The weather has closed in which is a little depressing, especially as the evenings are getting darker too, however the horses are going better than ever, which cheers up even the rainiest of days!
We were off to Hickstead and the first day we were there didn't exactly go to plan.. It was one of those days where the horses went really well but it just didn't work out. Coco jumped the 1.10m on the surface, he jumped beautifully all the way round except where we ended up too deep to the planks which were the first fence of the jump off, so had them down, but he felt really confident and found it tiny which is great! Then Lily jumped in the 1meter on grass. She had lost her confidence on grass a little bit so it was great that she felt so confident. However she was a little too confident and ended up rolling the 2nd last in the first round which was a pain as it was a silly fence to have down, the most important thing is she was happy and not ever thinking of stopping. I then jumped her in the 1.10m on the surface. With the jumps a big bigger she switched on and was really jumping, she felt probably the best she has done ever! I got into the jump off and got a little too competitive, seeing a stride that was never there and then proceeding to get fired head first over her head - poor thing! You can watch the video by CLICKING HERE! However you can also watch the good bits of the 1.10m and the 1meter by CLICKING HERE.
The second day and the weather was foul, driving rain for most of the day, but that didn't bother my super ponies! Lily and I put the antics of the day before behind us for a great double clear in the 1 meter on the surface. She finished up 17th out of 279 which wasn't bad going seeing as I wasn't going as fast as I could have done (wanting no repeats of the previous day!) You can see our round by CLICKING HERE. Coco was also a superstar, he jumped a good round in the 1.10m but was unlucky to role 2 poles in the jump off. However he more than made up for that with an amazing double clear in the 1.20m and it was a really decent track too! He was awesome and finished 17th.. one place out of the placings and one place away from qualifying to jump in the main arena, however I couldn't have asked any more of him! See our rounds by CLICKING HERE
On Monday I had a flatwork lesson on Coco with Jenny Watson, working on some of the movements for our test at Gatcombe, he was a bit tense at times but also did some really promising work. This was cemented at combined training today at Felbridge where he did a really fab test for 31, including receiving a couple of 8s - one of which was for our simple change which we have really been working on! He then rolled 2 poles in the show jumping, but it was a really decent track. The second fence had two poles up to 2 foot then a huge gap before the top pole at 4 foot, and he just misjudged it I think. He also had the back rail of the oxer in the middle of the combination which was just where he got a bit tight behind. It was a shame to say he had 8 faults as he was jumping amazingly and I am really proud over just how much we have come on as a partnership in the last couple of outings.
Wednesday I had a flat lesson on Lily with Tracey Brown, Lily hasn't had a flat lesson in ages so was great that Tracey thought she looked so fit and that she has improved a lot. We did leg yeilds and counter canter and she really feels like she is starting to be strong enough to work from behind to create an elastic contact, where as until now she hasn't had the strength to sit, so the contact has been rather inconsistent at times. We then went to the Pony Club eventers challenge at Blenhiem on Friday where Lily yet again proved to me that she is all grown up. It was a very busy arena with lots going on both inside and outside and it had got quite slippery too, but none of it phased her at all and she just popped round for a really confident clear. Our clear helped our team to 5th place out of 40 teams! You can see our round by CLICKING HERE
Yesterday I had lessons on both horses with Ernest Dillon, which are always really useful at cementing where we are at and then making the step to the next level. Coco felt absolutely amazing, for the first time in training I felt I was really able to ride him into the contact without him becoming tense which is a real breakthrough. It showed in his jump too as he was really flying and fills me with confidence. Lily was also seriously mega. Jumping the majority of a 1.20m/1.25m course really well until she hesitated and frightened herself into a double of oxers and then didn't want to have another go, so we took it right back and built it up again, and she was fine then continued and jumped the last two big fences beautifully so it was a shame about the little blip, but being very careful and being a mare she is sensitive so any little scare really puts her off, however the problem was fixed straight away and she is none the worse for it. If these things don't happen in training then you can't work out how to fix it! Its all go this week as I am taking my A test on Wednesday (fingers crossed) then at Gatcombe 2* with Coco, dressage on Friday and jumping on Sunday, but in between on Saturday I am moving into uni - crazy I know but where there is a will there is a way!
