Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Hendersyde BE100 - it all came together!

Hi All

I posted a couple of weeks ago about my run at Auchinleck when we got a 24.5 dressage for the first time ever. Well my usual scores this year have been around 38 so to get this was AMAZING!

having then lead after Dr and SJ we had a stop on the xc which was quite unusual and I was worried that my horse was backing off after his Novice runs haven't gone as smoothly as planned.

Anyway, we went to Hendersyde this weekend to try and replicate our dressage again, this time deciding to warm up for as little as possible and ride a quite test. So my warm up consisted of leg yeilding, walk/trot transitions and a couple of canter transitions to get him off the leg and light in my hand.

headed to the arena and set off. the test felt nice but not as good as Auchinleck, he trotted in the FWLR as i'd been doing almost walk transitions in the warm up so perhaps not do these next time!!

Finished Dr and went off to walk the SJ and XC, score went up and we got a 28!! not bad again, this left us around 10th after DR.

SJ was a funny arena. Quite undulating and all the jumps had the fillers on the sides of the fences - which is sometimes worse than being underneath - but I think this is due to it being windy. The hanging baskets on all jump wings were flapping in the breeze and the course was causing lots of issues in the BE90.

Got tacked up and headed over, J was jumping well in the warm up so headed in. Got half way round to the first fence and he had a porky at the crowds and flags! spun round and shot off. Gathered him back up and trotted past fence 8. circled round thankful that I have 45 seconds to start, and headed back to fence 1. He popped round lovely, clear round with a couple of spooky bits but jumped super

So came out clear, with just the xc to go!

headed to xc, a bit apprehensive. there were elephants and a skinny thistle fence that was making me a bit nervous that he would spook. I even checked out the thistle skinny alternative!!

Headed off to the first few fences and he flew them, ears pricked looking for the next fence and boldy taking them on. He did back off the elephant but I was having none of it and he popped it, then headed off and flew the bank. I kept a good contact to the thistle fence and he popped that too and galloped home without an issue. I'm thrilled he went clear and inside the time. He totally ate the ground up - this year he has really learnt to gallop.

And I finished 2nd

the winner is a lovely rider who has a lot of experience and she finished 3.5 penalties ahead of me so I'm super chuffed we were only a few marks off the winner. I checked out our dressage sheet to find I got a 9 for my halt and a 5 for my walk! so if we hadn't trotted and we work on his walk, we could almost get those extra marks to put us in contention.

I am super thrilled that we have really improved this season. and keeping my fingers crossed that those dressage scores are not a fluke!!

anyway some piccies:

All pics taken by lovely OH

Late reports sorry! Auchinleck BE100

So last weekend I had entered J into the BE100 at Auchinleck, since we ran at Hopetoun in the Novice I have decided that we are both not quite ready for that level so it will be BE100’s for the rest of the year. My times for Auchinleck were pretty late on so didn’t even leave home until 10am! It was practically a lie-in to not get up before 8am – although a bit weird!

Arrived with plenty of time and the sun shining – thankfully it wasn’t too hot inside the lorry and J was very settled with his water and hay as we went off to walk the xc. The course was lovely – having only been to Auchinleck once before a long time ago I couldn’t really remember what it was like but none of the fences looked to be asking too many questions and I was hopeful that we would have a nice pop round.

Arrived back with chief course walker  (the lovely Labrador) and John who has twisted his ankle while walking the course and left them to start getting ready. Left putting my jacket on until the last minute as it was becoming a scorcher of a day by this point. Slowly started to melt as I was walking over to the dressage and got on with warming up. J was warming up even better after a few pointers from my instructor LL who was judging the other section of riders and headed over to start my test.

Then a funny thing happened…..

We normally start to get tense on the trot around the arena, but after my chat with LL it has become clear that its not the horse, more the rider who gets tense and after the small pep talk, I spent the time focusing on releasing the tension and J went beautifully. Carried on this plan for the duration of the test and J seemed to be well behaved, cantering when we were supposed to. The trot, walk, trot transition first time was a bit iffy as we broke after two strides and I wasn’t sure if I should do it again or carry on so muffed it a bit. Anyway we have been working on his canter, doing transitions, moving on and back and counter canter (as it really makes him sit) and I think it has started to pay off as his canter was light and on his hocks. He was a bit worried about the give and retake which I don’t really practice at home but still managed it, and even his walk wasn’t so bad.

