Thursday, 31 March 2011

Dressage Lesson with Mel Breen

This was supposed to be a lesson for Jake to learn our dressage test for Badminton, still out of action but nearly there we decided to substitute Pearl. Phenomenal lesson, I really felt Pearl's power, all the muscle that I worked on building up over the winter has really paid off. She finds the work a lot easier and she is moving on one step every day. Today we worked on consistency in the contact and riding Pearl into the bridle, it feels like it is too fast but then you create the inside bend so it feels like she is pivoting round your leg and then you create the neck bend by bending your elbows and not from your shoulder and then it all falls in to place and creates a really good trot, a nice bend and a consistent contact with the hind leg underneath. Yay!

Cross Country Training with Sacha Pemble

With Jake out of action for a few days it was a bit of a lift to get a call from Christopher Berry asking if I would like to join him for a training session with Sacha Pemble, he was offering to pick me and Stella up and take me to Lodge Farm nr Tunbridge Wells. Never been to Lodge Farm before, it was all nicely spaced out, lots of room, ground was good and jumps were well built with a lot of variety. When we finally got there (slight hiccups on the journey), it was a bit wet but it was a very good lesson. Sacha is very down to earth and a very good teacher. I learnt a lot and I realised I am a bit of an adrenalin junkie and I am learning to slow down but keep the power.  I was testing the technicality more than the height which was exactly what I wanted to do. I have a lot to put into practice at South of England BE next weekend, I think another practice run somewhere before would be a good idea to consolidate what I learnt.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Slightly less awestruck!

A couple of months ago I told you about an awstruck moment when I was lucky enough to be put forward for a lesson with my idol. It now looks like this will now be a semi regular thing in between competitions as she has said that she is happy to continue to teach me and help me. I know I am extremely lucky as she doesn't a lot of time. I have not had a lesson for a while because of the crash, but last night we borrowed our neighbours four wheel drive and took the trailer for a lesson before she dashes off to Somerley and Compeigne.
The lesson.......
We worked a lot on the canter work and developing the security in the contact. Because she is quite lazy off my leg, I am having to nag her to go forwards, so my hands have got busier, so I had to be reminded more than she has had to in the past to keep my hands still. My naughty habit is to pull round with the inside hand and give with the outside, but what i really need to do is open the inside rein and hold the outside rein, which I really felt. I was cantering on a 10 metre circle, making sure I had the outside rein so it made the circle more balanced and easier for Stella. Then coming out of the circle and going into shoulder in. I really had this by the end of the lesson. I also worked on the straightness and using my corners, I feel like I have a lot to work on and when I go back to in a few weeks she will hopefully see an improvement.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Close Call (but do not panic)!

I decided to pull out of Munstead because Jake had gone so well at Tweseldown and I didn't want it all to go wrong, my thought was to spend our time training until Badminton. So off I went to Tweseldown so do a xc schooling session and would you credit it, disaster struck again. Jake was hopping lame! DON'T PANIC! Well we spent a day of slight apprehension and then Ed Lisle, Vet Extraordinaire came up the driveway at 8pm tonight to the rescue to tell us exactly that - DON'T PANIC, its a slightly bruised sole, PHEW! Day off again tomorrow but in the sand school on Wednesday. He also said what we already knew Jake is incredible for his age, his tendons, his muscles and overall health, when he had him on a circle on the concrete, he said he did not know of a horse of his age that could do a circle that small on a hard ground, good old Jake, well we will keep feeding him the vitamins, does anybody have any cotton wool to wrap him in?!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

My new project - Supreme Glimpse

Not looking that supreme at the moment but we can see a glimpse!!!! Ha ha.
I bet you are wondering why I have a project, with Mum out of action and only a few weeks after our accident, however she came a week before the accident just at the wrong time but then these things always do.
Glimpse, 4 years old, just 15 hands, ex race horse and the sweetest thing, she just loves a cuddle.
She was bred to be raced, she was fast but never like to leave the pack. My Uncle Grant and Auntie Tracey brought her as a 3 year old and bred a gorgeous foal by the Showjumper Warrior, her foal will hopefully be my future badminton winner "Warriors Supreme Coalition" anyway back to Glimpse.
Having only been raced and hacked a couple of times and then not ridden for a year, I thought it would be best to start off with some lunging, this went very well, she grasped the concept of lunging quickly and then after a week of this I gave her a break so she had time to think about what she had achieved! I moved on to long reining and then I thought it was time as she was showing such maturity to get on her. She was very chilled about this, I gave her a walk and then checked my braking system, all good. So the next day I took her for a walk down the farm drive with Dad walking alongside, ready to catch me (he wasn't needed, thank goodness), where she was introduced to Ted the Bull (now best of friends). Today I took her on my own through the farm, introducing her to scary tractors and some more farm animals, she has taken it all in her stride and is so chilled. Having never been ridden in a contact before when I asked for trot, she naturally took up the contact and made a shape for a few brief strides. My main aim is to get her moving forward and off my leg. We will see how it goes and I will keep you posted.

