With so much to do and not enough hours in the day, the team have been flat out preparing for the first event of the season.
I am happy to welcome a new member to our team, Daisy Shufflebottom, who did work experience with us a few years ago and has now joined us full time.
The weather doesn’t seem to be getting any better, with some snow falling on Friday and Saturday — thankfully it didn’t stick as this is the last thing we need.
Just before the shower of snow on the Thursday we were back at the gallops with my Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials ride Uptons Who (“Joe”). This time we increased our interval training to 4min, with a 2min recovery period and repeated it 3 times, also including one pull up the hill, which he again found fairly easy.
The following day Joe went on the horse walker in the morning for 45min as part of his daily routine and then went on a hack, incorporating trotting uphill with a long and low outline. I think making sure the horses have lots of variety in their work is important. Hacking is a good way to keep up fitness but give their minds a rest, letting them relax and enjoy life.
On Friday evening I finished riding, then shot off to the stallion parade at Myerscough College to watch Longacres Samara Fly, a five-year-old coloured stallion by Sambertino, who I will be riding in the young horse classes this year.
A useful dressage lesson
With dressage lessons planned for Sunday, we went for a little hack round the block on Saturday before then riding Joe in the school, preparing for training the next day.
The following day I had my first lesson on Joe with Ian Woodhead — I normally train with Judy Bradwell with Joe. Judy has helped us both improve enormously but with the journey being over 2 hours and 30min hours, I have unfortunately had to find someone closer to home to make it more financially viable.
It was really nice being back on Joe as I know him inside out, but we needed some fine-tuning. Although we were doing the movements, we needed to do it with more sparkle and a “look at me” factor. Ian got him working in a lovely rhythm, taking bigger steps rather than quicker rushed strides, with a more secure and effective contact and he felt great.
There’s lots to work on, but I was really pleased and felt we achieved a lot in one lesson, so hopefully we can keep pushing to get better ready for Badminton.
The following day Joe had a well-deserved day off with a stretch in the morning on the horse walker and a relaxing massage from the Equissage machine which he has on daily.
We also had a big delivery from one of my sponsors Maxavita, who provide my team with supplements. I know my horses can feel the difference, each horse on my yard is different but there’s so much in the Maxavita range that all areas are covered.
I’m currently using the two new products, MaxaPower and MaxaBiotic, on Uptons Who in preparation for Badminton.
I am off to the gallops again today, then back for more dressage lessons at the weekend. Then the following week it’s Isleham, the first event of the season. It’s come round fast but we are ready and prepared.
Till next time,
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.