Came out of the ring feeling that it was a nice test, but as we normally get 38, I was hopeful of a 35 maybe a 33.

Headed over to the SJ, to find no-one in the warm up, popped over a couple then went to find out the course. J was jumping nicely and after our rubbish round at Hopetoun (he had a very unusual stop then two down in the Novice) I was aiming to get round with no more than one down. Which is what we achieved! We still had the customary one fence down but it was a bit of both our errors, I tried in a rubbish way to get him back for the down hill fence 6, but he was fighting me and when I saw a stride I just took it rather than really getting him back so we booted it out. He was a better round than at Hopetoun but I think I was riding him a bit too strongly as he looked a bit worried over a couple of fences – still he left them up! Something to work on getting him to relax again anyway.

Came back to the lorry to find a text to say we were in the lead on a Dr score of 24.5

24.5!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I did have a bit of an astonished and disbelieving look about me for a while before it sunk in that even after SJ we were still in the lead

Then I blew it!

Headed over for the xc, determined to go clear. J has never had a fault in any xc run up to Novice – his record was only tarnished this year with the 3 novice runs I did and two of those were numpty jockey errors. However he was backing off a lot of the Novice so I have decided to keep him at the 100 for confidence. I wasn’t really expecting it to be a problem, and set off out of the start box thankful of the wind whistling past to keep us cool! Jumped the first few fences and he flew them, backed off a couple later on but still jumped them when asked, saw some long strides and he took them easily and headed off down to fence 11. This was a hanging long going into the trees, I knew the light to dark thing might be a problem so sat down and rode him over him which he backed off but still jumped when asked. Once landed I turned and went through the trees to the coffin – roll top, one stride to ditch, then one stride to log. Popped the first part then to my horror he spooked at the ditch and ran sideways the ditch was very long so we hadn’t actually turn away or stepped back but the hesitation was there and even though we then jumped it, I had already heard the jump judge shout the ‘first refusal’ so carried on and finished well but gutted that we had done so badly on the xc!

We also picked up 6 time faults which is 15 seconds over the time. I reckon about 5 seconds was for the ditch so we would still have collected time faults although we would have been placed as the time was extremely tight.

I’m annoyed with myself for assuming he would have popped the ditch, he’s never been a ditchy horse but looking at the photos John took, there was a very bright sunny spot coming out of the trees right over the ditch so maybe that was it? We jumped the next ditch on the way home fine so I’m hoping that will still have given him some confidence for his next run at Hendersyde.

It’s the first time I have ever found myself being so close to doing really well at an event! I’m now on a mission to make it happen more often (the dressage, not the abysmal xc!!)

Late reports sorry! Hopetoun BE Novice

Hi all.

So I was writing for the dressage judge on sat at Hopetoun and then when finished, went off and walked the 100a and Novice xc course.

I was originally entered to do the 100 but on walking the xc and hearing from others who were also walking it, I think they have made the novice there a bit easier than in previous years as I honestly didn't think there was anything we couldn't do.

Put on my brave pants and asked if it would be poss to move classes. Kindly they said I could . Think there was a wait list for the 100.
So on the Sunday I headed over and walked it again. Was still pleased with my decision so tacked up and headed to dressage

38.5 dr which I know could be better if we could sort the tension but still no worse than we get at 100 (or at 90, or 80 it would seem!)

SJ was a disaster. Not the size, mostly muppet jockey who hasn't really noticed the carnage that the double at fence 6 was causing. My horse is not spooky at all and we were going clear until then when he stopped at the first part ! This was happening a lot through the day but I hadn't really noticed this so didn't ride any different and as he's not a spooky horse I just assumed he'd be fine! Anyway represented and he then jumped it fine, but the stop had worried him so he then had two down. Ended up with 9 time also.

Headed over to xc. He felt really good in the warm up, jumped a couple of fences one on an angle then headed to the start. I was a little nervous but a friend was doing the xc stewarding and said all the right things!

