The year started off in an amazing fashion as I was picked as the winner of the Celeris UK 2016 competition! I have loved my new boots since I got them in August (so much that I ordered my next pair when I collected them!) and am a huge fan of the work they are doing so to win was just amazing. I popped into their studio a couple of weeks ago to collect part of my prize and ordered my new boots (Bia in black cherry) and Scharf helmet.
|Valegro eat your heart out!|
After having a test riding clinic last year I got back in touch with Jo Cooper who I worked with about 10 years ago after an accident with an old horse. She was amazing and the effects are still active today and I wondered if she would be able to help me get over my test riding challenges. I couldn’t really describe why I was having issues as I’m not nervous but my brain seems to focus purely on the test movement rather than me riding the horse through those movements – if that makes any sense whatsoever?! Anyway, I had a chat with Jo and booked in a session. I hadn’t managed to ‘test’ it so our competitive debut was focused on that! I’d picked two tests I like and have ridden a lot (N23 and N38). B was sharp as a tack in the warm up but was rideable and as I looked in the mirrors I was feeling good and totally ready. First test was N23, I was smiling and B felt good. We entered and did a centre line worth an 8 and the next movements were either 7’s or 7.5’s and then we hit right canter. I always feel confident about this as his canter is amazing but when we shot off with a leap (B can’t buck – thank god) I was trying to regain poise for our give and retake on a 20m circle when B decided he’d been good enough, did his weird headshaking thing and jumped out the arena (which is no mean feat as the kickboards are 2’ high and there is a huge bush). I got him back together, picked up canter and the little bugger did it again. I continued and finished the test but unfortunately I was eliminated for exiting the area.
|Posing in the sunshine|
|Baby half pass|
To round off the month I’d booked an hour at April Farm as they have a great selection of jumps. I have a crazy idea of doing some combined training so thought I should test my new found control and jump somewhere away from home and also over some fillers. He was very buzzy and spooked violently at an Eeyore filler so I did wonder how sensible he’d be and whether I’d bother with any of the bright fillers that April Farm have on offer! I set up some tiddly fences so we could pop over the fillers (from a standstill if necessary) and we did have a couple of slammed on brakes moments. But then I gave myself a kick up the backside and realised that I needed B up and together all the time. The moment I let him get a fraction longer or downhill he has an excuse and it’s easier for him to stop. I can’t emphasise how small this difference is – you probably wouldn’t even notice a change if you were watching and weren’t looking for it – but he doesn’t give you an inch so I have to be totally focused and on him all the time. I feel like I’m sawing my hands but actually on the video its hardly visible so I’ll stop beating myself up but I think I’m chasing him in the last couple of strides so need to go back to legs off for a bit I think. As a result of the session I have booked in to do the combined training – it could be a disaster but I reckon it’ll be loads of fun regardless!!