Coral Keen’s eventing blog: Bucking Fun and going back to basics

  • We have ten horses back in work and it is proving quite a mission riding them all in daylight hours. We’re short of staff too with Emily away on holiday, so the extra mucking out is keeping us fit.

    Last week we went to Leicester Football Club where Claire Lomas was holding a fund raising event for spinal research. Claire is a former event rider and one of the most phenomenal women I have ever met. Despite becoming a paraplegic from a riding accident in 2007, when she suffered a catastrophic spinal cord injury, she does so many amazing things, raising money for research into spinal injuries.

    Last week’s event was a Bucking Fun, with teams of show jumpers, hunters, eventers, vets and farriers competing against each other on the bucking bronco.

    The eventers team comprised Lucy Kemplay, Simon Grieve, Lucy Jackson, Sarah Cohen and Lucinda Green.

    I’d been watching Lucinda, fourth to go, working out tactics of how best to stay on and I was convinced that she would prove to be the best Buckaroo of the competition, a thought which quickly vanished after she virtually fell off when mounting and then lasted a full two seconds.

    It was all very funny, and taken in the best way possible and despite Lucinda’s lack of stickability, the eventers team won which was brilliant.

    It was a wonderful evening and all very relaxed. The food was superb and it was lovely to see some event riders out and about having a bit of a laugh and a dance.

    Cross-country schooling with April

    On Monday I took April cross country schooling at Larkhill as I felt she needed to see it all again following her earlier outing at a hunter trial there.

    This time she was much better and felt really confident, understanding what I was asking of her. I jumped round as if it was a course and had a nice play around. She’s such a joy to do anything with and is a really lovely horse.

    I think I may take her hunting a bit through this winter. If they can cope with that mentally its really good at teaching horses to take you forward to the fences and encourages them to be brave. It will be really good education for her and will keep my eye in too plus give me a bit of an adrenalin buzz to tide me over until the spring!

    Going back to basics

    I’ve had some more jumping lessons with Corinne Bracken and we worked on teaching the horses to become more independent.

    During the competition season, it is difficult to do this as we are always working towards the next showjumping round, but in the winter, we can go right back to basics using exercises such as pole work.

    Its always very interesting encouraging the horses to think for themselves a bit, instead of expecting me to set them up, and the more advanced horses I rode, the more they were thinking “where are you?” It didn’t panic them, but you could just feel in their expression they wanted to know where I was.

    It was really good and Corinne is just great. I love the days that she is here and always look forward to her coming. She always has new ideas and is so inspirational. Lissa Green brought some horses too, before having a few weeks off following her shoulder operation.

    Other than that, I’ve been working away on getting the horses really stretching and getting them strong over the backs out hacking and in the school and I’m working on strengthening up their week areas.

    We’re still sticking to our quiet Sundays enjoying a lovely roast in the local pub before heading back home to finish off the horses and we’re looking forward to hearing Emily’s news when she returns from Dubai where she is having a wonderful time.

    I have some dressage lessons with Nick Burton on Friday. He’s coming here and I’ll ride five including Derby who is on really good form. I had a little pop on him yesterday, nothing too big, and he certainly seemed very happy to be jumping again.

    We’ve also weaned our foals. Its always a bit if worry how they will accept it and Henry, who has always been more independent, became stressed. He seems fine now with Duno, who was also weaned, keeping him company.

    Both mares are in foal. Henry’s mum is back in foal to Sir Donnerhall and Duno’s mum is in foal again to Wish Upon A Star. We’ve been really pleased with the progeny of both stallions it made sense to return to them.


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