Set off and flew the first 3. They were log, sticky fence thing, and roll top. Then the rain came and came!! By the time I was coming to fence 14 I couldn't see where I was going!

fence 4 was a box brush, a few strides onto 5abc which was a large rustic house thing, 3 strides to a ski jump/drop(with huge ditch behind - rider frightener) then 4 strides to a skinny up a hill. Fence 6 was a wide white table, and onto a roll top in the trees on an angle and down to fence 8abc, a hexagonal roll top thing, one stride to a drop, then three strides to a (very) narrow skinny brush. there was an alternative to 'c' which was the 100 skinny and was on a much tighter right turn, but doable.

Brave little grey jumped his heart out but we collected 20 penalties as he had a spook on approach to fence 8, we were about 5 strides away and I hadn't presented but I think it was in the grey area of setting up for the fence. Anyway not to worry, popped it and went for the tight turn to the alternative at C which he did easily. carried onto fence 9 another table which he backed off alot at but still jumped. fence 10 was a pheasant feeder and flew it - I then went the wrong side of the string so quick turn round and on the right track - heading for 11ab which was a narrow pair of kennels on a curve. was worried J would slip out the side door but he locked on and popped them. then turned right to head to the owl hole which a few had miss walked. It started a conversation on the day about whether you count your fences as you ride round - I always do but lots of people don't.
Anyway, pinged through the owl hole and headed to the water. it was an upturned boat in, then a small jump in the water - for some reason we always grind to a trot in water, but he popped it easily from trot and onto fence 14. this was a branch of a tree, with a whiskey barrel underneath, 5 strides to fence 15 a wide table. Was an easy line but he backed off and ended up banking it which was a bit . He carried on fine, but I was really having to keep leg on and drive at the big fences.

popped the next viaduct fence, then round to pallisade 17ab, with 'b' being a skinny on a curve - no problems for him there and onto the last which was a roll top.

came through the finish with his ears pricked (helmet cam doesn't lie ) but for me, I feel he is not ready for this level yet - and me as a rider needs to buck my ideas up and start riding more accurately - I managed to go the wrong side of the string, and at the last event ended up jumping the wrong ditch so Jockey needs a telling off!!

Horse on the other hand, has had plenty of polo mints, hugs, and pats for having a heart of gold. i am going to stick to 100's now for the remaining season to boost his confidence. I have no doubt he has the ability to do it, but i'd rather build on his confidence more and try again another season.

Shame about the 20 pens as he doesn't deserve it, but my new plan is to aim to get our dressage down to the early 30's at 100. fingers crossed!

Pics (I have permission to post!):

Fence 5b

Fence 6

Pretty galloping one:

Late reports sorry! - RHS Working Hunter!

Hi all

So last week I was off work for the week to give OH and I plenty of time to get ready for the Royal Highland Show.

So I was meant to attend a cousins wedding in cumbria on the Friday, unfortunately I came home to find L colicing in the field ended up taking him through to work and he stayed over night and I slept in the lorry so I was already there for Friday morning! Was much easier than going home as it was after midnight before we finished scanning him. Turns out he had a left sided dorsal entrapment which thankfully was a partial one and it had resolved through starvation by Friday – think he just didn’t want to be lunged myself but anyway he spent the day staring people out in the hope of being fed. So I unfortunately missed the wedding

Anyway L came home on Saturday and has been fine ever since, rode him a couple of times over the last week and he was pretty good – until a jet plane flew overhead – had a brief moment where I could see it coming, he jumped on the spot as it went past then stood like a lamb, phew! Set off to do a bit in walk and trot when he decided to leap sideways and bronc – totally took me by surprise and I nearly came off! When he stopped he just calmly carried on quite the thing. Cheeky boy

Getting onto the RHS:

The Royal Highland is the first show of the year for us to show our sheep. Last year we had amazing success with Rudolph winning breed champion but this year the small number of sheep we have to choose from didn’t really give us anything we expected to do well with. We have one tup who is lovely but since fighting over winter he has a scar on his nose so decided to leave him behind and take the other two shearling tups. So with two shearling ewes and two tups for the classes we loaded up and took them to the showfield.

As I had entered Jack in the working hunter class we also had a look at the course. Most years the WH course is a bit lower due to the weather and ground but as the ring had been returfed and the weather was lovely it was maximum height!