Pearl XC training - Another step forward

This weekend I took a trip to Littleton Manor with our friend Gail Stephens. I decided to take Pearl since she hasn't been out for a while. So glad I did, I forgot how outstanding she is at Cross Country. She is now learning how to use all her power in the right places and her brain at the right time. Very pleased, everything I put her at from large trakehners to drops in to water there was no hesitation. I enjoyed it very much and my thoughts are now turning to do a few pony club ODE's and a few BE90's with the intention of getting her to a BE100 JR at Rackham in June.

Monday, 14 March 2011

I've always loved Tweseldown!!!

This was the first event of the season and I was not aiming particularly for any results, just a nice dressage and solid jumping.
I was entered in the Novice on Friday with Stella. I had been trying to improve my dressage to make it more uphill. Dressage score was 37, could have been better but in the halt and rein back we lost a lot of marks and she was very tense in her walk, but overall the rest of the test was good and an improvement and I feel I can quickly improve on the other things.  In show jumping we had two rails but again the rails were falling like skittles for everyone, she was a little over eager on the grass but nothing that we can't correct, finally in the cross country after our little whoopsie in the warm up she then went and did a beautiful clear. No placings but everything I needed to do for the first one and only my third ever Novice.
On the Sunday I was entered into the 90. I was the last competitor of the day, Jake did a really sweet and focussed dressage test, I really wasn't sure how they were going to mark it. After a long wait for my show jumping I entered the ring, I was listening out for my dressage score and then about four strides from the first fence I hear "The best dressage score of the day, a 22!" well I lost concentration and for a split second I forgot about the fence two strides in front of me! I quickly regained my focus tried not to get jumped out of the saddle and then jumped a beautiful clear round. Now the pressure was on for the cross country, all I had been hearing over the tanoy was that the course had been held up several times and Jake is not the most reliable cross country, but blow me down he jumped a beautiful clear round with only 3.2 time penalties which resulted in A Win! Start of the season is unheard of for Jake. What a wonderful end to a rubbish month.

Crash, bang, Wallop!! 14/3/11

What a month I have had! From not falling off in two years. I have fallen off 3 times in 3 weeks. My first fall was out hunting, Pearl and I had a "slight" misunderstanding, I was bending down to open the five bar metal gate and she thought I wanted her to jump it, this resulted in a "Thellwell moment" and me landing on the floor in my riding position! If only my horse had been underneath me, I had perfect lower leg position. My friend Chloe just stood there open eyed and open mouthed at this spectacle! I dusted myself off and went and found my horse who was stood quite still in the middle of the field waiting for me with a large smile on her face. None of us were hurt and we all laughed a lot.
The second fall not as interesting, I was at a BE under 18 training and I over rode a combination, which ended up with Stella chipping in a short one, normally I would have been able to sit this kind of thing but I had hurt my back the day before, my core stability was off, it resulted in me round her neck, Stella bronking round the school and then me face down with a mouth full of sand! I was very annoyed about this as I had my new Musto jean jodphurs on!
The third fall was at Tweseldown in the warm up for the cross country, smallest log there, with every famous rider you care to think of warming up at the same time, Stella forgot she had two front legs, took off with one, tripped over the log, it was deep the other side and I came off, air bag went off, everyone shouting loose horse, it was cringing!
On a more serious note my mum and I had a head on crash in our lovely lorry, with the lovely Stella in the back. My poor mum severed a tendon in her leg, had to have knee cap reconstructed with wire mesh and clips and broke her ribs, which resulted in a four day stay in hospital and now she will be out of action for 12 weeks. Stella was unscathed, thankfully. It was very scary as I had to take control of the situation and was the only one who could get out of the lorry, I had to climb through a window and then I had to rescue Stella whilst I could see diesel and oil leaking from the lorry but could not get my mum out. I got Stella home and had to leave my mum to the police, the paramedics and the doctors and they would not let me back to see her. But I can report that Mum is home from hospital and in good spirits. But we have a very broken lorry and we are now relying on Jill Chator, Stella's owner and Tony Robinson our neighbour, for lifts to shows and training.