Sunday, 16 November 2014

Two years ago....

I dropped Buddy off at Rockley Farm. It seems like a lifetime ago but I remember the feeling of trepidation and hope that I felt that day. I managed to hold it together driving the empty lorry up the drive but only just! I felt miserable and counted down the sleeps until he came home, I missed him terribly, But every single second of that was worth the fabulous feeling I have had since and I cannot thank Nic enough for everything she has done to help us on the road we have been on.

I know I am one of the lucky ones, that there are people out there who haven't had the success I have been blessed with but I appreciate every single second I have with Buddy and will never, ever take that for granted. Things could have turned out very differently for us. But it hasn't been easy, nor has it been handed to us on a plate. I work really hard, I have thrown myself into learning as much as I can about barefoot and have perfected Buddy's diet and exercise regime so it is as good as it can be when we are faced with the limitations of being on a livery yard. I have made sacrifices, lost people in my life who I considered to be my friends and questioned my judgement on several occasions.

Being barefoot is hard, you go against the 'traditionalists' and have to justify your choices but I can honestly say that my equine life is much more satisfying. I have met some fantastic people who have supported me and given me brand new ideas, my fabulous yard owner has been incredibly accommodating and understands why I need to have a high maintenance pony, has made an effort to understand and I know she has my back and has also become a good friend. I have found two brilliant trainers who don't care that Buddy has no shoes on but who also take an interest in the fact that he is barefoot.

I also have my horse of a lifetime. We have achieved things in the last two years that people thought were impossible. I will never find another like him. We are a team and he will never, ever, ever leave my side.

Vive le donks!

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Dressage demons? Forget that!

So after our not so successful championship I've been working hard and trying to get my mojo back. I'm still in a place where it feels great to me but as I've not got anyone on the ground with me to film its really tough to gauge if he looks as good! Plus I'm doing unaffiliated things with unaffiliated judges so its very tricky as there's no set standard - I do wonder if I should bite the bullet and do some affiliated stuff on a ticket but I'm not totally convinced yet.

So with the idea of getting our mojo back and hoping for a decent warm up I entered some local dressage. Two tests, prelim 7 and 18 and the aim was to go and really ride him in the tests, get a decent warm up and not really care too much about the score. 

I'd been really pleased with him during the week and hoped for continued good performance but didn't want to drill him too much in the school so in my typical style I decided to have a jump lesson the day before the comp! I was trying a new jump saddle which I loved, Buddy was great and YO commented how much he'd improved since she'd last seen us working for a prolonged period of time which was lovely to hear.

Dressage day dawned and I had a lovely leisurely start so had plenty of time to get ready. I somehow managed to get behind my time and ended up running late! Got to the venue and flung his tack on and jumped on. As I walked across the car park I realised I'd not put my hat on - doh! A lovely lady came to my rescue and got it out of my lorry for me.

After our stressful warmup last time I was slightly concerned as there was a few ponies and little riders in the warm up so I really didn't want to cause a scene. He had a couple of tense moments but no shooting off or spinning around so I'm hoping some desensitisation and taking him off the propell has solved that issue. We went in for P7 and the arena was very wet and boggy and I felt B die on me a bit but I did a couple of transitions and was happy to start. I was really pleased with the test as we did everything in the right place and didn't break in our canter (wahooo). 
Squinting with his frillies
There was a long break between my two tests so I used the time to remember P18 and Buddy was quite happy munching on his hay. The previous class finally finished and we ended up 2nd out of 15 so I was chuffed. Next up P18. This test is much busier and actually suits us both much better. I managed to canter in the right places although we did overshoot the marker in our left canter but I'll take that over breaking at the moment. I was pleased with the test and Buddy was in my good books already with a lovely frilly and with us achieving our objectives so that was enough for me. 

As I was getting B ready to load the organiser bought our sheets over and there was a red frilly on our second sheet - clever pony had won the class! There were 9 in it so I was really pleased - I still get a huge buzz everytime I get a rosette, it really means so much to me and I appreciate every one, but a red one is treasured!!

Next stop is a jumping lesson with Warren on Sunday - I've not seen him since last month so will be good to have some more homework.