Competition prep and mindset !

Lessons learnt

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!!! All the horses have plans for the week and some days more has to be done than others - it’s whatever is right for the horses.  Having done morning stables (fed, hayed, watered and mucked out 7 stables, swept through so the day starts with the yard looking tidy.) I then schooled over Show jumps with 5 horses and then took two to the gallops in Lambourn. At the gallops we increased their distance by a further 4 furlongs they both felt great and I really worked on extending and contracting their stride length therefore progressively helping to stretch and strengthen their ligaments and tendons. This is a lesson well learnt over the years, sadly by V.I.P Vinnie having had a small tendon injury but learning from the vets who work with race horses a lot how best to bring them back into work and particularly when you get to the faster work to maximise the chance of the tendon standing up to competition.


Following the latest cold snaps we finally had a new water boiler put in and now have hot water - baths all round for the horses - and dogs!! Ade, the plumber is now used to working around the horses having spent a lot of time in the barn over the last 3 weeks.  We are very grateful for his quick actions and sorting - particularly as we had another burst pipe last weekend!

The snow was still with us on Monday of this week and even the gallops in Lambourn were closed so we had to re group on how to exercise at least some of the horses.  Russ and Lucy from Boomerang came to the rescue and we were allowed to exercise a few horses in the in their indoor arena during a quiet period when not many of their liveries were using it. We are very grateful for this.

Also, on Monday I went to ride a potential clients horse - there maybe a chance to compete it later in the season but first both they and I have to go through an assessment of the horse and see if we could all work together. We were going to do it at the end of the week but as they have an indoor school we decided to take the opportunity of riding him whilst we couldn’t get the others out - I was really pleased with how the session went and hope to XC him shortly. He is a very nice type and it would be lovely to get the ride.

We had planned to XC school at Boomerang this weekend  - due to the snow and recent wet weather we worked on the basis that Boomerang might be closed  as more rain was forecast so we made additional plans to cross country practice just in case. Having seen a friends post cross countrying at Somerford Park (Cheshire)I called her to find out more detail about the ground - she said it was amazing considering the weather they have had. As a result of this we made the decision to take Vinnie and Conquer to Somerford for some XC schooling as their first competition had been cancelled and everywhere else seemed to be closed. We decided the best approach was to crack on with the day so we were up at 3.45 and left the yard at 5am with 2 horses - a quick 31/4 hour journey !!!!! The ground was surprisingly good and the selection of jumps and combinations are second to none.  We had a really worthwhile trip and despite the long journey we were pleased we did it and definitely to be repeated as necessary. The horses were great.

My Trainer John Bowen had said he would come and teach at Boomerang  - Cross country but as we thought - it was closed due to the rain on Friday night and Saturday.  He still came down and we improvised and had arena XC training instead. We had Skinnies, a bounce, combinations on various lines, corners on a curve, and he was very creative with the different lines that could be ridden using the same fences in a 25mx60m space - I had 6 lessons and each session was  tailored to each horse - from trot and pop for the over enthusiastic Dom (aged 5) to V.I.P Vinnie who is going Advance at Burnham. The horses learnt a huge amount and it was great to have some fine tuning before next weekend. It’s amazing what can be achieved with some thought and creativity.

We had a lovely visit from a lady this week who was looking to join in to a syndicate  - and was visiting a few people to decide who to support - we are pleased to say that she is joining Team Rawlin with our Picnic Syndicate and we look forward to a successful season together.


Outside of horses!!!

I saw the sad news of the passing of William Aldous who has been very involved with British Eventing over the years and we all have a lot to thank him for.  I was fortunate enough to spend some time with him and his wife whilst working with one of their horses a couple of years ago when we lived near Cambridge. He will be missed by many.

On a more personal note, driving back from Somerford Park we heard that my Grandfather  (little Grandpa) had been rushed into hospital with heart problems - it was a nervous time waiting to get more detail and the results form various tests.  He is still in hospital and waiting for more tests but is in good form and high spirits so fingers crossed.


Dad’s education has been expanding daily over the weekend as Mum had gone to see her father in hospital - Dad stepped up to the plate of chief groom - his education of horse management increased hugely - much to his horror!! The more he learns the more that can be asked!!


All in all a good week and the most was made of every opportunity - the horses feel great and all we need now is some competition.


Lindsey Hopkinson