It's been a very strange year for me and the beast! Not much on the competition front so more musings on life as a first time horse owner and with a young horse! (Although obligatory pics of the handsome devil will be included)
It's been a very stop-go sort of year. Jan - March was dissertation time, coupled with an inconclusive scope for a nasty cough which wouldn't shift, fixed when the foal next door on straw left (doh!) and a move to a yard with worse hacking, smaller facilities, but better turnout and nicer management meant beastie had a good 5 months to chill out and grow a bit (desperately needed).
Graduating and moving to Somerset meant we could finally start back up again, hacking is fantastic here so it seemed like the perfect place to attempt to address Denzel's fear of solo-hacking, which was why I was able to afford to buy him in the first place! A summer of hacking in company was the first thing I wanted to try, however, this was promptly derailed when I turned up to find his white sock almost completely red after he'd been kicked in the field. Thankfully nothing was broken and after many vet visits and almost 8 weeks of box rest later we got the go ahead to start gently bringing him back in.
Since then he's gone from strength to strength. We've progressed from ambling around the school in walk and trot with the occasional canter to a w/t/c routine in a semi-balanced way. He's got loads of potential and at times |I do worry that he'd be better with someone with more experience to bring him on, but like RO put in her post, it's so rewarding knowing you've worked hard and it's come together. We don't do out and about because we've got no transport, but we've done a couple of yard shows (pictured) some flatwork and pole clinics and a boatload of lessons and even though I have moments where I compare us to others, if you'd told me 6 months ago he'd be working the way he is now I'd have laughed you out the door! Or at least begged you to tell me how...
Hacking is on hold over the winter, we did manage a very small solo hack and i'll continue to add small positive experiences next year.
Plans for next year:
- Get the beast jumping!
- Survive camp at Pontispool in October
- Solo hacking, doesn't have to be major but to be able to do the same small circular route
- Get out to the gallops, beastie could really benefit from opening up a bit and having a real blast!
Yard fun day number one - Sick note! Just after box rest and tolerated this being done to him with lots of horses around, very pleased!
Because he's pretty.
Lots to like, lots to think about, here's to a great 2019 everyone!
I don't think I took part last year, I can't remember why
I got my connie as a just backed 5yo in April 2017, but he arrived with the remnants of a virus that was reactivated by starting his vaccs, so he coughed for a lot of the summer. Therefore he started 2018 as a still very green rising 6yo.
At the start of the year, we were enjoying our jumping, but were still at the x pole/50cm stage (about the same height as my 7yo son and his pony lol)
We did a couple of M&M show classes in the spring, with best result being 4th at Lurgan, but I was too chicken to do the M&M WH
At this stage he started to get really fussy in his mouth, and a visit from the vet disclosed some sharp teeth and mouth ulceration (teeth done 6 months ago ) so we had a couple of weeks on the easy list just hacking.
However I had entered our first stay away show at the end of June, and this was a complete baptism of fire, as the M&M WH was much bigger than advertised (about 80cm) but we ended up jumping round with only 2 stops, and I think this galvanized me, and made me realize that we could jump far bigger than we had so far.
In July he started getting fussier and fussier in his mouth, culminating in bottom of the line at Castlewellan because he nearly sat on the judge as I attempted to halt beside him.
Another vet visit only proved that there were no current issues, and we wasted a lot of the summer experimenting with different bits and nosebands, but the problem was only really solved when I borrowed a Micklem bridle to try in Oct, and now he is a happy pony again.
The ground was quite hard over the summer, but our aim after we came home from Burghley was to complete our second 2 phase which we did in Sept. Aim was a full one day event, but I thought I would be better not to attempt dressage due to our contact issues.
Since then we have competed in a Halloween derby, and had lots of lessons, and though we had a blip at a couple of arena XC lessons recently, I've now discovered that he had a sore back, so fingers crossed he's on great form for our eagerly awaited lesson with Ian Fearon the Irish event team trainer on Sunday.
Aims for 2019......
Hubby thinks I should be aiming for EI 90 in the spring.
However I think a nice med term aim would be some 80/85cm XC and SJ in March/April and see where we are after that.
I realize I've not added any pics, but I'll add some later when I can get fb on my phone.
Ok so I'm going to jump in and post since all of you had a hand in getting me to the end of this fabulous season!!!
Cudo landed in the USA on February 10th. We did our first show on 4/29 at Kimberton and he was reserve champion.
