Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Awesome Gill Watson lesson! (again)

I had my Gill Watson lesson today at the Dunsdons, so enjoyed it, Estella was on form. It is now about putting more power into her work and not about the roundness and also, in canter on the left rein, to make sure the quarters do not come in I should do a little bit of shoulder fore. Got the hang of it and it went really well. Can't wait to put into practice for Nurstead this weekend and try and pull out a good dressage. I must be getting fitter from all the riding I have been doing over the holidays (I literally have ridden all day everyday) because I wasn't as tired and we did the same amount of work that we normally do. Things to work on this month quarters in, more power in trot and canter and make sure the transition to walk is more fluent and she walks though.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Felbridge Dressage Championships

Still a little jaded ourselves, we took a very lazy Estella to Felbridge Elemenrty Dressage Championships.I have not ridden Stella all week, she has been left out as I had been at Badminton with Jake and I did not know my test. I warmed her up in a double bridle but felt she was backing off it a lot when she doesn't normally, she usually goes very well in it, so 5 minutes before I was on I did a quick change to the normal snaffle, it did not make any difference. I was also not able to ride through the test before as the warm up arena was not very big. I knew this wasn't going to be a good dressage test and I was right! The horn went,  we enter, Stella jumps the flower pot, spooks and we go way off the centre line and the test pretty much goes that way all the way through! We where both tired and the only way I can describe what it looked like was 2 wet rags! Oh well I have learnt that before a competition I will leave her in for a couple of days feeding her up then hopefully I will get a better tune out of her. OH by the way not sure what the judge was seeing but I came 2nd!!!!! Back to Badminton tomorrow for XC day and some retail therapy!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Oh Jake!!

This morning we had a fantastic showjumping round, foot perfect, hit every single jump on the right stride, after showjumping we moved up to 3rd place!
Then it was cross country and it supposedly rode well and I was really looking forward to it because it followed the proper badminton course all the way round. First three fences he jumped well and then we came round the corner to a wall, The start of the course was quiet, nothing really prepared us for the hundreds of people that were watching and on the course, we turned the corner and there was a coffee stand with lots and lots of people, Jake dropped a shoulder and tried to nap and spin round with me but i managed to keep him straight, but Jake was so freaked by the time we got to the fence he stopped dead reared up and span round, I could do nothing about it and had to re-present to the fence, then he popped it, nothing I could of done in training could of helped this, it was the atmosphere, so many people around, it blew his brain. After this all went smoothly for a bit then half way round the course he started spooking again where there was a lot people around, few fences taken at trot as he was reluctant to go forward, he got told and finally i got him in front of my leg and then he finished the course brilliantly.
It was the most incredible experience I have ever had and one that will stay with me, especially when Dad and I were walking round cross country early in the morning, we came across Pippa Funnell, she stopped and chatted and asked me how I was doing it was just bizarre.
Jake has now retired from Eventing, he has done so much for me, I have learnt so much on him, he won at Twesledown, as Mel Breen said he has nothing to prove, he owes me nothing, I owe him so much. Enjoy your retirement Jake you deserve it.

Of course I would not have had such a good time if it wasn't for my Mum and my dad who have been there all the way and supported me and to my grandfather nickname "Gdog" who chauffeured me back and forth to the course and my amazing farrier/godfather/uncle grant, my auntie Tracey who was there at the start and saw me into the start box and then ran to meet me at the finish.Thank you so much to our friends Debs and Melissa and to Nanny for coming all that way to support me and lastly to my greatest fans George (9) and Freddie (4) my cousins who cheered me on. I got so many text messages and face book messages wishing me luck and commiserating when it all went wrong, they all meant so much, I really, really appreciate it, thank you.
Mum says the mark of a good sports person is how you deal with losing as well as the winning.What this has done has really spurred me on to get to 4* Badminton as early as I can, I really want to try and achieve it by the age of 18. Need a horse that can do it though, anyone know any owners that might be interested, I have figured out that next year when I leave school I will need a 2/3* horse, a lovely owner and then it will give me 2 years to get it to 4*, I really, really want to do this!!! In the meantime I will try and qualify Pearl to get to Badminton Grassroots next year!
I have a day off and then I am off to Felbridge Winter Dressage Championships with Estella in the Elementary class, I have not learnt the test yet! Its all go and I love it!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Badminton Grassroots

Welcome to BadmintonFence 20End of course walk with YoguFence 19 bFence 19Fence 17
Fence 15Fence 10 bFence 9Fence 8Fence 7Test over relax
The  dressage testFence 18Fence 16cFence 16Fence 14Fence 12 and 13
Fence 11Heroic wheelchair pushFence 10Fence 6Fence 5Fence 4

Day 1

Good start!

