After being on a high for so long, it was never going to last, and as they say - how the mighty have fallen... quite literally in my case. After Tweseldown I was buzzing, and Lily's stop was just a green baby horse mistake, so with all that in mind I was feeling very positive.
The weekend after Tweseldown, we popped down the road to do the BE100 combined training with Punch and Lily, just to give them an outing. They were both extremely good, Punch did a foot perfect test, although didn't get the marks (what's new?!) and Lily was much improved, we are definately getting somewhere. They then both show jumped clear over a decent sized track to finish 2nd and 3rd, so very pleased and a really good outing once again.
The weekend of the 23rd, I went to Bath with 3 friends to support the boys from our school who were on hockey tour! The sun shone and we had a lovely weekend, and it was actually rather relaxing to have a weekend off from the horses.. a big thank you to mum for looking after them ...again! Although the results of the matches didn't go our way, we had a lovely time. On the Monday we then had our Hockey awards evening, which is always entertaining. I won an award for playing 50+ 1st XI Matches for the school and also won coaches award because I always put in 100%. I like to think that this attitude transfers to my riding, although sometimes I think I try a little too hard to get it perfect, one day I will achieve perfection!! We then had a mixed hockey tournament on the Wednesday, which was so much fun, and we finished 3rd overall which was pretty good.
However back to the horses.. Mum took Lily to some dressage last weekend to give her some more experience, as I was playing netball and hockey that day! Lily was extremely good and although didn't receive the mark she perhaps deserved, she was very good and it was educational for her - so thank you mum! On Sunday we headed off to Parwood for some cross country schooling. However the ground was very hard and rutted so we did no more than trot through the water and jump a ditch. But it was an educational outing for Lily just the same, and although she was a little green at times, she did everything I asked her too. I will add some photos of her schooling.
With this under our belt I was excited to be going to Larkhill this weekend, as it was hard to believe it was only my 2nd event of the season! The weekend didn't start that well when Lily managed to jump on my foot because I accidentally got water in her eye whilst giving her a bath, so I am sporting a nice purple bruise the whole way along my foot... she is surprisingly heavy, although I don't know why I am so surprised shes quite a big horse!
Anyway, a relatively nice start, having to leave at 8, which wasn't too bad. The course was lovely, plenty of questions, but really educational - I couldn't wait to get out there, however we had to get the dressage out the way first. However Lily was really good if losing attention a little at times, but it was by far the best test we had done, with no kicks out, but a little bouncy in the canter! The judge gave us a 37 which was on the harsh side, however there were plenty of areas to improve and the judge said she was too forwards - YAAAY, never thought I would get marked down for being too forwards. A quick change and we were off to the show jumping. She warmed up brilliantly and we timed it just right. When we went in she was very green, as she has never jumped with lots of trade stands and contemplated not going near them.. but the jumps were just too tempting so she decided to jump them after all! Unfortunately fences 1 to 2 were on a related distance, and she wasn't quite focused. I felt we were going to be on a complete half stride so took a large check 2 strides out, which she took as an aid to stop as she hadn't really locked onto the fence. So a kick up the bottom for the jockey and she jumped a lovely clear.. so very cross with myself, but she coped very well, and if I had kept moving to the 2nd she would have jumped it, but I will get there in the end - as long as I learn from each mistake I make!
Onto the cross country and I was slightly apprehensive about the warm up, but there was no where near as many bucks as last time and she jumped all the fences very well so I was feeling quite positive. I gave her lots of time at the start to see what she was doing and off we went over the first without any backwards thoughts. However the 2nd was the first fence really away from home but I sat up and held her together and although she had a look she still jumped it. Fence three was a spooky red house and she was backing off it the whole way in and eventually ground to a halt, so I turned round to jump it again and she had gone very green and wanted to go back to her friends, so stopped again! So a quick smack bottom and she jumped it.. cheeky pony, but she didn't like going into the big wide world without a friend! Onto fence 4, and she had started to go a bit more forwards again, which was my downfall. 2 strides out we were still going very forwards, last stride Lily thought it was much too scary so stopped dead and dropped her shoulder, at which point I went straight over her head, hit the fence and then the ground, however the air jacket was extremely effective until I got a bit stuck on the floor through the shock of falling off and the air jacket kind of beaching me.. eventually I managed to get up and Anna had kindly caught her for me, so back on I jumped as she was not getting away with it! She then jumped the fence as if nothing had happened (and unfortunately the photographer was taking pictures at that fence.. so has got some lovely ones of me falling off!) She then got going and jumped the double of logs and through the water, however there was then a spooky brush down the hill away from home, and there was a horse that had just passed us going the other direction so she lost her concentration and then lost her balance, so went to jump it and then wasn't sure so put down again. Unfortunately that was the end of our round, which was a shame as she was just getting going. However they were just green, babyish mistakes and she is a lovely mare so I am sure we will get there, it will just take time. However she was also very fresh and not very focused yesterday which I don't think helped so she is now out at night! I think she is feeling very well, and the Red Grass Nuts have given her plenty of energy which is what we wanted, however mixed with the spring grass she now doesn't need as much, but they have really helped her build up strength as she is feeling fantastic!
To make sure she hadn't frightened herself we took her to Littleton today to have a trot round some of the little fences and get her confidence back. She was a little angel and she had a couple of stops where she wasn't focused on the fence, but what the horses were doing in the next field, the nice thing is that it isn't really the fences that are the problem so I am sure we will get there as she is very brave. We are going cross country schooling again on Tuesday with the Pony Club, so hopefully she will build a bit more confidence there!
The outcome of this weekend was therefore a bruised foot, a swollen lip, a bruised shin and a bruised shoulder. On the plus side Lily is feeling very very well and I know what I need to work on. Also because it is Easter I can now eat chocolate, sweets and crisps again... its been a long 40 days but I do feel better for it!
Thats all for now.. updates soon!
Links to cross country schooling; http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3678576008198.165325.1388942349&