Having had a glass of pimms when I walked it, I decided to get my brave pants on and give it a go, cue getting up at 5am to bath, plait and get to the showfield by 7am. Walked the course again and didn’t feel any better in the cold light of day! Tacked up with the help of John and Helen and headed over to warm up.

At this point I felt better, Jack was jumping well and felt like he had loads of energy. Went in and jumped an alright round – The first fence was away from the collecting ring right next to the crowd. Turn back to a set of planks which several people had sliding stops at it and one came down, around to the first full up height fence, along the collecting ring fence (which has a wind proof sheet along it so you can really only see bobbing heads!). After fence three it was a curved related line to a treble (two strides each part) and onto another parallel on a curve which was facing into the grandstand at the top end.

Once over that you turn to the middle to jump the 'bushy, treey complex' which involves a skinny curved gate into a beech tree area, then four or five strides on a left curved through trees and back out over a skinny curved gate, turn left and head down a narrow alleyway of bushy branches (and over a few strategically placed for you to jump over) and over a style, then three or four strides to some extremely flimsy planks. right turn over a night upright, then onto a white gate and down to a double - parallel going in, upright out, and left turn round to the last fence near the entrance which has a water tray underneath.

There were alot of problems with half of the class retiring or being eliminated. in fact there was only one clear round and one on four faults by the end of the class - sadly I wasn't one of them!

However we didn't disgrace ourselves too much! we had the skinny gate going in, the flimsy planks coming out and the white gate, so ended up on 12 faults. all rider error - I managed to get him too deep to them all, but he jumped all the big fences and came out of the ring with a smile on his face.

Sorry about the photo size - they were given to me by a friend who used a posh camera - not sure how to resize!

Last part of the treble

Style fence

First part of the double

Last fence - showing the bushy fence decorations!

Monday, 3 June 2013

Sack the Jockey! Belsay Novice BE report

Hi all

Following Floors Castle BE100 double clear we headed down to Belsay on Saturday afternoon to stable overnight and run in the Novice on Sunday.

Trudy (the truck) is feeling back to normal and travelled like a dream, arriving at the horse trials around 3pm. Walked the xc and it looked decent. The organisers have built a lovely course making full use of the hilly ground. I noticed there were also some wider ditches and ramps which I am guessing is in readiness for an intermediate in the future perhaps?

Anyway, went to the stabling and it was really nice, J thankfully knows how to duck going through doorways as they were a bit low but once in his stable he was very settled.

watched Top Gun - what a great film - that night and headed to bed. Reviewed the course in my head the next day using the photos and did all my to-do list before loading up to head the 1 mile to the showfield.

Went over to Dr, ended up on a 41, which i know we could do better so not too disappointed. Struck off on the wrong leg in canter which worried him so no medium canter strides shown, halted but went to step back before the rein back and other bits of tension. I actually warmed him up for longer (40mins rather than 30) and felt he was in front of my leg much more than usual - my instructor has told me I need to get after him more and I thought it worked this time. Just a shame about the blips but not bad.

warm up looking pretty (biased I know!)

SJ an hour later, we were 4th to go in the ring and although it had been rolled from the day before, it was sticky and holding. The warm up was perfect so it didn't give the horse the feeling of what it would be like in the ring. Had the first fence then I rode too forward. Ended up with two more down as mucked up the related line and the double. It was a decent track and I should have jumped him at home in the week but didn't - bad jockey!

Onto XC, again we were 4th to go, felt like it would be a test for us as it was our second Novice track, and had already decided to take the alternative at fence 17 (very large corner!) which would be time wasting but as I wasn't running for the time, I wasn't bothered. I did wear a watch for interest although only looked at it once!

Anyway, set off and up the long uphill stretch over the first 3 fences, log fence with hedge behind, roll top, another log fence with hedge, then 180 degree turn back over the hedge - tiger trap with hedge behind and down the hill over another similar log with hedge fence and 4 strides to a ski jump with ditch - the logs didn't quite cover the ditch and J had a look just on take off. He was really trying but he did back off a few fences. Still when asked to jump he jumped so can't have asked for more. over fence 7 which was up a man-made ramp and over a pallisade, and a reasonable gallop to a double of offset caravans, took the direct line and he pinged them:

sorry its blurry

Off to fence 9 and 10, uphill skinny brush to a corner and up the hill to fence 11a/b a brush to whiskey barrels (1 stride)

