Keep Learning, Keep Moving Forward!
It seems, and was, only a few weeks since John was last with us but his schedule always goes pete tong at this time of year as he is a keen skier and this is when he takes most of his holiday.
The dressage lessons in the morning were all exceptional and the horses all seem to be becoming more consistent which is encouraging. However, on a couple of the horses the jumping was testing to say the least.
Both the Chestnuts!!! - they aren’t naturally supple compared to the others and Vino had worked unbelievably correctly in the morning so in hindsight he may have been slightly muscularly fatigued.
The overall factor that wasn’t helping was I was trying too hard - keen to show John what I had learnt from Chris Bartle - but it slightly backfired as I was missing the subtleties which is something those that know me are aware that this is a trait I have - I can take subtle changes to an extreme when I first start incorporating them into my training.
John is not here for another 6 weeks so plenty of time to get back on track with my jumping and practice my homework!
Gemma English came to do the horses 6 monthly dental check up - they are always done in February so that we know they are correct and prepped before the season starts and then will be checked again in August.
Having this done regularly limits any surprises. It is always lovely to see Gemma and work with her.
Ted, my project, was a handful at times and I had to step in and give her a hand in helping to keep him relaxed.
Stressy day out …………
We took 3 horses and Immy to West Wilts to do some Dressage practice.
On paper it seemed a really good idea as you can choose what test you want to do and you are judged, so no direct competition with others just a chance to see the results of your winter training.
Although the actual scores where not too bad I found the whole day very stressful and far worse than a competition.
The reason for this is that the times were all very close together - 20 minutes between horses - which for my horses is far from enough as they are trained to have 35/40 minute warm ups, giving time for relaxation and stretching.
These short times between them meant that as I was stressed this followed through to the horses and our warm up routine went out of the window which resulted in tense work from us all.
This is the first time we have done this dressage day and it will not be repeated as sadly in did not serve a positive purpose other than it got them out.
It was great to have Immy to help and also for her to have a chance to get her horse out as well.
We had planned to start our gallop regime a couple of weeks ago just as the Equine Flu broke out.
This caused the gallops we use in Lambourn to be shut for horses outside their yard which although annoying was quite understandable and as some of their horses were at the same races as those that had flu we were happy not to put our horses at obvious risk.
However, they are now open and we visit on a weekly basis progressively increasing the horses fitness as they each have a plan leading up to their big events.
Ted back to Jason…….
Ted, my unbacked project has been home for a couple of weeks from Jason Web where he is being backed.
Jason likes to send them home for 2 weeks thinking time after 4 weeks work and he has now returned to Jason for 2 weeks further training.
I am looking forward to having him back soon to start his further development and get him going.
With many years of experience Gavin and his wife Annabelle (who was a 4* eventer) have a huge bank of knowledge and are very happy to share it with their clients.
Vino can be challenging and suffers from mild ulcers but by his reaction you would imagine they are really bad!!!
Together with Gavin we put a program in place to manage this and so far so good.
Rectory Farm SJ………………
This was a beneficial day.
Firstly it was only 30 mins down the road and secondly if was very relaxed and everyone was very accommodating.
It is a great day organised for Eventers to practice their show jumping. We are all given set times, unlike normal SJ where you stand around waiting for ages to jump, and then we can do our bit and go home!!
I took a couple of horses both who performed well, sadly Vinnie had to miss out as he only had his top up flu jab a couple of days before.
We were particularly pleased with Dom who has clearly strengthened up a huge amount during the winter and jumped 2 very good rounds at 1.10m.
I am really excited to see where this horse goes and at the moment I feel that in a couple of years, when he has stopped growing, he will be mega.
We are taking all the horses to do the same next week so that will be a busy day.
The Horse Bit Shop………….
We had an eye opening day with Ema from The Horse Bit Shop on Thursday.
I was quite sceptical about the day and had no idea how much the bit can influence the way the horses work. I have always trained and ridden my horses in loose ring snaffles with lozenges and been happy with these.
As Eventing is so competitive now and the smallest of margins can lead to the biggest of gains this was the only aspect that we have never sought professional advice on.
It was fascinating to see how the horses performed with different bits and how they helped their areas of tension become relaxed and therefore they became more rideable, so enabling me to develop their strength and muscles further and allowing them to become more supple over the back.
A big thank you to Ema for her patience and help.
A visual training day with Ingrid Klimke has really got me thinking.
Mum and I went to Wellington Equestrian where Ingrid was doing a MasterClass demonstration all day on Saturday.
As we had hoped it revolved around her training methods with cavalettis.
She worked with a mixture of Event and Dressage riders and the benefits of this aspect of training was clearly visible.
I have always been aware how good this gymnastic training is and do a certain amount of it but have always felt that we haven’t maximised it. It was fascinating to have the chance to watch this and take away so many training tips.
It’s lovely to be enjoying an early spring and lets hope there isn’t a sting in the tail just as we all start competing!!