I am never nervous but for the first time I really had butterflies, I think it was because the dressage arena’s were very posh and within a large arena with proper white boards all the way round and no gaps! They had floral decoration all around and 2 judges to impress, however, I remembered that it wasn’t just me in the arena and it was Jake too and he would just love it and be in his element.
The morning seemed to stretch out but Mum and I had loads of text messages wishing me luck which helped pass the time and made me look forward to it even more, we watched a few dressage tests before us and sat having a leisurely coffee and generally chatting to all and sundry!
The it was 1.15 and it was time to start grooming and tacking up, groomed to perfection, tack sparkling we headed out to the warm up. He warmed up very nicely and before I knew it, it was time for me to go in. I trotted round the arena 5 times before the horn went for me to start. And we then headed down the centre line, it seemed like years before I reached the letter C. We got through it and I genuinely really, really enjoyed it.  We did not totally disgrace ourselves. Our average score from both judges was 31.5.
 At the end of the first day we are lying in 5th place.
Later on after my friend Abbie had finished her dressage, we walked the cross country course with Yogi Breisner! I thought  I should let him know that I am going to be on the Olympic team in 2016 and will be booking my training in with him in my diary, then I thought I had better not, I should just get on with walking the course and concentrating the course I should be doing tomorrow! The course is very long, well up to height with some rider frighteners, not sure how Jake will stand up to it and I feel it is going to be the undoing of a lot of people and maybe even ours. It is a proper championship course.
The medal though should go to my dad who pushed my mum in the wheelchair round the whole cross country course; he has hero status here in the grassroots camp!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

We are here at Badminton

Well we have arrived. It was treacherous following Grandad and Mum. Grandad was driving! We met our friends Abbie and Sarah Jane Lloyd as soon as we got here. I left the parents to unpack the car and cart everything to the stable. Whilst Abbie and I went for a hack round the Badminton Estate, it was so beautiful and something I had been dreaming of, all the other competitors were seriously schooling their horses.
While we bedded down the stable and sorted Jake out we left Grandad minding the the cars and all the tack, when we got back Grandad was nowhere to be found, tack unmanned. We found him sometime later in a horse lorry of a complete stranger, glass of wine in hand!

Its wonderful to be here and such a great experience whatever happens.

We are off to Badminton

Its 11 minutes past one and we are off to Badminton, never thought it would happen YAY!!!!!!!! (and yes we do have the kitchen sink). I am not sure whether I will be able to update the blog but the twitter feed should come up on the right of my blog. BYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Busy, Busy day

Gail Stephens picked me up today and we headed off to the Unaffilliated South Of England Horse Trials with Pearl and Beanie, their first events of the season. We arrived 40 minutes before the dressage, so no time to walk the cross country! We tacked up Beanie and get ready for the dresage, my organisation turned into disorganisation when I went to the car and found that I had forgotten my Jacket and stock!
Quick ring to my legendary father, he had to hot foot to Ardingly in half an hour. The kind dressage steward put two horses in front of me and Dad turned up with 2 mins to spare. Its worth noting that poor Dad had to go all the way back home only to turn round and come back to work an hour later, and he wasn't even cross! Onwards and upwards Beanie was a typical ginger mare, very tense and very excitable, however when working properly was absolutely stunning, she has flamboyant paces and has such presence. Completed test, (on a score of 37) jumped off and got on Pearl, who was feeling a bit exhuberant, she had a nice big buck in the warm up but there was no time to stress as I was next in. She did an amazing test, strike off to canter on left rein was beautiful (something we have been really working on), but as always she has to put a querk in there somewhere, the right strike off was not so smooth and we had another massive buck, it made the judge laugh! But we got a score of 27.2! Showjumping for both clear, alhough Pearl needed some encouragement to go into the ring.
Getting ready for cross country, I realised I had no body protector, no air jacket!  Dad by this time was at work so I had to go round and ask to borrow one, (I think my organisation may have let me down today)!
Cross country clear on Beanie inside the time and Pearl a bit green, she wasn't confident enough to go forwards and lost concentration. She had a stop but not really at a fence it was at something to the side of it and she just had not locked on to it, so I re-presented, she was focussed and jumped it well. No idea of placings, I know I have a definite placing with Beanie and Pearl may have got a low placing even with the XC 20 penalties. A REALLY GREAT DAY !

