Finally, the event season has started for us. Bouncer (Cossan Lad, pictured above), my Mitsubishi Motors Badminton ride, ran at Oasby Horse Trials last weekend, gaining a 41 in the dressage and a super double clear in the open novice. However, what was the most exciting part was that Bouncer went cross-country in a snaffle! A good friend said to me “did you want to have some hospital food, Kirsty?” That just shows you what an achievement this is.
Bouncer is known for being incredibly strong and I have been working with Polly Jackson-Griffin over the past few years to try and improve it. She has slowly taught us both that we don’t need huge bits in horse’s mouths. What we need is to train and gain a partnership that understands each other. We are slowly reaching this goal although we might need to use a slightly stronger bit for Lincoln Horse Trials this weekend — I will let you know what I decide to do.
This week has been full of excitements. First and foremost, our Badminton entry is officially in! I’m not sure I can comprehend how excited I am to have finally entered.
We had the lovely Paul Morgan from PMEqustrian come and check our saddles we swapped my old Antares dressage saddle for a slightly newer one that fits both of us (my bottom got bigger). On a serious note though, it’s so important to keep your saddles checked and fitting well. I had a lovely catch up with Steven Reeds from Teddy Edwards and I am excited to say that I am now a brand ambassador. I have been spoilt with some goodies to wear for the up and coming season and Stephen is getting my trot-up outfit ready for Badminton.
On Monday I had a brilliant dressage lesson with Polly. Bouncer’s flying-changes are really starting to come along. I have been working on my fitness over the winter with Ben Lewis, a strength and conditioning coach, who I get access to through my uni scholarship. It has been so beneficial to my core strength and I’m really starting to notice a difference. I also do pilates once a week with Lucy Richards from Ride Fit — the whole team on the yard take part in it on a Tuesday. We have lots of fun but it is so important to be fit while you’re trying to ride — it’s easy to focus just on the horses and forget about your own well-being.
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I have made an intense fitness programme for Bouncer this week too. We are lucky to be able to canter when we want to and not have to travel for the gallops, so my canter work is very consistent but I have planned to mix up cantering with using a water treadmill — this is a great tool and I feel it gives an element of physio for Bouncer too.
We have Lincolnshire Horse Trials tomorrow where Bouncer is running in the open intermediate and another horse of mine, Cortage, has his first event of the season in the novice. I will let you know how it goes. Luckily, I have my personal photographer (dad) back this week.
Kirsty and Bouncer xx