Saturday, 31 March 2012

Dancers and my First Affiliated Dressage Competition

For some reason I was so nervous about Friday. ( I never get nervous). I think it was because I wanted to do the right thing by Dancer. It was his first Affiliated competition and second ever outing. We were in the Shearwater four year old qualifier.
We turned up and erm well I felt a little out of place, there is lots of bling in dressage, one particular diamante brow band with a diamond tear drop in the middle caught my eye, and not for good reasons! Also there were some rather stunning riders.
So off I went to the warm up and tried to ignore the fact that I was riding alongside International Grand Prix Riders and professional producers! Luckily I don't know anyone in Dressage really and so was not intimidated by who they were even though I could see how well they were riding. Dancer had to be one of the smallest horses there and I was the youngest by far!
Actually I think Dancer held his own in the warm up, I have never felt him go so well, he learns so quickly but I think he got a little too comfortable and familiar with other horses going round, because when it was our turn to go into the ring he was really spooky again and of course he is not used to people watching around the arena either, so it was a bit of an experience for him! In the end he got 63%. Liz was really pleased with our performance, he just needs to get out to as many places as possible to gain experience. I had a great road trip with Liz and I can't wait for the next one. Have I been converted to dressage? Think I may have the bug you know! Now where is Pearl lets go and practice!

Friday, 30 March 2012

Update on Estella

Estella's PRP treatment went well at Arundel Veterinary Hospital on Wednesday and she will now be recuperating at her owner's Jill Chator. Jill has an ideal set up with stables onto an enclosed yard so she can get some limited exercise and of course she will get spoilt rotten, which is absolutely what she derserves. Decision time as to whether she will come back to eventing or whether she might be put into foal again will be in 12 weeks time. We only want what is best for Stella, she has been the most wonderful horse and I have been the luckiest of girls to have ridden her.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

XC schooling 28/3/12


XC schooling 28/3/12, a set on Flickr.

Just got in a quick xc schooling session after school today, to get Yara's eye in before Goring Heath on Sunday. Beautiful weather and she was stunning. We jumped mostly Novice jumps. Good girl Yara.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Maidstone Dressage 25/03/12

Dancer tracking left wiith a spookDancer_1962Dancer_1969Dancer_1977Pearl 1Pearl2

Maidstone Dressage 25/03/12, a set on Flickr.
Our day started earlier as the clocks went forward and after loading Pearl we set of to Fiona and Anders' Yard to collect Dancer. Dancer and Pearl met for the first time in the lorry and all was well, so good start. It turns out that Liz is as good as navigating as me, so we put the sat nav on, it thought we were somewhere completely different and at one point told us to turn right off the motorway. So I was told to hand the directions over to Liz, Liz then told Mum to turn off at junction 3 when she meant 6! Mum promptly told her to hand the directions back to me! By then the sat nav finally started working and realised where we were and we were able to hand over the responsiblity to the lady on there. By some miracle we found our destination!

Dancer certainly did Dance , all over the warm up arena and also in the main arena! However we did get a tune and there were some cracking bits there, so much to work with. This was his first ever competition and I was so so pleased with him and can't wait to take him again, I know he will just keep improving and the judges loved him. Place - a very respectable 3rd, not bad for his first competition!

Next was Pearl, Pearl has not been out for a long time and we have been working hard to build up the strength behind. She was so chilled and relaxed. At times she lacked the engagement that I can get out of her at home, but I was very pleased with her, still lots to build on - but we won! Good girl Pearl.

Friday, 23 March 2012

Stressy Friday

Not going to lie, today has been a little bit stressful. GSCE PE Examiner came in to check our grades today, I have been assessed in Riding, Netball, Netball Umpiring and Rounders, you could say I was a little tired!
Then I went to work (Fiona Bigwood and Anders Dahl's yard) and had a fab surprise, as I tacked up Dancer I was told that Anders would be riding with me and giving me advice. As I rode up the walkway on Dancer to the school, I thought - could this day get anymore stressful? What happens if Anders thinks I am rubbish? Dancer was well behaved, I got some great tips from Anders and I heard after he was complimentary about my riding! Glad my day is over, this afternoon riding with Anders was definitely a highlight!
Can't wait to take Dancer to his first ever competition on Sunday.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Littleton Manor XC Schooling


Littleton Manor XC Schooling, a set on Flickr.
First and foremost I must thank Matt and Kate, they were so welcoming and accommodating, nothing was too much trouble. In fact everyone there was so lovely even when we did not know where to go for the first session one of the girls on the yard put us at ease and told us where we should be, we commented on the fact that everyone smiled. Its a very happy place and definitely an atmosphere I would like to emulate when I have big international eventing yard!
Anyway after our session with Jon Pitt, Yara had not worked especially hard because it was more working on me than her, I went cross country. Its such a lovely course, the going was good and ideal for schooling, it had just the type of jumps that I needed to give her experience andddddd she was amazing! She dropped her knee once but only once, she jumped her soaks off and I was really testing her, I did lots of work on drop jumps with a drop landing, a sunken road 2 strides to a skinny and lots of water drops and jumps into water. She was amazing and I was very pleased with her!!!!! All in all we had a smashing day and Mum said she couldn't think of a better way to spend mother's day!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Jon Pitt Performance Management Clinic

Well we started the training with Jon saying that 65 billion people live in the world and 63 billion people think that people like me are mad. He was refering to my chosen path of riding or being in the vicinity of huge dangerous animals or galloping fast along cross country and jumping over huge fixed fences. But I thought he had made a rather accurate assesment of me, applying that more locally and to my friends and family that would mean 95% of them think I am bonkers - yes very accurate assesmnet!

