Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Perfect preperation.......?

It’s all starting to ramp up again here as the lighter nights have arrived, work has calmed down a fraction (not for too long I’m sure) and I have entered an event!! Since my last blog I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my new saddle and took it for an official test drive with Warren last weekend. I was a tad worried he would not agree that it was the answer to all out prayers (!) but luckily he agreed that there was a huge improvement and that I was able to finally balance over my leg. He also commented on how well B was moving and how good he looked #proudmum

Looking handsome in the lorry
As it had been a while since our last session we started with a catch up on what we’d been working on (flatwork, straightness and suppleness) and what our plans are moving forward. We started with a cross pole, working on our approach and line after the fence to make sure I didn’t lose the shoulder through the turn or approach. We then moved on to riding a line to a vertical and then to an oxer. These were then moved to vertical, oxer, oxer. The fences were arranged so that we could form a course of multiple jumps with varied approaches. At this point B was getting slightly keen and so I was working on ‘adding a stride’ to keep the canter bouncy and the hindleg active. I finished the session feeling full of confidence but with lots to work on. I almost need to practise things going wrong as I’m fine if its good but the moment it’s not quite right I revert to panic mode (and I do exactly the same on the flat too), my heel comes up, my shoulders creep forward and I ride like a complete lemon.
Then, in preparation for our BD comp, we had a flatwork session mid-week. The focus for the session was to practise P19 as it’s a long arena test and I only have a 40x20 at home whereas my instructor has a 60x20. I’ve noticed a huge improvement in B over the last 6 weeks and it’s a combination of the strength and suppleness work but we’ve also got his diet spot on and the sports horse mix from The Herbal Horse is definitely adding more muscle bulk too. Buds was feeling very lethargic when I got on so we worked on getting B to use his hindleg properly – lots of on and back in the trot, really encouraging him to sit and hold the power behind and he felt incredible but the exciting thing is that we are not even anywhere near his limit. We spent some time on his canter which has improved again – it’s got bigger to look at but it’s much more rideable and I’m getting to the stage where I can collect it up but B does find this hard as he’s not got the strength there yet – we’re capable of doing it in a smaller school but in the larger arena he struggled to continue along the full long side so I’ll be going to J’s to practise this more and build it up slowly.
Practising P14 at home
Next up was practising the test. Despite having a beautiful trot prior to starting, something happens to me when I know I’m riding a test and I went all stiff and then Buddy lost his suppleness. It was really helpful to have J watching so I started again and rode a few movements a couple of times and the main advice from her was that I need to relax, keep B in balance and not worry so much! I have particular issues with the canter transitions, I think as it’s been our ‘issue’ for such a long time I think about it too much and I get tight and tense which affects the quality of the trot, then the transition and the first few strides of canter. So my plan is to really focus on getting the trot right and only ask for canter when it’s right rather than being worried about it happening at the exact point in the test (P19 asks for the transition over the centre line) and make sure I’m riding the hind leg the whole time.
Both tests are qualifiers for regionals so are pretty busy but I am only going to get my final Area Festival sheet so I just need to score over 62% in one test to be qualified so I’m hoping we can get that nailed tomorrow so I can focus on team quest, eventing and training until AF’s in August.  


  1. Last week I read through your entire blog, fascinated by Buddy's barefoot progress. I found you through Rockley's website, which I've also devoured. Though without a horse at the moment, I am a believer in barefoot being the best for the horse.

  2. Thank you Karen - it's been an incredible journey that's for sure!