This year’s been slightly quiet from the point of producing young horses through the levels due to my top two horses, Wellshead Fare Opposition (Derby) and Cascadelle (Lola) having been off through injury. But it’s also been really good to have some time to produce my youngsters and they’ve really benefited from the extra input I’ve been able to give them.
For instance, Total Belief, (April) my lovely, big (17.2hh), homebred mare, started the season in novice classes and ended up in the top ten at the seven-year-old championship CIC2* at Osberton, so I’m really thrilled with her progress this year and can’t wait to start the 2018 season with her. Being our first homebred has really given us some extra pride in her capabilities too.
I’m really pleased with the four-year-olds, Total Miracle (Leo) and Quintessential (Chilli) and how they’ve been able to develop with my extra time at home. We’ve been taking it slow and steady with them, with plenty of groundwork interspersed with the gradual introduction of new obstacles, such as different fillers when taking them on showjumping practise and to water and ditches when taking them out for some cross-country schooling. Having the extra time means not having to rush anything, which makes it a much more relaxing experience for everyone. It’ll be interesting looking back on this introduction as their careers progress.
I recently qualified as a UKCC level 2 BE (British Eventing) accredited coach — something else that I wouldn’t have been able to do if I’d been out competing as much as normal. You really have to take any perceived setback and turn it on its head to achieve a positive result from what could be viewed as a negative. Now I’ve qualified as a coach I have an additional income stream to support my horses, as well as something to have ‘in the bank’ for the long-term. My horses have benefited from having me around more, which has helped to form better partnerships with them, which will hopefully also pay off long-term.
All horses are now back in work and I’m lucky to have a really good string — with the two lovely four-year-old homebreds, plus Total Darkness (aka Ted), and Lola and my very special top horse, Derby coming back from a full rehabilitation and doing well. Fitness training is coming along nicely and I hope to do some indoor competitions with April and Ted in the new year, while the youngsters will go showjumping and do some dressage competitions to build on their education.
My other half and I were lucky to recently go to Mauritius for a really lovely holiday so while the horses were either completing their rehabilitation or just having a break from work, we were able to go away and recharge our batteries too, which was much needed.
Since qualifying with my BE accredited coaching level 2, I’ve been holding clinics for pole work as well as jumping clinics at home that are proving quite popular, which is great. As soon as I came back off holiday I was straight back into clinic work and I’m really enjoying it.
For Christmas, like everyone in eventing ,we’re pretty much tied to the yard to take care of the horses, so we’ll be kicking back and relaxing and having some quiet family time in between the daily stable routine — making sure Santa delivers carrots to all our good ponies of course!
Here’s wishing everyone a lovely relaxing festive period and very excited for the coming eventing season.