Since then we've done the following:
Kimberton: Reserve champion
Radnor: Reserve Champion
Uppervile: Brought home a 7th (50+ in each class and my show nerves won out)
Freehold: First 1.20 show. Champion (But also only competitor LOL)
Knock on wood: Champion
The Ridge: Champion
Monmouth at USET: Reserve champion (Fell off in first class, won second class, rail and time in 3rd class. So this was a miracle)
Princeton: 2nd place team, 5th overall for Team champs. 1 rail in 6 rounds.
Ludwigs: Won speed class
North Salem: We're not gonna discuss this show.. LOL. Had to be one somewhere in the year!
WIHS Regional: Reserve Champion, won 2 classes
FHSS Invitational: 2 divisions: Reserve champion and Champion.
Sooooo I would call this basically the best show year of my life!!!
The star and I are gearing up for more fun at the 1.25 level next year. And maybe we'll do some other heights. But we have to see. Still a newer partnership and we don't know what winter will bring in terms of being able to train or LOTS of vacation days for us.
Additionally I now have Chad and he will make a US show debut at some point but at the moment he and Cudo both agree that he has some rather big hooves to compare to.
Only goals for 2019 is to stay happy and healthy and be able to keep progressing from where we are.
Kudos to all of you for your grand achievements and stories. And I love the pics!!! Keep them coming.
No-one ever needs to apologise for pics! The more the merrier.
SaddlesOverSofa the pics you have posted are stunning. What beautiful horses.
I did not participate last year as I was new to the forum but my goals were to do my first ever BE80s. And I did 6 in the end.
From one point of view my season was a disastrous comedy of errors resulting in 7 XC detours for going wrong, 3 dressage errors of course, 1 missed SJ fence, 5 cricket scores (mainly on time) and an elimination.
But from another point of view I went out and did 6 BE80 events - an achievement that seemed unthinkable a couple of years ago. Well it seemed all but unthinkable in March this year when I got pinged off Amber in a SJ lesson over a jump that was all of 60cm. (Though she didn't get that memo.)
'A bad day on paper' is the term I think.... Well I had lots of bad days on paper. But I also had many awesome days in practice. A horse who never stops, never falters and attacks all courses with absolute joy and confidence giving me 5 effortless clears from 6 rounds. (Well she jumped clear anyway. I did things like go down the metre steps at Eland or run past the fence I was meant to jump. Sorry Amber).
Amber jumps everything as if we were on the metre course. Unless we are actually jumping a metre in which case she jumps like she’s jumping 1.20! But despite her enthusiasm and talent she actually lets me ride her. She is safe and sane. It is an utter privilege to own and ride a horse like her.
My goals for next year are to do some BE90s.
So this feels quite exposing as I tend to be a bit - ah well the dressage is a disaster but hey she jumps well - but this year I am actually going to set some more specific targets: I don't just want to get round anymore, I want to do myself and Amber justice. So here goes: I want a 20s dressage at some stage next year. 29.9 is fine but I want to break the 30 barrier. And I want at least some DCs - which means getting better at the SJ phase as I struggle to establish and maintain a good enough canter for clear rounds. If I achieve those I will be ecstatic!
The rest of the year was up and down. We had the heart ache of Ginny who was obviously struggling on and off all year and the ultimate heart-break of having her PTS. We also made the difficult decision to part with Max (though with impeccable timing he went lame on sales livery and is wintering with me after all). But we also have the joy of little Jenny who is simply the kindest, sweetest, most genuine and honest pony I have ever known. A real old soul. And we have just welcomed Dolly to the family who seems lovely too. Can't wait to see what 2019 brings us all.
Pics of course:
Amber jumping rather bigger than she needs to! On the bottom picture she is actually jumping the 80cm yellow not the 90cm red!
Jumping-Jenny-Wren flying and being generally gorgeous
I started 2018 determined to conquer my nerves and hack my share horse more often. However, his owner then moved him to a new yard that, as well as being 45mins from my home, didn't have much hacking and nobody to hack with.
I stuck it out for a few months, but then headed off on an epic 6-week holiday sailing a tall ship from Antigua to Southampton. It made me realize I was stuck in a rut in so many ways, not least of which was pushing on with my share horse because I loved him, even though we could never do a hundredth part of the things I wanted to do. I was also stuck in a rut with my job, so I jacked it in, got a new one that paid enough to have my own horse, and started horse shopping.
