I am writing this blog from the comfort and safety of the house, hiding from this horrid February weather! If we thought that a new month would bring a let up in the weather, we were definitely wrong.

Luckily, I have found a brilliant way to avoid the weather — while everyone else keeps posting photos of schooling at the amazing new all-weather cross-country facility at Aston-le-Walls, I have been having jumping and dressage lessons in the lovely indoors of Vale View Equestrian Centre.

Last Friday, I took all the mares for a jumping session with Caroline Moore, and it was great to get them jumping round a full course and feel how much they have strengthened up since last year. They will all aim at moving up a level this year — both Crunchie (Kilcannon Watlings Crunch) and Quality Purdey will move up to advanced and Holly (Riffala Du Buisson) will move up to intermediate and 2-star — and these are big jumps, so it’s great to feel that they are all confident and at ease.

I then went jumping with the babies at Markfield Equestrian Centre on Sunday (again, the indoor school was a huge bonus!) which went really well. The only downside to Sunday was a lot of black smoke coming from my poor lorry when I turned it on to head home. It passed its MOT last Wednesday, so I was quite shocked that I’d managed to break it so quickly!

It turns out, after taking it to PAC Horsebox Repair and Rescue that a pipe had come loose. It was something to do with exhaust brakes and me using the accelerator too much — I’ve got to be honest, I zone out a bit when they start talking mechanics to me! Needless to say, everyone made a lot of fun of me and my “lead foot” and the lorry was sorted very quickly.

The next day we headed to Vale View for dressage lessons with the mares, and they all behaved impeccably. At this rate, they’d all better start the eventing season winning! Having said that, with me being such a fair-weather rider and hiding in these indoor schools, they might be a bit fresh when it comes to putting their toes back on grass.

I think the guys from Elmtree Construction are making up for me hiding from the weather by getting battered at every hour of the day! The dumper trucks don’t have cabs and it looks a tough job at this time of year. Having said that, I cannot believe how clean and tidy they are keeping the site of our new yard or how quickly they are progressing.

Bruce Clark, who runs Elmtree, told me yesterday that the weather has put them back a few days. I was shocked to hear that, as the stone has already arrived for the school and it should be ready for the silica sand by the end of next week.

We have been planning this yard for ages, so to finally see things starting to come together is amazing. If anything, now it feels like it’s moving very quickly! Let’s just hope the weather plays ball — as much as anything I’d like to get out cross-country schooling at some stage!

Lauren

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