Baring in mind this is supposed to be a 'queit' and 'peaceful' time of year, I still seem to be cramming rather a lot in, and of course not without its added dramas!
On the 17th of December, Surrey Union Pony Club had the annual Closed Branch Christmas Jumping! It was heaving and to say our pony club is competitive is an understatement! I was jumping Punch and Ozzie in the 2'9" - 3' and the 3' - 3'3" . The first class was on the small side and seen as Oz hadn't been out since Weston I thought he may be a bit mad, but in fact he was lovely and I didn't push him for the time but was still 3rd which was nice! Punch was very naughty and stopped at a 2'6" upright, however after a smack bottom he decided he would jump and was then very good! In the next class they both jumped beautiful double clears with quick turns and felt on great form to finish 2nd and 3rd, with Punch just 0.1 of a second behind Ozzie! Must be a first!
Hoping for a nice restful christmas may have been a little optimistic! By 10 o clock we had a call from a friend saying that there was a horse stuck down in her field, so mum went over with lunge reins to see if she could help. The long and short of it was she couldn't. The horse was suffering from Atypical Myopathy, a degenerative disease a bit like grass sickness and it is a type of poisoning that cant be cured - so that was not a good start to christmas day!
Then on Tuesday, I took Lily to Felbridge clear round jumping. She was very excited to be out but actually went really well. She had one fence down in each round but for several different reasons, and the third round was the best by far - so we are getting there.
On Wednesday Surrey Union ran a dressage and eventers challenge competition. I did dressage to music on Ozzie to Gimme Gimme Gimme by Abba, dressed up and everything! He was 2nd in that. I then did pairs dressage with my cousin on her pony! They were very good and we were 2nd in that on 74%. We did 'Strictly Come Dancing' I will link the video soon!
The eventers challenge was good, I jumped my friends lovely horse Paddy, who was very good as he had never jumped indoors before. He had a stop at the skinny as he didn't understand, but apart from that he was very good. He was 3rd in the 2'9" and 2nd in the 3' which was really good, he is a really nice horse!
Punch was also very well behaved, and was unlucky to have the skinny in the 3' however he made up for it in the 3'3" to win (: clever Punchy!
Ozzie was also very good, he only did the 3'3" ! He jumped beautifully. However after galloping up the arena and tipping myself up his neck on a long stride, he ground to a halt. I gave him a pat, me a virtual slap and he finished the course beautifully. Note to self - don't ride like a muppet!
Today I had the most fantastic jumping lesson with Lily! Everything went right and it finally feels like we are a partnership and actually getting somewhere!
Here is to the eventing season! Lily may be an eventer at last!!
On Sunday I headed to Felbridge for some Combined Training to get the horses out for an outing - and its always great at Felbridge as the surface is great and its run using BE tests and showjumping heights.
We only entered them for the BE90 as Punch hadnt been out for a while and has lost his confidence a little and I was riding my friends lovely horse Bobby who I have only jumped twice! Lily also came to the party but she just did a clear round over the BE 90 Show jumping course.
The start of the day was not great considering we were aiming to leave the yard at 7.15 and failed to wake up until 7.05! Super speedy getting ready meant we left the yard at 7.40 - I was quite impressed! Until the next drama struck. The lorry had no diesel. And by no diesel I dont mean it was low, it was virtually empty to the point we thought we weren't going to make it up the hill to the petrol station. Fortunately we did and after putting £95 of diesel in we were off at last. Managing to reach Felbridge with no further dramas (well except Lily falling over when we went round the roundabout) but with Lily it is to be expected!
Once we were there, Punch was first at 9 am, so we through his tack on and I jumped on. To say the warm up was chaotic is an understatement! 10 horses in an indoor school which isn't even 20 by 40 is a squeeze at the best of times, add in a couple of people who are out of control and can't steer and another few on 4 and 5 year old horses and theres always going to be drama! Lets just say it is lucky Punch is very good at canter - halt transitions!!
Into the test we go and considering all that had happened he did a very good test, he fell asleep for the first few movements, but woke up after the canter and came out with a respectable mark of 36 - which was pretty good as the judge was marking quite harshly.
Next came Bobby. I have been lucky enough to compete him a couple of times whilst my friend is at University. She has qualified him for the BE100 Grassroots Championships at Badminton next year - so I have been trusted to give him a couple of good outings to stop him getting bored!
Again there was little I could do in the manic warm up and luckily Bobby is also very good at canter-walk! Into the arena and he didn't do as nicer test as the last time I competed him, however it was respectable and he came out with a mark of 35.5 - nothing like consistancy!
Onto the jumping and Lily was first to go! She was very pleased to be jumping and threw in several rather large bucks in the warm up which I could have done without, having said which, after being bucked off her last weekend whilst out hacking I was prepared to stay on! We went in whilst the judges were on a break and she jumped a lovely clear round and was generally a pleasure to ride (except for one rather large buck after fence 5, where I did feel gravity willing me onto the floor, but I stayed on so it was very successful) A quick changover onto Bobby who is well established at this level, and it was lucky really as I had no one to sort the warm up jumps and had to jump 2 uprights and 3 oxers before going in to jump. However I got the rhythm much better this time and he jumped a beautiful clear round - I am feeling much more confident in our partnership now. Onto Punch and I got my determined head on! He was not going to stop whether he wanted to or not. A foot perfect warm up set us up nicely for our round and he went in and jumped a lovely clear, never even contemplating stopping - it was great to feel he had his confidence back!
With only 12 clear rounds out of 38 in the class, 3 of them were mine, so I am very pleased with the ponies - they were very clever!
Not only that but Bobby and Punch finished 4th and 5th respectively so a very successful outing! Hopefully we will go back soon for some more as it is weekends like this that make me remember exactly why I enjoy the horses so much!
A quick update on Ozzie as well as I know he is missing out! He has been back in work after his holiday for 3 weeks now, just being ticked over 3 times a week! I am hoping to take him to our closed branch christmas showjumping on the 17th. He needs to be smartened up a bit as he is currently a rather plump (I'd like to say white but he is definately more black) fluff ball with a head and a mane down to his knees! But he is very happy none the less! When I give him a tidy up next week I will get some before and after pictures!
Thats all my ram