The sun has been out all week, and with my Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials ride Uptons Who (“Joe”) and a few others out at Lincoln, visits from saddle-fitter Andy Wheals and the osteopath, it’s been “go go go” once again.

On Thursday, before Lincoln I did a bit of gymnastic work with Joe, jumping through small grids, from a stride to a bounce to a stride then three bounces in a row — this is where the horse lands, then takes off straight away before putting in a stride.

Joe really enjoys this type of work, and sees it as a bit of fun, while it also helps horses’ technique, reactions and helps them to concentrate on their job.

Later that day we had a visit from Bruce Hewett BSc (Hons) OstDO, an equine osteopath (left). I was introduced to Bruce by Maria Wynne of www.eqwynne.com. He looked at all the horses, including Joe, and checked they were feeling good. I could really see and feel the results!

Off to Lincoln

So the next day we were off to Lincolnshire Horse Trials. I had one horse in the BE100 and one in the novice, plus Uptons Who on the final day in the very competitive open intermediate section. They went very well, with Rocksoxs (FEI pony) coming ninth in the novice, and Joe jumping a lovely double clear (top right) with a very respectable dressage of 32.7.

After a well-deserved day off, my mum took Joe to Readwood Equestrian Centre to go on their water treadmill, which was fascinating. Joe did 15min walking in about 4 foot of water. I couldn’t go so I didn’t see Joe in action, but we are taking him next week, so will hopefully take some good pictures.

This method of fitness training is used by Andrew Atkinson, who competes for Britain in endurance racing and has to get his horses fit to compete over 70km — it’s amazing the distance they cover!

The next day I was off to Draycott Horse Trials — this time in the car, to ride three horses for Alison, Simone and Liz. They are all ladies that I teach, who asked me to have sit on their horses before they pick up the reins in a few weeks. It was again a lovely day and the horses overall went well.

While I was at Draycott, Andy Wheals came back with Uptons Who’s dressage saddle and finished the fitting, so we are now all geared up for the big day!

We are off to Yorkshire again tomorrow for a dressage lesson and cross-country schooling with some of the young horses, then off to Gatcombe at the weekend.

And along with that my dad is off to Profile Coach Builders to check on how the lorry is progressing — hopefully well, so we can take it to Badminton.

Till next time,

Best regards,

Ben

Full report of Lincolnshire Horse Trials in H&H out today, 24 March.

Ben will be blogging on www.horseandhound.co.uk every week in the build-up to his first Badminton, so check back next week to read more.

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