Friday, 15 April 2011

Will he won't he.....

We called Ed Lyle our very local and utterly brilliant vet out and as usual he was jam packed solid all day, so he fitted us in this evening, not sure when he sleeps! Jake hates vets, he turns into psycho horse but for some reason he loves Ed and just behaves beautifully. When he brought the scanner out we thought he would go up but no he just stood there like a lamb. Verdict - we are good to go. The heat has subsided, the swelling is down and the scan showed there was no damage to the tendon. Keep up with the cold treatments.
I learned something today about cold treatments. 1. You should never apply cold for more than 20 minutes, if you do it starts having a detrimental affect and the blood starts pumping to that area to try and make it warmer. Even though these cold treatments sometimes say "keeps cold for up to 2 hours", you should not do that. 2. After cross country or gallops the very first thing you should do is get cold on to the tendons, not wash your horse off or even take tack off, get cold boots or bandages on (20 mins only), then tack off and wash off and walk around. You learn something new everyday!
So anyway the answer to the "will he won't he" is "yes he will" we are going to badminton!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Two training sessions today!

This morning we headed off to Caroline Jeanne's for BE Under 18 training at Albourne, morning started out with a flat tyre. Somehow Caroline's training sessions do not bode well, bearing in mind the last one ended up with a crashed lorry and mum in hospital. So I decided to take Pearl. Now Pearl and training sessions also do not mix and today was no exception. She was her same old self (a stubborn mule), however I lean't that I need to play to her strengths. This means jumping on grass is the answer to her stubborness. Caroline seems to think she will make a nice junior horse, her only querk is that she does not like jumping on sand. So fingers crossed playing to her strengths she might get there, if she doesn't end up in a dog food tin beforehand!

This evening Mel Breen came to visit for a dressage lesson on Jake, slight problem heat in the leg! If we get this horse to Badminton it will be a miracle! Bandaged up we did a light session in walk and trot only but he was so responsive and really supple, could this be the magnetic rug? He showed no sign of lameness. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011


The passes have come for Badminton!!!
Only 6 days to go!!!!!
I took Jake over to Ken Spencers to borrow his sand school, it's a full length one and this will have been my first opportunity to practice the championship test with the letters in the right places! Jake was very good which was very surprising considering how naughty he has been this week, he has reared up on a number of occasions. Yesterday, Anneli, My Auntie Tracey and my little cousin George all went for a lovely evening hack, Auntie Tracey was riding Jake, but he is not used to the company of little ponies, they are truely scary things, George's pony "Dinky" proved no exception and Jake reared up again, but I told her to kick on and hold on to his ears since all his mane has gone and PRAY!!!! I may have to take my own advice at Badminton if he continues to act like a 3 year old!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

South of England Horse Trials 9th April 2011

I GOT A NINE FOR THIS MOVEMENTPrize GivingdressageIMG_9769dressage2dressage1
A good day! We won the Junior Open Novice. Dressage was 28.6, our best eventing dressage score to date as a combination, the judge said she could have been softer and I would have to agree with that. Show jumping not so pretty, she was a naughty girl, somehow we got round and I stayed on and she went clear. Cross country was amazing it certainly asked some questions and I am so glad I had that extra training with Ken on tricky combinations, the course although testing rode really well.
I think the reason why this was such a successful event is  because I have started to believe in myself and Estella as a combination. I really really enjoyed myself, the Cross Country was so thrilling and I had such a good ride as soon as we set out of the start box I knew it was going to be a good round!!!