I still haven't fallen off - so that's beaten last year record by 18 days already! 2013 must be a good year! On the 6th of January we headed to Felbridge for some more dressage practice! I got to ride the lovely Business as well as Coco! Business hadn't been out competing in over a year and his only outings had been hunting! Considering he was very well behaved! In the first test he was very tense and inconsistent in his head because of the tension! However he still got over 64% and finished 4th which was great. In the Novice he settled down nicely and performed a beautiful test with fantastic mediums. He just started to tire in the canter work which was a shame. But still finished with over 65% and finished 3rd! He is a really smart horse and I feel very privileged to get to ride and compete him. Coco was also good, especially considering we were told we had 2 horses left when we had 3 - so we kept stopping and starting which confused him a bit. There were a few small mistakes but nothing that we can't work on. Sometimes Coco just tries too hard. Which is lovely. But it does sometimes result in a slight misunderstanding of my aids - so I must learn to make them much clearer so he can understand.
Then last Sunday we went to the first JAS at Merrist Wood! The JAS series are my favourite indoor competitions and the horses find them great fun, but they are also really educational. Lily went for the BE100 and the Novice and Coco went for the Open. Lily was great apart from having a mad moment in the warm up where she insisted she couldn't canter round without bucking and kicking out - but luckily I had time to just let her get it out of her system and she settled down nicely! She jumped a beautiful clear in the BE100 to finish on her style score of 9. Unfortunately 3 others had done the same and they were also closer to the optimum time than me - so we finished 4th. But still a qualifying place. In the Novice she actually started to really jump which felt fantastic. She just rolled one pole but she jumped so well so I couldnt complain. She got a style mark of 6 plus 4 which left us on 10. This was still good enough to leave us in 5th place and another qualifying result! I wasn't sure how Coco was going to get on with the JAS competition as he can sometimes be a bit tappy over fences, not in a careless way but through tension. However he jumped better than I could have imagined. He rolled one fence near the end where he was a bit flat and tired. He also had the out of the bounce down but it was 1.10m and we through him in at the deep end by failing to practice one which was a shame. However he still got a style mark of 10 and finished 6th which meant he has also qualified for the final at Bury Farm. Just got Punch left to qualify now.
Although this snow is slightly inconvinient I feel the horses have had plenty of basic groundwork already this winter - so hopefully it wont effect us too much. They were also quite fit already so we should be able to pick it up as soon as the white stuff melts! I have made full use of the snow and built an igloo in the garden - see the picture below!!
Thats all for now!
Well we are into 2013, the world didn't end at the end of December and I have managed to get 4 days into the New Year without falling off - but lets not speak too soon!!
I better go back to December where I left off. On the 16th of December we headed to Patchetts to see what their arena and classes were like. I went straight in to the 1.05 on both of them as I decided Lily was better a bit bigger as I rode more positively. She jumped really well and was unlucky to just have 1 pole - she still finished 5th as it was a straight speed class and faults were added to the time. Coco thought it was a little small for his liking and although he jumped well he had two down. Then we had the 1.10m. Coco found that height less insulting and jumping clear! Lily thought it was majorly exciting and went a bit wild! She ended up with 3 down - but she was thinking about other things - however I was pleased as she was thinking forwards! In the jump off I rushed Coco out of his rhythm a bit and he ended up with 8 faults which was a shame as again he jumped well. However the venue was good and the courses were well built so definitely somewhere to keep in mind.
After that the horses just kept ticking over and on Christmas Day we all rode out together for the first time - Mum on Lily, Liz on Coco, Katie on Pebbles and I rode Punch. We had a lovely hack despite the rain! We got enthusiastic then and decided to go out on boxing day - it was an error as what we refer to as 'Silly Season' had started on Reigate Heath. Kids trying out new Christmas presents, dogs completely out of control, hundreds of walkers... You get the picture! Liz and mum had a nervous breakdown resulting in a domestic! So Katie and I escorted them home and went and had a good canter round on our own - it was great fun!
On the 27th I had a Pony Club Rally with Caroline Jeanne. It was really good as she had never taught Lily or I before so picked up on some different things and as a result when we went to Wellington Show Jumping the next day I felt our round was much better, just through a couple of minor changes.
We had aimed to get to Wellington for the 1.00m however the lorry broke down and we sat in Cobham services on the M25 for about 3 hours! However we did get there eventually but had to rush into the 1.10m. Lily had been on the lorry 4 hours by this point and didn't get a decent enough warm up really. So she went in and stopped at the first, but it wasn't naughty, I just don't think she was expecting it as it was off a tricky turn and was bigger than she normally goes into. However after that she jumped a lovely clear round so all was not lost. Coco jumped beautifully clear in the first round and was really unlucky to have the last fence of the Jump Off down. I just moved down the distance a little too much and he got in deep with too forward a canter - one of those things but I will learn from it. Unfortunately we couldn't stay to jump the 1.15 as Punch had got colic and ended up going to Liphook. Where they couldn't find much wrong but he was kept in over the weekend to be safe. He has come home and seems no worse for wear so touch wood! It would be typical that after so many years of trying we eventually qualify and then he can't go because he gets something he has never had in the last 8 years we have had him! Bubble wrap it is!
We went to Felbridge for unaffiliated dressage last Sunday and they went really well. Mum rode Lily in the Novice and did really well finishing 5th out of 10. Lily looked so much more consistent too - I can't wait to get her out eventing now!! Coco also did a lovely test especially considering it was his first one since Aldon! He won the elementary and there is still lots to improve so that's really nice to know. It was also my first test since Aldon so not a bad outing by any stretch!
Today I had a Terry Allen indoor cross country rally. Lily really impressed and showed that she is really capable as long as she understands. My group on experienced horses were having quite a bit of trouble - however not for Lily! An acute angled double on one stride. A very skinny skinny to a tight 3 stride curving line in the corner, which was a bit messy the first couple of times but she still jumped and finished off jumping it really smartly - so I am delighted with her as she hasn't ever done anything that tricky before.
We are off to dressage again on Sunday and I am riding a friends horse Business. He is very big but a really lovely horse with fantastic paces so I shall wait and see how we get on!
Sorry for the essay - definitely have done more than I thought recently!
PS. I couldn't finish without saying how fantastic Olympia was this year - we went on the Sunday evening for the Grand Prix. The displays were fantastic and the finale the best in years! What a way to sign off a tr