I had heard such great things about Jon's performance coaching, and it certainly was an amazing session over at Littleton Manor whose facilites were really impressive.
During the riding element I learnt so much about myself and where my weak points are and what I need to do to correct them.Everyone is different. But for example I am ever so slightly in front and over on the left seat bone, so I need to roll my shoulders back and pull in my stomach muscles so that my pelvis tilts back and this will then put me right in the centre of the horse which is the centre of balance. A great example Jon used as a rider who is always in the centre of balance of their horse no matter what is William Fox-Pitt. Jon showed me where the centre of balance was and so from now on that I'm going to remember that for every horse that I sit on. After Jon had made all his corrections on me and had shown me how to correct them I rode off again reminding myself of all those things and wow what a difference it made in Yara, the new position stopped me from putting to much pressure on the front end, she started reaching with her front legs and came up in the whither, which then meant she started engaging with her quarters.

After the riding which Jon had videoed we went inside and did some video anaylsis, this enabled me to really see what I was feeling. I could really see the difference. We talked through my ultimate aims with my riding and some short term goals, Jon gave me such sensible advice and then just when I thought I had used all my diversion tactics to stop him thinking about exercises, we moved swiftly on to............exercising! We did some exercises on the fit ball to help improve my core strength, but interestingly this all really backed up what the physio had said to me earlier this week. Very interesting was when we mimicked somethings that I do on the horse and what effect that had on other parts of my body such as elbows!

I left the clinic feeling really motivated, Jon was really kind and said that essentially I rode well, he was just helping me make some adjustments to make me and the horse perform to our best.

Later that afternoon I used what I had learnt on Arabella and wow she moved amazingly and it made the transitions much more effective. Amazing session and have booked in the next one in April!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Weekend show report!

Saturday was Glimpse's first ever Pony Club Show at Sands Farm. We were in the Novice. After a frantic call from our Team Manager (our class had started and we were still at home) we got there in time (for our revised jumping order) for a good warm up and then into the arena.Glimpse was awesome. Lovely double clear. Placing a respectable 5th. Such a good pony.

Sunday was mine and Yara's first BE event together at Tweseldown. Our sponsors were coming, Yara's owner was coming and the pressure was on. (I was saying all last season that I needed a bit more pressure)! Well what a lovely day for it. We left our house at 6.30am and arrived at Tweseldown at 7.30am. I marched Mum round the xc in record time, collected our number and then met with David and Willl at the lorry. We love them coming along as they are so helpful and it does take a lot off of Mum. Then Michael from MDR photo and his wife Lisa turned up. It was so lovely to meet them and everyone instantly got on and I loved having a big entourage it made me feel so supported.
Our plan for the day was to get a relaxed dressage with no tenseness and a double clear. Well we did- kind of!
Yara was so relaxed in the dressage and she pulled off a 31.5. Very very pleased.
We did do a clear showjumping but..........I had a blonde moment and forgot where I was going this resulted in a circle which was 4 penalties and some time penalties!
The Cross Country was great, she was a bit looky in between the fences but she took on the fences no problem and we went clear. We had time penalties as she was a bit slow out of the start box. As I had never ridden her out of a start box I wasn't sure what to expect and I wanted it to be calm.
So all in all it was a very good day.
Afterwards Mum managed to feed lunch to the whole of the lorry park or at least she had enough food for the whole lorry park, and cakes were in abundance homemade by Will and Lisa. The sun was shining, we were in great company and we caught up with loads of friends, made new friends. It was the perfect day.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Count down to 1st Event of the season!

Only a few more days to go. We have been busy trying to make sure sure Yara is in tip top condition ready for Twesledown on Sunday. More XC schooling was done at the weekend at Coombelands. She was brilliant, no hesitations and foot perfect. We even decided to take on some novice fences at some angles - she breezed it. Tonight we went back there just to show jump her on grass as I haven't done that yet. She is a bit different and I am glad I did it. I feel ready now. Only thing we have not had time to do is any dressage comps, so she might be a bit tense in the first one, but to be expected. (That reminds me I really should learn the test for the weekend)!

Tonight we booked up some dressage for Pearl and Dancer, first one will be unaffiliated and then I am going to do a 4 year old class at the end of the month with Dancer. Very excited.

Glimpse will be doing her first Pony Club show on Saturday. She will be in the Novice Team Showjumping at the Surrey Union show at Sands Farm.

Its all go and that is what I told my physio tonight, just so she didn't get in to her head that I might need to rest my back. Basically after my fall about 10 days ago I have a few niggles. But luckily she agreed with me, riding is the best thing for it. Carry on she said, so carry on I will! "Did you ride your horse today?" she said, yes I said "actually I have ridden three!". I think she gets the idea now!!!!