and down past the castle over a pretend castle fence and off along the bottom then up round the castle, up the hill over a steeplechase fence then onto a trakehner (which was fairly meaty if you ask me), then it all went wrong! headed down the tree line to fence 15 a skinny log pile which he flew, then a right turn over a log pile/drop fence - which I got a good stride to but didn't keep a hold of the left rein and he drifted and jumped the wrong side of the flag (helmet cam has me doing a very loud 'ooooh' as we go the wrong side!). the problem was the drop fence was over a wall into a field so getting back meant having to do a massive loop back through the course and up the hill to the track again. Re-presented and jumped for fun, headed over to the roll top, alternative to the corner and off to the water jump. felt him tire a bit so decided to jump quietly home and popped the water in and out fences and went straight on to the ditch , then log/hedge fence before the last two home. SACK THE JOCKEY! Instead of veering slightly left over the ditch then right back to the hedge, I went straight and jumped the wrong side of the flags again!!!! really annoyed with myself for stuffing it up twice. Poor horse jumped the wide ditch quite the thing so I decided to call it a day at this point. He was tired and had jumped everything so got off and walked him home.

Totally stuffed it for my horse, I've never gone wrong on the xc with navigation before so i've learnt my lesson to read the flags in future. Just a shame my superstar now has a big far R on his record

Going to do Hutton 100, Hopetoun 100 and Poss Auchinleck 100 before trying the Novice at Cumwhinton and Richmond I think.

Totally sack the jockey, happy for a few slaps in the face for my rubbish riding, but send polo's to the grey pony for putting up with me

Interestingly, he was used a week ago for a research study into gastric ulcers in competition horses. As someone who knows a bit about this subject I would say he doesn't show any clinical signs and is in a management system that gives consideration to ulcers (never without forage etc etc). Yet he has ulcers! Both in his non-gladular and glandular region and is now on GG treatment with rescoping in a months time. I did always suspect he might although no clinical symptoms to show if he does or not so I'm glad I put him forwards for the study!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

A Father's Explanation of Why He Had Horses for His Children (borrowed from a facebook posting)

My daughter turned sixteen years old today; which is a milestone for most people. Besides looking at baby photos and childhood trinkets with her, I took time to reflect on the young woman my daughter had become and the choices she wouldface in the future.

As I looked at her I could see the athlete she was, and determined woman she would soon be. I started thinking about some of the girls we knew in our town who were already pregnant, pierced in several places, hair every color under the sun, drop outs, drug addicts and on the fast track to no-where, seeking surface identities because they had no inner self esteem. The parents of these same girls have asked me why I "waste" the money on horses so my daughter can ride. I'm told she will grow out of it, lose interest, discover boys and all kinds of things that try to pin the current genera-tion' s "slacker" label on my child. I don't think it will happen, I think she will love and have horses all her life.

Because my daughter grew up with horses she has compassion. She knows that we must take special care of the very young and the very old. We must make sure those without voices to speak of their pain are still cared for.

Because my daughter grew up with horses she learned responsibility for others than herself. She learned that regardless of the weather you must still care for those you have the stewardship of. There are no "days off" just because you don't feel like being a horse owner that day. She learned that for every hour of fun you have there are days of hard slogging work you must do first.

Because my daughter grew up with horses she learned not to be afraid of getting dirty and that appearances don't matter to most of the breathing things in the world we live in. Horses do not care about designer clothes, jewelry, pretty hairdos or anything else we put on our bodies to try to

 impress others. What a horse cares about are your abilities to work within his natural world, he doesn't care if you're wearing $80.00 jeans while you do it. -
Because my daughter grew up with horses she understands the value of money. Every dollar can be translated into bales of hay, bags of feed or farrier visits. Purchasing non-necessities during lean times can mean the difference between feed and good care, or neglect and starvation. She has learned to judge the level of her care against the care she sees provided by others and to make sure her stan-dards never lower, and only increase as her knowledge grows.

Because my daughter grew up with horses she has learned to learn on her own. She has had teachers that cannot speak, nor write, nor communicate beyond body language and reactions. She has had to learn to "read" her surroundings for both safe and unsafe objects, to look for hazards where others might only see a pretty meadow. She has learned to judge people as she judg
es horses. She looks beyond appearances and trappings to see what is within.