Thats all for now
Lily at the Blyth Tait Clinic
It has been another busy few weeks, as not only am I trying to ride all the horses but university is getting closer and closer, I have realised that I really can't ignore the fact I am off to uni any longer and that I must start doing something about it, so reluctantly I have!
We haven't been competing that much over the last month but I have been having lots of lessons and training hard, using the remaining weeks of my gap year to full advantage! The last blog I wrote I had a manic week of training which was fantastic. Firstly was the Blyth Tait clinic at Lyneham Heath Equestrian Centre. It was a superb facility and perfect for the cross country lesson we had. They had every type of fence you could imagine which was great for Lily and she was awesome! She jumped into water for the first time and both She and I did our first bounce into water which she thought was great fun.. You can see the pictures from the day below. I also have some video footage which you can see by CLICKING HERE! It was a very informative day and I am very grateful to Baileys who sponsored the JAS Series to give the lesson with Blyth to every winner.
The next day we were off to Moreton Morrell in Warwickshire for a Pony Club A Test training day! I have found the two training days that I have done very enjoyable and informative. The pointers that they gave me to improve this time were different to what they told me last time and much smaller issues too which is great as I feel I am moving in the right direction and that I am in with a chance of passing the test in a couple of weeks time! There was a very broad selection of horses and I definitely found some of them easier than others. Even if after all the training I don't pass the test this year I feel that I have gained a lot through training for it and I will be even more ready to give it a go next year!
The pony club Caroline Jeanne lessons were great and Lily was fab. We did a bit of simulated 'arena XC' which Lily thought was great fun! Caroline got our group jumping through a grid with our eyes shut which was really interesting as we had to shut our eyes as soon as we were straight and then just sit still! Not a single one of us hit an iffy spot when we had our eyes shut, and as soon as we were allowed to see again we all started to try and adjust unnecessarily on the way in, instead of just keeping a good quality canter which was very interesting. I think all of us really benefited! Although I didn't have a lesson with Caroline on Coco, we still did a bit of arena cross country with him and he was mega! You can see the video of him making some skinnies and very tricky lines look as easy as anything by CLICKING HERE.
Then on the Saturday we headed over to use the fab arena at LMEQ for a jumping lesson on both horses with Ernest! We were really working on getting collection of the canter but with a very light contact, so I wasn't strangling them to get it but they were balanced and sitting on their hind legs, which was really interesting and worked very well. Both horses jumped relatively few fences, but I think that was a good thing as it showed that we were getting it right and so didn't need to keep jumping! You can see some clips of that lesson by CLICKING HERE!
Lastly we headed to Wellington OIU21 last weekend with Coco, just to give him a run before Gatcombe in a few weeks as he hadn't run since Barbury! He did a really good test with some very nice work, however the judge didn't agree which was a shame and he got a 37.3. However I was pleased with how he went which was the main thing. I was trying some new tactics as such in the showjumping, including turning up a bit shorter to my fences. I think in the atmosphere he was just slightly lacking attention, and although the canter I had looked quite good I think it lacked the bit of buzz that he likes to jump from which was a shame as it resulted in three fences down, two of which were the first two where I think I was just a bit to relaxed. Into the third fence I created a bit more power into the canter and that seemed to help. However he more than made up for it cross country after a slightly rusty start (he hadn't been cross country in 7 weeks!) he was awesome and just popped round making it feel really easy. Including a combination at fence 9 which I was really worried about, a flower bed on a long curving 4 strides to a double of big corners on a long two strides! But he just locked on a flew which was a great feeling and I think it has really helped me to put the little blip at Nunney behind us!
We are jumping at Hickstead this week so fingers crossed, our next event is Gatcombe CIC2* in late September to try and qualify for Weston so hopefully that will all work out!
Thats all for now!