outfit but not wanting to let Autumn down, in we went. To my disbelief we came away with a 2nd in the VHS qualifier and 6th in the class overall (it was a big class and Autumn was 3rd oldest). I was so pleased all in all at the results we came away with, especially as I had begun the day fretting! The show atmosphere was great, the judge was lovely and it was so nice to have a chat with other riders.
Safe to say I have been online shopping since and have most of a new show outfit, just need to get a jacket now! It’s amazing how I was so worried about the outfit, but I think it was more first show nerves! I do however, really need to work on my plaiting so think I will be enlisting my friend to come over and give me some tips as she is good at it and enjoys plaiting!
My next plan is to do a few more loading practices with Bob and fingers crossed get him out to a show shortly. We have a couple of weeks between our lessons so it might be a good experience for him if we can squeeze one in.