In September, I bought Blue, a 15hh 6yo heavyweight cob mare. I entered us for an intro dressage test a few weeks later - and, two days before the test, got the call that she was lame with an abscess. After a lot of poulticing and box rest, she's now sound, but I'm on the sick list with a broken finger.
So my hopes for next year:
Ride my horse at least once
Lots of hacking
Intro dressage test
Take her over a tiny crosspole
Take her out to a local show
It made me realize I was stuck in a rut in so many ways, not least of which was pushing on with my share horse because I loved him, even though we could never do a hundredth part of the things I wanted to do. I was also stuck in a rut with my job, so I jacked it in, got a new one that paid enough to have my own horse, and started horse shopping.
It’s been a hell of a year for me and Lexi. I couldn’t be happier with her.
We started 2018 still not quite there in terms of confidence following a horsefall at the start of 2017 where I broke my shoulder and completely lost my nerve, leading to a season full of eliminations.
We finished our winter SJ/dressage season established at elementary and jumped a couple of 1ms.
Season started reasonably with a 4th at Munstead BE90 which we would of won except for some too fast penalties. We then had a good few months where it was hit and miss. We would either come in the top 4 or get a stop somewhere xc. Very frustrating as pre fall she was so solid cross country and I felt very frustrated that I’d essentially ruined her.
We went to the Petplan dressage area festivals and scraped through to the next round - considering it was only her 6th test at that level and first elementary in 5 months I was really proud!
Then came the BE regionals. We had 3 attempts. The first we had a double clear but a poor dressage mark. Massively frustrating as dressage is generally one of her best phases so to get a double clear and lose it on the dressage was a kicker!
A month later we went back to Munstead and came 5th in a regional and nailed our Mitsubishi motors ticket!!! Cloud nine!!
After this I decided to man up and try some BE100s. First was Daunstey which was awful on paper with 2 stops xc but it was massive and I literally whooped and cried my way round the course and was beyond thrilled to complete.
Next was Tweseldown. I never imagined we would get a double clear as the xc was pretty technical but we did! Again I got happy and too fast time penalties cost us the win and we came 5th. We finished the season at Bicton BE100 where my fantastic horse led her season from start to finish to win!
She had a holiday and didn’t feel quite right afterwards. Foot x-rays showed a little grumble going on in her boxy hoof so we’re a bit sidetracked on slow work and remedial shoeing for a couple of months but fingers crossed we’ve caught it early enough that we’ll be back in business after the new year.
Sadly won’t meet our goals of competing at medium dressage and newcomers BS this year but we will try again next year!
So overall our eventing stats for 2018;
Average dressage of 28.9, 11/15 clears SJ, 2 wins, 6 placing, 8 xc clears. 3 regional finals for 2018, 1 regional final for 2019 and a Mitsubishi motors ticket for 2019. 45 foundation points.
Goals for next year;
• Complete Badminton grassroots
• Complete a 1.05m....maybe, MAYBE even a novice
• BS newcomers
• BD advanced medium
But mostly have a sound, healthy and happy 2019 and appreciate it as it’s all so fragile and can change in an instant!
2018 started for me heartbroken about the loss of my mare at the end of Nov 17. I had also lost my elderly dog and my nan, so I was pleased to see 2018 arriving to be honest!
I got a new horse in the Feb, and he was lovely - went out and placed in dressage, SJ clear rounds all over. Unfortunately when he went eventing, he decided that the cross country wasn't for him... No issues with the actual fences, but he seemed to take stage fright or not like the adrenaline or something. Very annoying since the two we tried, we were leading going into XC due to his lovely dressage and SJ!
Got a pro friend of mine to ride him a couple of times, he got him round XC once with a LOT of encouragement, and then second time he quit at the closest point to the lorries :-(
I decided to find a home for him where he could do the things he was really good at and not be put under that pressure - and I found him a great home with a lovely girl where he is being generally wonderful and truly adored.
But it meant I had to find another!
A friend heard that a horse at her livery was possibly for sale, and mentioned it to me. Hes a schoolmaster type, done a few 2*, and I basically had to promise to love, honour and obey him for the rest of his life to be trusted with him. I did, and he came home with me.
I had hoped to get an event in at the end of the season, but with the ground so hard and still getting to know each other, I took the pressure off again and we went combined training and schooling instead.
