At the beginning of November it was nice to get a long weekend in Oliva Nova seeing friends who were on a Show Jumping tour. Still surrounded by horses but with no responsibility, just watching from afar.
Looking back at the season it has been a good year in many ways particularly in the horses development from start to finish. Some results were so near to being big ones! The horses may not have been big wins but they have had their own achievements which are good building blocks for the future.
This is becoming too regular - I started the week sitting in a meeting all day. This is very alien to me and I find it strange not being outside in the yard. This was planning the next few months website changes and social media structure combined with new plans for the new year. More news on this over the next few months!!
We had a quiet beginning of the week but Monday and Tuesday was spent unpacking and faffing around from Osberton - we usually unpack the day we get back but as we weren’t back home until 10.30 this really wasn’t very appealing having been away for 5 days!
It never ceases to amaze me how my body being out affects the horses performance so much and vice versa. I started going to Lynne a few years ago and we are now working on different aspects of the bodies energy to which we were when I started. We are now working on keeping a constant level of self belief rather than the roller coaster that can happen.
We had an early start for Stardom’s competition at Goring Heath and were finished by 10am - I much prefer cracking on with the competition days rather than hang around for the later times. It seemed strange leaving in the dark and slightly nippy in temperature showing that Autumn is around the corner.
I have been watching some of the swimming European Championships which have been quite exciting and team GB are doing well. I was struck by a comment that Adam Peaty said after he had broken his own world record “ I am trying to enjoy it (the whole journey of his swimming) and be myself.”
We did something a little different and spent a day filming training videos for my Academy that will be available on my website in due course. We did a mixture of dressage movements and show jumping exercises. As has been the norm it was a boiling hot day and quite exhausting.
During the last month the horses and I have had a quiet spell. Some due to small niggles and others due to let down time and hard ground. We are not rushing to get them out but have entered some competitions from this week on and will take each event as it comes. I have taken the opportunity to make the most of the quiet time.
There is more than just sitting on a horse and “looking like your not doing anything”. The human mind set is a huge factor in the development of one Event horse let alone a number of them being developed at the same time.
Working with horses involves a constant changing of plans and with this comes the huge rollercoaster of emotions. After the excitement of being selected for the American leg of the Nations Cup, this week we have had to cope with the realisation and HUGE disappointment that we have had to withdraw from the team.
At the beginning of the season I had hoped that this might happen one day but hadn’t anticipated it for this year as it is my first season at 3* level. We have re planned V.I.P Vinnie’s schedule to do this and when he gets back he will have a couple of quiet weeks before prepping for Blenheim CCI***.
The rest of the week was all about Vinnie (3*) and Conquer (2*) competing at Houghton. We left the yard at 5am having got up at 3.30am - I like to give the horses an hour after their feed before they travel when I can - while they are doing this we finished packing the lorry and iced Vinnie’s feet once more.
Having got back late on Sunday night Monday was reboot day. Luckily we had unpacked the lorry on Sunday night - there is nothing worse than getting back from a weekend and having to unpack on Monday morning - not a good start to any week.
Having walked the cross country course again with John the points that we kept reiterating all round the course. Keep in balance. Set up for fence where needed. Use your core. Use your legs - you have long ones so use them.
Easy day jumping two horses in the morning on Saturday. I gave Vino a little tune up before competing at Broadway on Sunday and Dom to continue teaching him on the correct way to jump and build on his development. We tend to do short sessions of jumping with him as he learns fast and needs to stop the sessions before he tires. Both went very well and have come on so much in the last week since I last jumped them, (quick learners).
After Vino performing well at Bicton the other weekend I felt he was still a little green in places on the XC, particularly the steps. I decided to pop over to Boomerang and just had a play with the steps and a few other fences, he was seriously well behaved and is in great shape for his next competition on Thursday at Moreton Morrell. Having said that he is obviously feeling a little too well as he seems to think its a free for all out in the fields and is jumping from field to field.
V.I.P. Vino competing in his first Novice and first competition in a while. He certainly did not disgrace himself - in fact just the opposite. He behaved very well for him and was so much more relaxed than in the past at competitions and seemed to really try hard. Despite what felt like a very average test there are some obvious improvements to be made that will make his score in the 20’s rather than low 30’s
We have had three visitors to the yard this week - all really good and productive. Tuesday we had a visit from Gavin Scofield - the horses Osteopath. We have worked with Gavin for 12+ years and he knows the horses so well. He comes to the yard about every 6 weeks. He has a very subtle approach to treating the horses and is specifically designed to work with the innate homeostatic/self correcting reflexes within their body.
Both horses had their last gallop before their competition at Burnham Market on Monday - this gave them enough time to recover before they ran xc at the weekend. They both felt in good shape and Vinnie worked particularly well and Conquer did once he settled. Conquer always takes a while to warm up and work correctly on the gallops
On Wednesday we had a lot to achieve and it was great how we just kept going and it all went to plan -somedays everything runs really smoothly and as Mum and I have worked together for so long we just know instinctively what needs doing - we were both on point that day!!!
Having had all my lessons last week - they really paid off and all the horses have been working very relaxed and consistently all week. Consciously worked with the scales of training which really do set up the foundation of the session.
The open day on Saturday went really well and everyone’s hard work in the week leading up to it paid off. (A big thank you to Immy and Kate who worked tirelessly to have the yard and horses looking super!) Everyone enjoyed themselves including all of us.