Because my daughter grew up with horses she has learned sportsmanship to a high degree. Everyone that competes fairly is a winner. Trophies and ribbons may prove someone a winner, but they do not prove someone is a horseman. She has also learned that some people will do anything to win, regard-less of who it hurts. She knows that those who will cheat in the show ring will also cheat in every other aspect of their life and are not to be trusted.

Because my daughter grew up with horses she has self-esteem and an engaging personality. She can talk to anyone she meets with confidence, because she has to express herself to her horse with more than words. She knows the satisfaction of controlling and teaching a 1000 pound animal that will yield willingly to her gentle touch and ignore the more forceful and i
nept handling of those stronger than she is. She holds herself with poise and professionalism in the company of those far older than herself.

Because my daughter grew up with horses she has learned to plan ahead. She knows that choices made today can effect what happens five years down the road. She knows that you cannot care for and protect your investments without savings to fall back on. She knows the value of land and buildings. And that caring for your vehicle can mean the difference between easy travel or being stranded on the side of the road with a four horse trailer on a hot day.

When I look at what she has learned and what it will help her become, I can honestly say that I haven't "wasted" a penny on providing her with horses. I only wish that all children had the same opportunities to learn these lessons from horses before setting out on the road to adulthood.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Floors BE100 report :)

Hi All

Entered the BE100 with J as a sweetener to his first Novice run at Burgham. I am hoping to alternate between Novice and BE100 over this season to keep him feeling positive with the aim that perhaps we could think about doing Blair CCI 1* next August 2014 .

Anyway my aim for Floors was to get inside the time XC, we have always picked up a few time faults.

Anyway set off in Trudy (the truck who has been sick recently) and she drove like a dream to get us there in plenty of time before Dressage. Unfortunately it rained the whole way there, and all day long. Luckily for me the occasional dry spell happened when I was riding so J and I were lucky!

Dr was in front of the beautiful castle, what an awesome venue, and although I tried to ride more positive we still get a pants score of 39.0 which left us 24th out of 35 after Dr , there were loads in the early 30's.

Video here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151892127218998

We had a few hours to wait until after Dr so went to walk the XC. Unfortunately it monsooned it down and despite being in waterproofs i was soaked to the knickers! The course was a bold galloping track, with alot of non-portables, due to the rain the water jump was getting deeper, the BE100 only had a run in and step out so I wasn't worried.

Went back to the lorry to get changed and ready to do SJ, tacked up and headed over to find they were running behind and still had a course walk. Still it stayed dry while I kept him walking around and watched a few go - didn't walk the course but could see it was slippery on the turn back to fence 3 and 6, alot of people had major problems on the course. The warm up was a bit tricky, due to slippery ground so i only jumped half a dozen times before going in.

Video here: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10151892896423998

Fab Hubby took his camera to video me for the Dr and SJ and took some photees of the XC. He's great considering it was extremely wet and he is not horsey at all.

In the SJ I used the corners to stay wide and balanced, very pleased that we jumped clear but my upper body was like a sack of potatoes, very cross with myself for that although J jumped well! We normally have one down when jumping on grass so I was chuffed - perhaps he likes the wet!

Off to XC, due to the time delay SJ they were taking people as you arrived, as it was very soon after SJ didn't need much so as I only had one before me I popped the warm up a couple of times before heading to the start box.

So off we set and what a round, the boy just locked onto every thing and flew. The hill beyond a fan fence at fence 7 was slippy but I just asked him to steady and he slowed! came down the hill to pop fence 8 with ease.

The only slight hitch we had was in the water, we cantered in and he locked onto the intermediate jump had to pull him off it to step out - think he would have jumped it for fun though , flew the last fences to home. It felt faster than normal so I was hoping we would be inside the time, there wasn't a single problem with the ground despite the weather and he had his ears forward the whole time big pats for the grey pony.

Went to collect Dr sheet which says on forehand for most of it so need to work on that. End result was 39.0, Clear SJ and Clear XC........INSIDE THE TIME.... Woop Woop!! We climbed up to 12th place with our final score so very pleased with that result.

The beautiful venue

Fence before the coffin - thanks to Grossick Photography

Coffin - pic taken by hubby