No horse will ever replace my mare, and I miss her every day. I had no idea it would be so hard or make such a difference to my confidence and my general enjoyment of riding and competing - but he is a lovely boy and I think he will look after me.
Aims for 2019:
- Get out to training shows from Feb and stop faffing about
- Start off with a few 90's to get the feel for him at competitions (no matter what the smart arses say about me riding a 2* horse at 90, I am truly past caring!)
- Move up to 100 and be as confident as I was with the mare
- Improve SJ and see more strides (lol)
Last year: Skylla, will go and do some more jumping and fun rides. Dressage I think she will be novice ready, maybe elementary as she feels super grown up all of a sudden!
Topaz, top hat and tails is the goal. Said it so it must be true.
Doodle, continue to be happy, podgy and retired .
So, Skylla definitely did more jumping, she did her first clear rounds gaining her first showjumping rosettes.
I just about hung on I promise I can ride and she has started jumping not as big!
She made her BD Novice debut with scores up to 65% even with some mistakes (mostly mine, I can't remember novice tests lol), and made her unaff elementary debut with 66% on grass.
She also filled out just a touch!
Topaz, well she made her BD Advanced debut, scoring 63% even with my top hat making its bid for freedom. She has since done her second in A105 scoring 64% (still with a -2 for me going wrong doh!), securing our PSG qualification!
She also got picked for the Senior Inter Regionals for Wales and the Home International!
She won her first round Advanced Medium Bronze AF (out of one but no-one tell her she thinks shes amazing).
Second round didn't go to plan but we still managed a rosette!
Doodle, well she says she is feeling great
Next year goals:
Skylla, I've had my bum kicked my the lovely Di Breeze to kick on and bring her out at medium as she will do so much better (and I remember medium tests ). I'm hoping to do some more jumping with her, hopefully building to some actual classes and maybe even some low level eventing!
Topaz, we are having a winter of training to look to doing our PSG next spring !
Doodle, is planning to continue to eat, sleep and be merry .
Me, well to add to the horsey goals I plan to start the new year in a new country , as it's all looking good for the big move to Wales!
Well I had a crap few years, out of horses and my dad being very poorly diagnosed with cancer. Earlier this year I finally was in a position to get another horse. I think between deciding to buy and buying Arlo was around a week, I don’t normally rush but it just felt ‘right’ I suppose. It seems like we had both been through a tough time as he was only 3 and had been in 4 homes in the last 6/7months poor lad. It hasn’t been easy, and we’re still very much learning about each other but all in all we’ve tackled some big issues and had a good year.
Hacking him to his new yard when I bought him -
Our first polework clinic -
A beach ride -
Good flat work lessons-
And lastly cross country schooling -
And now looking very fluffy and chubby and happy on holiday -
I have no solid plans for us next year. Hoping to start riding him again in January, will be getting my own transport at the end of January. Then lots and lots of hacking, then to get out about to some clinics and some local shows with the same to do an UA ODE by the end of summer. We’ll see how it goes!
Love reading this thread! I've not contributed before but I'll give it a go!
2018 started off pretty terribly to be honest, my gorgeous girl K had had an arthroscopy the August before, but came off box rest a week early because my other mare E decided to cut her leg to the bone after jumping into some rocks on a hack and needed the yard (plus many bandages and needles) . A few weeks after that (right before Christmas!), I found K with a major open knee wound (same leg the surgery was on!), she had fractured a bit of her radius as well but narrowly missed the joint capsule. The day she came home from horsepital E decided to go through a fence as well, identical injury to K (different paddock), same leg but didn't do as good a job as K (thank goodness!). So needless to say I wasn't riding much, which was depressing because it was summer and I had all the sunlight to go and look after my sicknotes! I then went overseas for 3 weeks so packed E off to a lovely friend so K could have a nice quiet paddock to herself and NOT hurt herself (she destroyed my fence again the day before I left, sore but not serious!). Well that wasn't going to work, 5 days before I was due home she developed an eye ulcer and my poor non-horsey father had a crash course in 2 hourly eye medication... I'll be forever grateful for a good friend of mine and my father for holding that fort before I got home! Unfortunately in May K degloved her hind leg right in front of me, and I decided to let her go after considering the vets prognosis and her long term quality of life with a dodgy fetlock I was struggling to maintain comfortably long term. I miss her so much every day, she was my first horse and put up with my mistakes for 7 years The picture below is from the last horse trials I ever took her to in 2017 before she broke down a few months later. I feel life was pretty cruel to her, and I hate that I couldn't save her and let her live out her days with me because she certainly deserved a comfortable retirement at only 11 years old.
