We’ve been really busy with training and competitions recently.
February is probably my busiest month of the year as not only are we preparing for the season with fitness work but we’re also going out jumping, competing in dressage and having lessons.
I’ve had two super dressage lessons with Nick Burton and I feel Derby (Wellshead Fare Opposition) is much further on in this phase than he was last year.
Lola (Cascadelle) worked really well and has come out a lot stronger and she’s clicked with her flying-changes — I think during her holiday she must have been thinking about it!
It was an early start for Summerhouse last week with eight horses and two lorries heading out of the yard at 5.45am.
Roxy and Vodka (pictured top) were in the first class jumping in the clear round and then the British novice. They were impeccably behaved all day and I was really impressed with their mature attitudes.
Ted is coming on really well and jumped in the British novice and discovery classes. Although he is still incredibly spooky he’s getting a lot more brave and I’m really enjoying riding him. Taking him to an event doesn’t seem too daunting now.
April (Total Belief) jumped two lovely clears in the 1.05m and 1.10m. She’s a really big mare and it’s taken a long time for her to strengthen up. I can see a lot of change in her strength and shape this season.
Jake (Highmead Proposition) went well in the 1.10m and 1.15m classes and again he was placed. He feels so much more confident which makes my job a lot easier and I love jumping him. Lola was better this week and not quite so sassy and feisty. She jumped two lovely clears in the 1.10 and 1.15m.
Derby had been waiting all day and came out of the truck like a raging bull and was wild. He was frustrated to be left until last and he whipped round with me in the warm-up. He’s feeling very cheeky but he did jump two super clears and I was really pleased with him. All in all I jumped 13 out of 14 clear rounds so a good day!
On Friday there was eventers’ dressage at West Wilts and I took just Lola and Derby so that I could really focus on them.
Lola did a novice and an intermediate test and she scored 73.25% and 74.32% and won her section. Derby felt really good and, dare I say it, feels like he has matured a bit, and was far more rideable than this time last year. He scored 74.23% and 77.5% and won his section.
West Wilts are great to put on the eventers’ dressage and you can use it as a schooling exercise — it’s all very relaxed.
On Saturday they all went over the Wiltshire Downs for some fitness work and on Monday I had six dressage lessons with Olivia Oakeley and I was aching afterwards in the evening — six lessons back-to-back is quite intense! They’re all going well but there’s lots to work on as always.
Yesterday (2 March) we were at Aston-le-Walls with a lorry load for World Class Equine Pathway training and Ted and Roxy had a pop over the cross-country course too. I made a promise to myself that Ted would come with me every time the lorry leaves the yard and it’s making a massive difference to the way he’s going.
I have more jumping lessons booked in with Corinne today (March 3) which will be good and their final cross-country school on Saturday before the exciting stuff starts next week at Tweseldown.
I’ve started doing pilates and although I’m strong I am not very flexible, possibly because I am literally sat down all day — albeit on a horse. I am really starting to feel the benefits and I can’t believe I haven’t done it before. I’d highly recommend it.