We were drafted in at the last minute to make the trek to Bury St Edmunds to represent our local riding club, Carousel. Dressage and showjumping, our favorite! As I put Reggie’s plaits in in the pouring rain I was struggling to think of positives- rubbish weather, we got just 60% in our last test and a long journey ahead of us. However the day dawned bright and sunny and I even had time to do a barrow of poo picking before we left, the joys!
We arrived at the show ground with plenty of time to have his passport checked and my hat tagged (blue this time to add to the purple PC and green BE tags, very fetching). I left it unusually late to warm Reg up but it really worked in our favour and I was really pleased with his test- he felt soft and onside throughout and did some really very nice work. Clever Reggie!
We went straight on to the showjumping which, at 75cm, looked very jumpable. I was worried about appearing to be a pot hunter seeing as we have been jumping BE100 for two seasons, but considering I’m always thrilled if we only have four down I decided to go for it. He jumped a sweet clear (I would have been cross with any less!) though he gave the third fence a good rub to keep me on my toes, dear boy!
After much MUCH waiting around we found Reggie had scored 70% and won convincingly! I straight away asked if they had added it up wrong, Mum explained Reggie never wins anything and there must be a mistake, and Sally asked if I was friends with the judge… Nothing like a little confidence in horse and rider! The answer to all of the questions above was a resounding no; in fact the judge in question usually marks us quite harshly so I was absolutely thrilled! Now we just have to reproduce our success out eventing! Next up Polar PC Intermediate- watch this space.
Last week I made one of the hardest decisions of my life; to say good bye to a little horse I had so much hope in and knew she had so much to give.
She’s always been an alpha-mare and always had funny quirks and mannerisms, especially when she came into season. This spring she was especially bad tempered and latterly had awful trouble with tying up (azoturia). After numerous vets visits it was established she had aggressive cysts in her ovaries and higher testosterone levels than you would expect in a stallion- although they could have operated on her she would only ever have been able to hack again, a pastime she simply hated.
I am so gutted to lose her- my feisty pocket rocket with a point to prove, and all the potential in the world. Go drop kick some angels Bee, enjoy it.
Thursday last week saw my first days event grooming of the year. I was up at 5am to do Reggie and muck out three others before setting off to walk the cross country with the little ones. A nerve racking experience when A didn’t avoid the ‘big E’ once last season for errors of course! It’s easy to forget how long it takes to walk and memorize courses when you have small legs and fully saturated brains from learning the dressage test so by the time we got back to the box it was time to tack up and get lunging W. She went sweetly but came a little tense when her also tense jockey clambered on and went on to score a generous 34. She then stormed the next two phases for a super double clear and 2nd place.
A started a good test but his reins grew and grew until his pony’s head was in the next county and by the time A realised they were cantering on the wrong leg I had changed onto the correct one which was then ‘corrected’… so they did a super counter canter which earned them a 3.
He also went double clear, over all the right fences! A huge relief and they would have got a pretty blue rosie without his 10 xc time penalties.
A good day at the office.
The day finally dawned for us to take the delectable Reggie to Great Witchingham for our first BE100 of the season. We felt a little lost with out Reggie’s owner Sally who skived to honeymoon in South Africa but gained a fan in my sister who has been home from University for Easter.
We had stressage at 9.06 and he warmed up well with ‘Auntie’ Kate shouting instructions at us (mainly me) as it became more and more apparent that a winter of hunting and jumping cheeky ponies had taken its toll on my inner dressage diva. The bell went and I promptly dropped him off the contact and did my best to ruin just a little of nearly every movement. Poor Reggie had no chance and it came as no surprise to discover we had earnt a poxy 46 for our efforts.
The showjumping came next and again I was reminded how much my riding is affected without regular lessons! We had the first three down due to my incompetence at wrestling his head into a position he can actually see the jumps (dear boy) and then the last which was excusable as it was downhill and ‘poley’ and lots were having it down. I think I shocked most people in the collecting ring by giving him big pats and telling Team Reggie that he jumped well! I’m so pleased they were completely my fault, it’s so much easier to accept failure when you only have yourself to blame and I certainly know what to work on for next time!
My little (huge!) cross country machine absolutely flew the solid fences, nearly catching up the horse in front and giving me a super ride. I was therefore really shocked to see we had 3 time penalties whereas the one in front had none! I think there must have been a mix up but seeing as we weren’t exactly in contention (!) there wasn’t much point in complaining.
All in all not a gleaming report on paper but a decent first run- at least we’ll be kept busy correcting things for next time!
Yesterday we took Bee to have a John Adams lesson at Little Palgrave. Reggie was supposed to be eventing at Great Witchingham the day before but it was cancelled (booo) so I was disappointed he couldn’t go too as I find lessons with John super useful!
Bee was very bright (a raving lunatic) when we got her off the lorry, cue much fastening of body amour and summons of lunge lines! Thankfully she settled down in the time we had while the lesson before us finished and she was actually quite chilled once in the big field he was teaching in.
We worked on correcting my habit of going too deep into corners and then jumping crooked to correct myself; so if I jump off a right turn I end up jumping left as we have gone too far over to be truly straight. This is something I had no idea I was even doing, showing how useful it is to have a fresh pair of eyes on you occasionally. We also worked on making the canter snappier which is coming but it will be a while yet before her canter is established enough to be very adjustable. A video of the lesson can be seen on my Youtube channel!
The children are now on their Easter holidays so any tranquility at work has now been completely thwarted! We have quite a busy schedule coming up for them so it will be quite hectic with mine to get out and about too. Next up is XC schooling at Blackwater- wish me luck..
In anticipation for our first event of the season we decide it was probably a good idea to take Reggie for some xc schooling at Ely, and drag the little grey wonder (as she’s known during a good week) with him. Bee went first and was cute as a button, popping all the little ones, the ditches and waters like a pro! She has grown up so much since last time we took her cross country (7 months ago!) so I’m really thrilled with her.
Next up was Reggie, who had obviously been polishing his halo while Bee strutted her stuff. He was spot on to everything including the skinnies so I didn’t do much with him but we both had a blast.
We got back to the box to find Bee, in her dismay that Reggie went off without her, had tried to stick her head trough the lorry roof… Dear girl. So the lorry now has a slightly concave ceiling to match the slightly concave skirting where mum and Sally have driven it into things! Perhaps we’ll save buying an Oakley until we have well behaved ponies and preferably a chauffeur to boot…
Bums to the wind…
That delightful time of year when hunting and eventing seasons collide…
Last Saturday was the last hunt of the season for our local pack, and so all four children gallantly braved the elements. I was rather hoping they wouldn’t as we had Reggie entered in the PC Intermediate at Poplar Park the next day and I still needed to plait/ wash and school him in the chucking down rain/ snow/ hail when I got home!
We certainly finished the season with a bang, with S running away with her jockey, kicking his brother, rolling in a puddle and jumping a ditch so big B fell off. Thankfully we didn’t stay out too long so I had plenty of time to plait up etc with frozen hands, chattering teeth and a very jolly Reggie dancing circles around me (he always knows just how to cheer me up!).
Unsurprisingly the ODE was cancelled so we had a quiet day chasing Bee out of the drive and taking out the plaits I had so carefully put in the night before.
I love eventing!