On a happier note, I managed to get E out to our local horse trials in March. We had a great time and she showed she was ready to go up a level with a double clear and decent dressage to place us comfortably midfield. I don't compete much and she was a young 5 at the time so was super proud of her. Dressage was coming along well and started doing some more serious jumping (I have been waiting for her TB gangliness to grow up a bit before serious schooling!). Did some fun XC schooling as well! The day before we moved I competed her at a hunter trials at a level up, she took it in her stride and I was super proud of her
In July I packed myself and E up and we moved a few 1000km to a small island to the South of the mainland for me to go back to school for a year. This involved a 4 day journey plus 12 hour ferry ride for E with a super trucking company. We spent a while exploring our new home:
I then moved yards due to several reasons, the main one being the lack of off road hacking and unavailability of the only school. New place is amazing with great hacking and a school that is always open for us! Unfortunately she's not been right the last couple of weeks, so I am taking her back to rehab type work over poles to build up muscle properly after a suspected fall in her paddock. Shes getting there! Goals for her is to build on her schooling and jumping next year before I move back home, and take her out competing in the second half of the year. Hopefully I can stick to that!
I always (casually) look (for chestnut mares) through horse ads (who doesn't!?) and came upon a lovely but very green little Haflinger mare not far from me. Long story short, I tried her, loved her and she ended up with me (oops!). Plans for L is to consolidate her schooling and work on her hacking confidence. Next year I'll start her over fences and if she likes it she'll come eventing with me. Fun little project plus I had been researching/looking for a Haflinger for about 5 years! She's doing super well so far, her shoes came off yesterday and I have obtained a saddle that should fit her wideness. Super excited for this little girl
Here's hoping I have better horsey luck next year, I think I've had my fill of bad things happening! I hope everyone else achieves their goals for the coming year too!
2018 was an odd year for us as we had just started going out and doing novice dressage and I had improved my jumping confidence no end, and then I fell pregnant! Managed to keep riding up to 6 months and then had some time off. The unexpected bonus was seeing other people (big and small!) enjoy my fabulous pony (I always knew he was fabulous but they didn’t!) This included my slightly reluctant OH, who rediscovered his love of riding during my time off!
We also moved my boy home with two of his friends, and despite all the anxiety and stress, both he and I are absolutely loving the new arrangement. I can see him from the kitchen window and he can holler at me when he wants to!
Got back on three weeks post baby and we’re just getting back into the swing of things. We’ll have a quiet winter getting us both fit then hopefully back out for some dressage and a bit of jumping in the new year (childcare permitting!)
The beast had last December and January off (so I could take off his shoes). I was getting him back to fitness when his headshaking started, at the end of February😮 We tried lots of different treatment with no luck. We brought him to a different vet and got another diagnosis, much less serious, luckily.
He came right during the summer, which we spent hacking and just pottering about.
We did our first competition of the year a couple of months ago (dressage). I had lost my feel and the beast was throwing his head. It turned out he had a chipped tooth 🙄 I've had a few dressage lessons and we're about 80% back to where we were. We have another dressage comp next Sunday.
Since the beast's headshaking is caused by allergies, I'd imagine it will be back this year. At least we know how to treat it now. I made tons of plans this time last year and we couldn't do any of them so my main plan for next year is just to take things as they come and enjoy it🐎
Last years aim was to get to Sandringham 2*, which we did The first half of the season was mainly rained off. A few prep runs including some scurry:
and we got to sandringham- first to trot up
he did a fantastic test considering how green he is, just about made the marathon and enjoyed the cones. The second half of the season was mainly cancelled as we had some oldies sick on the yard so went into lock down not taking anything off. A couple of fun baby pairs events:
and a couple of events trying to find more 'go' from Cheeri.
Ended up deciding I had 3 nice ponies not a pair and Cheeri didn't really fancy more 'go' so upgraded to the sports model. Next years aim is just as ambitious as getting a 7yo to 2*- I'm aiming for both the british national advanced championships (likely to be first team selection event) in August and Pau CAIO 4* in October at the end of the season, with a northern French 3* late mid season. No small aim when it's my first year in the horse rather than pony class but we can only try! Still got equipment to fund etc. so it's a bit of a pipe dream but we're trying! We're BD registered too but the aims are for driving, anything dressage is a sideline
Almost every picture is either by or features other HHOers, and for that I'm very thankful as most of the above wouldn't have been possible without their support
Took my 1yo colt to first show - got 1st in his class which is great (no photos)
2yo filly took 3rd in the 2/3yo class
I took the colt to another show and didn't get placed, don't think i showed the filly again. Just lost interest in showing this year!
