Tuesday, 29 December 2015

2015 roundup

I cannot believe that I am writing my 2015 round up! It has been an absolutely brilliant year and I've been blessed with a sound, healthy and happy horse which is always the most important thing but I've also been on a huge journey over the last 12 months and added some more amazing people into my team. Looking back at my objectives for the year I didn't achieve them all but I got halfway there against my easily obtainable ones - grassroots remains elusive ;)

April vs Oct - Huge change in musculature and way of going
My highlights for 2015 are as follows:
  • Being supported by two amazing companies - The Herbal Horse and Natures Way Natural Hoofcare - who have both enabled Buddy and I to be the best we can be and have given me a boost in my own self belief.
  • I have taken huge steps forward in my riding and added two fantastic people into my support team who have helped me achieve it.
  • I had my first BD win and averaged 65% at Prelim and 64% at Novice over the year.
  • Coming through the finish line at BCA after a clear round XC.
  • Team Quest. This was so much fun and I loved every moment (when we weren't competing at BCA). My team mates are amazing and we have really grown as friends over the last year and supported each other when the chips are down and celebrated together. I cannot wait to get back out with my teamies next year.
BUBDs having fun
I have learnt a lot about myself and feel like I have really grown as a rider. The nagging doubts about Buddy's soundness gets quieter and quieter as the years go by and I can honestly say I am the most relaxed about his management as I have ever been which is a good thing as work pressure has meant I've spent far less time with him as I would have liked over the last few months but he has survived. I am blessed to have a fabulous support team around me and my YO plays a huge part in that, particularly as Buddy can be a bit of a diva if he doesn't get his bottom scratches (!) and she helps me get the miles into his feet and scrapes the mud off over the winter.

Each year we complete a new milestone together and this year has been jam packed full of new experiences - TQ, BD, BE, hunting as well as area festivals and regional finals - and I want to continue to build upon that next year. I say it a lot but I know I am blessed to have Buddy fighting fit and sound, he is my rock and I do appreciate every single second I have with him.

I have decided that next year my biggest objective is to chill out, enjoy, remove the pressure and try to reduce my competitiveness! I am going to be very busy with work next year and so I need to be more realistic with my aims so that I am not spending all of my riding time preparing for a competition as it doesn't get the best out of me or Buddy. My sports psychology sessions have helped me identify my triggers and so I am planning on working on staying relaxed whilst at a competition to reduce my overthinking and allow me to just ride. I wouldn't be me without some aims though so my 2016 objectives are as follows:

  1. Compete at BD Novice level and qualify for an Area Festival
  2. Try an unaffiliated elementary
  3. Get a double clear BE
  4. Upgrade to BE100
  5. Qualify for TQ and My Quest regionals

Finally I would also like to thank each of you who reads the blog. It is so lovely to hear from you all and learn about your journeys so don't ever be afraid of getting in touch, I love hearing from you and Buddy relishes his 'fans' ;o) I hope you've had a great 2015 and here's to an even better 2016.

Happy New Year from Buddy and Krista

Monday, 28 December 2015

It's been a while..

I've had a few messages via my Facebook page as to where I've disappeared to so I'm very sorry - Buddy and I are fine, I am just unbelievably busy in my personal life. I will try and keep this more up to date as we start the run up to the season and start competing again and hopefully my work life will have a lot less travelling involved.

SJ at Moreton Morrell
In my last blog we were headed towards our run at Moreton Morrell so I guess I should start back there! We didn't have the best run and ended up eliminated for multiple refusals XC. Dressage felt good, albeit with moments of tension so I wasn't expecting a stellar score but thought it would be 34-37 depending on how the judge felt. SJ I had a new warm up routine and really focused on getting the canter spot on which I managed and had a spot on warm up. I went in to the ring and it all went to pieces - we ended up having 4 down which is a record for us and most unlike Buddy to knock so many fences. I came out feeling really annoyed as I thought I'd ridden well and didn't deserve to have those fences but hey ho. I had walked the XC and thought it would be a good question for us, definitely a top end BE90, but I was confident that we would get round. How wrong I was! I had the worst warm up ever, totally misjudged it and on our last jump with 1 minute to go Buddy slammed on the brakes as a horse was cantering in front of us and ended up climbing the fence. I got flustered and we didn't have a chance to jump anything else which was not ideal as the first fence was a pallisade with a white top that I knew he'd look at. We came out the start box thinking backwards and a quick slap down the shoulder got us over the first and I think I must have been so flabbergasted (and I got my trusty whip stuck in my neckstrap) that we stopped at the second. Urgh. We continued rather stickily onwards with a few sticky jumps until the two steps downwards - I'd debated which way to come off the bottom step and had thought straight but when I got there I hesitated and B took advantage and we stopped briefly. I don't think he stepped back but it didn't matter in the end so we continued onwards. We were definitely in the zone from there and I was feeling confident that we'd got over all the tricky questions until we came to the ditch. It didn't cross my mind that he  would stop but he said no BIG TIME and meant it and thus ended our journey at MM (although the fence judge kindly let me pop the ditch). After I'd gotten off the course I dismounted and quickly saw blood in B's mouth - he'd bitten a chunk out of his tongue which I am going to put the initial huge NO down to. Very disappointed but nothing terrible happened and we live to fight another day. 

Modelling his new rug from Natures Way and being photobombed by fellow BUBD Indy
The day's events did make me wonder what on earth I am doing when I get to a show as it all seems to be working well at home but something goes very wrong as soon as I set foot at an event! The fabulous Giles had offered to come with me before and so I asked him if he would come to my final event of the season which was going to be Littleton Manor but in the end B tweaked his back after TQ regionals and so I finished my season with MM. Very annoying but I will be grabbing G for my first event next season to see if we can figure it out, plus I've been doing some sports psychology over the winter to help me prepare. I think I have a better handle on my triggers now so just need to test out those coping mechanisms.

TQ Regionals
Next up was our season finale! Team Quest Regional Finals. I have never been so excited and nervous about a competition in my whole life. The BUBDs were all terrible for winding ourselves up - we wanted to qualify for the Nationals so badly - but in the end we all decided that we were lucky enough to get three knackered nags to the Regionals in the first place and we would be really chuffed with a rosette (top 10). The day came and the competition was tough, we were the only team with just three riders in and the pressure was really on to have mega scores. In the end we all did lovely tests but they would have all needed to be mid 70's to stand a chance of a top three finish and I am just not that consistent yet so that wasn't going to happen. As it turned out we came a very respectable 9th place and so got our plaque and rosette. We will definitely be back at it again next year and will be trying even harder to get to the National finals.

Chuffed with our test - TQ Regionals
After this Buddy managed to tweak his back so was off for a couple of weeks, I went to the US and then couldn't seem to get myself motivated so we've had an incredibly quiet few months of hacking and pretty much nothing else. I've done a couple of schooling sessions in the last two weeks and am delighted to report that the break feels like it's done him some good and he's feeling very well so it's back to lessoning in the new year and getting ready for an April/May start to the event season.

Blinged Up Bullet Dodgers Team Photo modelling sponsor rugs from Natures Way