Extremely cold day today at Allens Hill for Eventing Training with Flicka and Ali.
Flicka was having her first outing at a course of 90cm. She performed a steady dressage test with just a couple of small wobbles for a score of 33.7. She then popped round the show jumping in a lovely balanced rhythm. We started the simulated XC well and just clipped the skinny at fence 5 but most importantly stayed really nice and straight. Then she got a bit muddled when I asked for a longer stride at the second last and hadn’t quite recovered herself for the last, which was a shame. Pleased with her first outing at this level though.
Watch a video of Flicka’s round here.
Ali was a little madam in the dressage, I had managed to work her in well despite her being very fresh but then Flicka neighed from the lorry near the beginning of the test and so she threw her toys out of the pram… good job she won’t be out competing with Flicka very often. She seems to be much worse travelling to competitions with other mares rather than geldings (and not just her sister)? We got through the test and then I worked her for longer in her jumping saddle so she had to buckle down again! We had a rather long wait to jump and it was nearly dark when we did. She redeemed herself though and jumped a fabulous double clear.
Watch a video of Ali’s round here.
I have now managed to thaw out after a soak in the bath and then in front of the wood burner!!
Ali was a busy girl this weekend with British Dressage on Saturday and British Showjumping on Sunday – getting lots of practice in for the upcoming eventing season! We went to the Cotswold RDA centre on Cheltenham Racecourse for the first time for British Dressage, where the outdoor warm up arena was just about defrosted enough on another very chilly morning. The indoor arena was quite small (both tests were 40x20m arena tests) and was very spooky, with lots of paintings, a gallery, fake horse….! I was really pleased with Ali as although she was rather tense and spooky in the first of our tests, medium 63, she still listened and stayed rideable and fairly soft but was just not quite secure in the contact for the whole test. She scored a good 68.45% to win the class 🙂
Next we did medium 71, which for some reason I had wrongly learnt the “simple changes” in canter (canter-walk-canter) across the diagonal as transitions through trot, which lost us a few marks. Overall though Ali was much more secure in the contact and consistent but I need to take care that her quarters don’t lead in the half passes in my effort to keep enough bend – I think I need to try and buy some mirrors for the end of the arena so that I can check my positioning more easily when schooling by myself! She still scored a respectable 66.61% and I was very happy with how she had settled in the scary arena! This meant 9 points from the day, however unfortunately neither of the tests were “qualifiers” so I need a few more points from a qualifier class to get to the summer regional championships.
On Sunday afternoon we jumped in the 1.15m and 1.2om classes at Solihull BS. They had lots of entries in the early classes so we didn’t jump until after 4pm. When I mounted the snow started coming down quite heavily and even settled for a few minutes (causing small panic from Mum!!) – thank goodness we were indoors although it was still rather cold! Tim Stockdale was there with a few horses and it was brilliant to be able to watch him working in – I found it particularly useful the way he stayed to an outside track but would come in and out bending the horses body and neck both ways in all 3 paces especially as it can be so difficult to do turns and circles when SJ warm up arenas are busy. It worked really well to keep Ali’s neck and sides soft at the beginning as well as if she got a bit speedy after a warm up jump.
She jumped fantastically and I think felt the best she ever has – not just over the fences but staying soft, rideable and with me not tensing in her back between the fences too. She jumped double clear in the 1.15m and just had one pole in the 1.2om when I majorly over checked out of the corner to a big upright instead of riding on and trusting her to clear it (like I would have done with a spread). I did have another chance to practice with a similar turn albeit on the other rein to the last fence.
I’m thrilled with the way she felt and massive confidence boost. Videos of our rounds unfortunately just on phone as we forgot the camcorder: 1.15m here and 1.20m here! 🙂
It was Flicka’s turn for an outing this weekend, her first since coming back into work after a 3 month field holiday on 1st January. The Eventing Training classes at Allens Hill are great and go up to 1.20m so I think Ali will be going in the near future too. They consist of a BE dressage test followed by a show jumping round of 10 fences then timed simulated XC of 10 fences. We started with the 80cm class this time as she obviously hasn’t done a huge amount in just over a week!! As you may remember Saturday was rather windy… however I think living on the top of a windy hill (where the arena at home is situated) is very good for them, as Flicka was quite well behaved with just a few spooks working in and did a steady consistent test for a score of 35 in the dressage (65%). The jumping was up to height and quite spooky but I need not have worried as she was really bold at everything, no sign of a spook at all once starting the course and just one green rolled pole in the SJ section! I was most pleased with the lovely rhythm she kept throughout the round, which is something I had been working on at home in the week before.
See a video of our round here.
Slightly burred photo off the video showing her great technique
She finished in 2nd place so a great start to the season for her! Next time we’ll do the 90cm class and I hope to have her out doing some BE90 classes at the start of the eventing season 🙂
I had a fabulous lesson with Nick Gauntlett on Ali last thursday, she is feeling very fresh at the moment and shot off at the beginning when a filler fell down… keeping me on my toes!! I feel really together with her now and hope this continues in competition, even when we didn’t get to a fence perfectly we both stayed together and in balance. Today, following that lesson we did some grid work at home, especially working on wider spreads to improve her technique and ensure her confidence – we ended up with 3 spreads on a 1 stride distance, the last having a spread of 1.30m – so for eventing show jumping I think this is about the widest we’ll need to go! She felt great and was certainly enjoying herself!!
Happy New Year to all!!
Thank you for all the support in 2014 and although on this miserable, dark evening it doesn’t seem like it, the 2015 season will soon be upon us and planning has started already 🙂 I have booked a few days off from work for some of the early competitions, which always feels like tempting fate doing it so far in advance but working full time if I don’t get them booked I may miss out (not an option!)
Ali has had a fairly quiet 2 weeks and will be out doing some show jumping and dressage competitions again in the next few weeks. I clipped her (hopefully) for the last time this season last weekend, so she looks super smart again!
Flicka has come in from her holiday in the field, had new shoes on and I rode her for the first time again – she was a star in the howling gales and apart from a little excitement when we first cantered behaved perfectly even trotting and cantering over poles. She feels much stronger than before and we hope to get her out and about ready to start some British Eventing this season. Mum is hoping to be riding her as soon as she can now that she has her new hip!! (In the meantime I will continue to steal her for eventing…) Joking apart, we like our young horses to do a bit of everything as feel it is good for them and keeps things interesting and more fun.
Flicka selfie!! After her first ride post holiday today
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Here’s to 2015 🙂