Took my self-broke driven mare to a show, got placed first infront of a "professionally broke" mare. VERY proud of that one.
Bought a new gelding...oops
Moved yards finally after wishing i had the balls to do it for years. SO happy at the new yard!
Get new gelding fitter and driving a little better to show
Put mare in foal if i can find a stallion worthy of her
Show colt more, filly too but will both be in same class so need a handler
Friend just bought a new "superstar" yearling filly so ill help with her. omg this horse....im so glad my friend has her
make sure my old boy is comfy and we have a good summer and really TRY to do a dressage or something, cause the years are numbered and there is no reason other than my own insecurities stopping me going out to it.
Bobbie keeps growing and it looks like I'm heading for horse classes now Club class only though, anything with stars in it is a teeny bit beyond my reach I will try and get to watch you at some point this year though
Started out well-R had been going very well, confidently competing BD elementary with some decent scores, and had almost qualified for pet plan for the 4th year running.
Then in April he went lame, ongoing tests etc, and eventually in August he was diagnosed with hock arthritis. Several rounds of treatment later, I started bringing him back into work, and by October we were back in full work.
It has certainly made me aware that he is starting to slow up a bit, he will be 18 next year, and he is the most generous, kind and wonderful pony I've been lucky enough to own.
It has ended well though-I dropped him back down to Novice and we went out this month and last, and he won both his classes on extremely good scores! It's been a great confident boost and an affirmation that I was right to take it slow and steady with him. We've been hacking more, he's learning how to neck rein, and I'm doing some fun groundwork with him too. I've taken the pressure off a bit and touch wood it seems to be paying off.
2019-I'd like to get him out to a couple of elementary tests again, will have to be v. picky about which ones I choose for him. Mainly I'd like him to stay happy, sound and full of beans! Provided all goes well he will be moving with me to Gloucestershire in the summer, and I'm very excited about the prospect of some fabulous hacking for him.
Lovely to see such positive posts for the last 12 months, thank you MP for posting the link.
well this was our plan
Aims for 2018.
to continue to consolidate our flat training, do some novice dressage and do it well
-to get out SJ and XC training winter and spring and tackle another ODE even if it is an 80cm, just to get him going confidently and happily forward
we have had a few wonderful bucket list moments this year. took Max to the beach, galloped up and down the sands and swam out in the sea on him, which was so totally scary but also wonderful at the same time.
video clip below if it will work ?
in the second half of 2018, I think I can say we have indeed improved our flatwork enormously, still a long way to go but novice test movements are feeling easy now , still loads of homework for me as i have found that I tend shut him down and block him by holding and riding far too strongly- it has been a real learning curve this year to change the way i ride completely.
but, we are getting there and learning a few new tricks, my favourite so far are flying changes, which have really help him to engage his hind leg and stay up in front of my leg, thus improving his canter no end.
hoping to carry on the improvements into 2019 and get some more eventing under our belt, but am certainly enjoying him so much
Oh my word, 2018 what a year you have been! I don't measure achievement by rosettes, i like to measure it by great photos we've got and my word we picked up some great photos! There might have been a couple of nice rosettes added too...
The year started with lots of riding club dressage and our first foray in affiliated with Team Quest. At my friendly little club I decided to try out Elementary and I was one of only 2 people that even attempted elementary this year so it was rather nice at the end of season to win the elementary league and with no contestants in the Medium that made me the highest placed dressage member this year. To lots of people a red rosette in an uncontested class is not a big deal but when lots of others are more than capable of entering, just choosing not to I'll take the rosette happily. Plus in our 3 outings we scored 2 low 60s and even a 68%! The judge might have been generous that day but it still felt like a test to be proud of.
The Team Quest girls (we are Smallwood Taking the Piaffe) were confused why I wanted to enter the Intro at our first outing when I was dolling round in the double bridle the rest of the time but I had a plan... We had some great days out in company and I quickly accumulated the required qualifying sheets for the Draught Horse Champs. We also picked up 2 Prelim sheets along the way.
