Saturday, 29 October 2011

NSEA (National School Championships)

The last road trip of the year. Off we went on Friday afternoon to Buckinghamshire. Addington was our destination.(Its very posh with very scary security men).

We were on first thing on Saturday morning for the open showjumping. I was the last rider of my team, Stella did a beautiful clear which put us in to the jump off, due to take place in the evening.

Not long to wait before I had to go and do the individual novice dressage, the test was fine but I had not been able to practice it as Stella had needed to recover from Weston and I had only started riding her 5 days before.I came 7th. My score was OK, if I'm honest I used it as a warm up and arena familiarisation for the Individual Elementary, which came next! I was so pleased with my result. I was up against British Dressage Young Riders and a lot of them were older than me and their horses younger and more supple than Stella. We came 3rd! I felt such an achievement.

The showjumping final took place at 7.45pm that evening, we were a little tired! However 3 beautiful clears, secured Farlington as Reserve Champions, what an achievement!

Sunday was a little more chilled with the team dressage. Unfortunately I forgot the test and can you blame me, I had had to learn 3 dressage tests, in a large arena (which we don't have) . I had not even been able to look at this test till Sunday, incase I got confused, Stella still got 70% and the others came 4th and 5th in their arenas, so we secured 4th place as a team. Yay, GO Farlington. I think we were one of the smallest teams, from one of the smallest schools and we all managed to be placed in everything we did! Long trip home, I think we arrived home about midnight!

Weston :(

Ohhhhhhh Weston Weston Weston........
It all has to go wrong once in a while, unfortunately it was at the last event of the season and it was quite a big one, it was always going to happen!
So the story starts..........

We arrive on Tuesday afternoon on a very cold and windy afternoon. Once we had found Estella's stable and settled her in it was then time to put up the little zebra print, one man tent. That was where I was going to be staying in for the next 5 days whilst mum was staying in the lorry (a little unfair I would say), putting the tent up in the wind was interesting it kept trying to fly off, it was amusing and I got some very weird looks. I'm not going to mention anything about the mix up with stables, but it wasn't our fault! We had lovely neighbours, in fact we made friends with the lorry park attendant who said he would evict them if we didn't like them! No need, Sacha Pemble drew up beside us in her lorry 15 minutes later. Mum, Sacha  and Evie, Sacha's groom hit it off immediately. Sacha and Evie came over for a glass of wine or three that night, good night had by all!

Wednesday we had trot up and inspection. Its so nerve racking waiting, even though you know your horse is sound. Anyway all clear and ok to compete. We had nothing else on apart from the riders meeting so I took Stella on a lovely hack around the track that they provided it was beautiful. I also walked the course that day, with Sacha, it took so long to walk and Mum walked it as well, even with her dodgy leg, she still walked all the way around!!! Wednesday night I went off socialising with my friends, arrived back to a dark, quiet lorry. Where was Mum? Over at Sacha's drinking more wine!

Thursday.... ANOTHER DAY OFF!!!!!! I think next time if I have that many days off I will bring another horse so I can ride it and take up some of the time, I had so much free time it was awful I had to try and sit still and chill..... this is not doable for me!!!! But I did get to watch the first of the dressage tests, they all looked amazing.

Friday.... yay finally I had something to do my dressage!!!!!! I had learnt before I had gone to Weston to manipulate Stella's back properly so, I was doing her back once a day leading up to the dressage and even on the day and after, it made her really soft and supple over her back. When I was warming up for the dressage she was feeling so good that she stretched right down and was forward and just so lush, Mum said she looked like a different horse and 10 years younger, it has taken me all season to get this but its better late then never! Grandad also arrived Friday with more wine and fresh supplies for the fridge. All were very welcome.

When I entered my dressage I new it was going to be a good test and it was, she was perfect, soft, listening not once did she hollow her medium trot and the canter was right on the money. I was so pleased and the lovely thing was my score reflected it..... 48.3 which put me right in the mix leaving me in 9th going through to the cross country day. After dressage it was time to walk the course again and I walked to get the minute markers this time and to think about the time to see where I would take cuts.

Saturday....we were warming up and she was flying over the practise fences and she was being quite strong so i knewwww she was up for it! 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and off we went! We hit the first fence with perfect striding always promising when that happens, we were up on our minute markers and had just flown through the first few complexes, nothing was going to stop us except the the 9th fence where she just didn't take off and ran into the fence, she fell to her knees, I was completely shocked not only did she stop, which she never does, she fell which is not like her at all.... but I had to deal with the situation in hand and I decided that with the stop I probably didn't have a chance anymore, so I thought to myself, I'm going to stop my watch and just school her back, but after that she just wasn't jumping properly and we entered the water and she just stopped, she wasn't listening to my leg or the whip so I knew I had to retire her! she just wasn't right!

I took her back to her stable to see she had two fat legs at the back, one was really swollen and even though I didn't hear her knock herself we think she must have done, it would explain why she could not take off. Then where she fell she had a big knee and it was cut... poor Stella Bella. she wasn't lame so that was good she just had hot swollen legs, it could have been a lot worse

We took good care of her, icing her legs constantly and walking her. We didn't go back immediately because we didn't want to stand her in the lorry for hours. So we stayed the following day and watched the showjumping and the juniors. Well done to all my friends who were in the placings, they all did incredibly well.

Can I just say thank you to my Grandad, Weston was his treat, he paid my competition entry as a well done for France. Sorry it didn't go to plan, but I learn't a lot. x

Monday, 3 October 2011

Tina Cook lesson!

My first lesson in a really long time and it made me realise that I need to get out running!!!!!

What I tried doing this time was riding Estella in a double bridle and Tina's suggestion was just to train her in it and to go back to the snaffle during tests, this in fact works really well!

The lesson went really well too, we worked on just going forwards and coming off my leg. We were doing a sort of shoulder-in on a 10 metre circle, not letting her fall in or lose the outside shoulder, which with her it quite hard because she is a "stiff old bird" as Tina says. We also worked on the straightnesss of the canter so we went down the centre line and I had to make sure she didnt swing her quarters left or right, we did a lot of counter counter to help with this, we worked on me as well, making sure I kept my sholders back and my lower leg just behind the girth, not too far behind and making sure its on the girth when doing laterall work.

We are off to Weston tomorrow till Sunday to do the CCI 1* which i am very much looking forward to! whooooo!!!!!!!