In April I got a rather unusual phone call on my desk phone at work. The local agric college had dug through their old emails to find my contact details and wondered if I would be willing to come and demo at their open day (in 2 weeks time), and self commentate with a microphone! I do love a challenge but this was scary. Our schooling was coming along great guns but could I really pull this off in Grand Prix rider company. We demonstrated the versatility of a heavy horse with a bit of flag carrying, jumping and ended with a dressage to music demo. Reaseheath Demo
Then we headed off to Riding club camp in June and my main aim was to get one of the instructors to stop being so harsh on me when she judges me. We had 4 brilliant lessons (2 with the meanie judge ) but the best one was definitely the polework lesson
which ended with us jumping a full course at 2 feet. I tried to just smile but there is a picture of me with tears in my eyes. This boy was never going to be ridden again 3 years ago and here he was back to doing it all.
Later in June we trundled off to Cheshire show for our usual catch up with our friends from Tatton Park doing demos on both days. I love these days every year, they are the highlight of my summer so here is the video of Alfie (my bay clydesdale) and Friar (their black shire) doing our hommage to Laura B/T's London2012 routine. Cheshire Show 2018
We also entered the open showing class (mostly for the cheap entry tickets) and I was a little disappointed to place last out of 4 when he'd gone better than ever but Alfie never carries as much condition as a show horse and at 15 with a hard life before him there are a few lumps and bumps under his feathers (which the conformation judge did have a feel of) The ridden judge has ridden him before and just loves him but that's showing for you. Alfie however didn't care and I managed to capture the rare picture of my saint kicking his heels up
We continued playing at various things before in August we had to make 300 mile round trip for Alfie to have a tooth removed. It all went swimmingly and was back in work 2 days later.
We decided to enter the BD Draught champs and to make the long journey worthwhile thought I'd better finish off the Prelim qualification. We had entered 2 tests at our usual venue and as I trotted down the centre line at the end of the first test I was so frustrated and disappointed. I never finish a test without a smile on my face and this day was it was not happening. I went back to the trailer had a little cry, called my hubby and then shared a tube of pringles with Alf. I decided to withdraw from the second test as something was obviously up and the boy deserved a break. I didn't care about results but the event coordinator insisted I stayed for results. We came 3rd (of 3) so it was a yellow rosette and we had scraped our qualifying score with 60.5%. I also got chatting to the judge who was telling me that if I was interested in an example of heavy horses doing dressage then I really ought to look up the ones from Tatton Park who do these amazing displays every year at Cheshire Show It was slightly amusing explaining to her that Alfie is the experienced member of that team!
We asked the riding club if I could represent them at the Area Dressage to Music competition (now we'd found out how much we like dancing and doing our own music). It wasn't our greatest day, we're all allowed off days, but it was a solid enough performance that put us just a couple of marks off a really good placing.
Then all thoughts turned to the Draft Champs properly. I'd never ridden a long arena test before although we have one at home so I managed to get an outing in to a venue I'd not been to before (I thought this was a good chance to test the mindset of the old man who only has 3 regular venues that we go to) and run through the championship test. Alfie had got his head back in the game and he did me proud, winning his class and picking up a very nice rosette. We kept up the lessons and I get my instructor to get on a few extra times in the run up.
I wrote a massive thread on the Draught Horse Champs on here so I won't bore you with all the details but let's just say I got a better picture than I could have dreamed of...
We made 2 mounted prize givings with a win in the Intro and 3rd in very good company in the Prelim. You can only begin to imagine the happy tears I cried that day!!
Since then the end of the year has been low key and fun with a trip to the beach and playing at home. Except for a little treat for Christmas... My children's riding school invited me to come and perform at their Christmas fund raising show. I only started making my own music routines in May and here was our 4th for the year! Darligton's Stables Xmas 2018
If next year is one quarter as good as this year I will be one very lucky horse owner. We're hoping to attend Cheshire Show again and to try and qualify for Petplans at Novice and Elementary (and possibly Novice regionals if I try really hard). IT would also be really nice to have a go at Medium at the riding club but I need to nail the canter half pass before we try that. Then there's the option to do a lead rein dressage test with the little ones... They'd love it and so would he. I also think we'd both enjoy trying a jumping class again, purely for fun because for us that's what this is all about! Oh, and I still really want to crack flying changes! I just think he would look the bomb doing them with his feathers going everywhere, if we keep working this hard who knows?