Well we really didn't think we make it to Epworth Equestrian
after the snow! I managed to convince mum there was no snow once you got out of Sheffield! The ground was fantastic, we got there a bit late so I only had 10 minutes to warm up. I was really pleased with his test, he loves dressage it is definitely his strong point! He managed to get a 36 with 7's for all his trot and walk work. The canter was a bit fresh and not as relaxed as I would of liked but he still got 6's! He was 3rd after dressage and had lovely comments on his test sheet, which I was really chuffed with.
We rushed onto the SJ, quickly warming up and learning the 10 fences! He knocked a few which was a bit disappointing, but as this is the phase he needs work on I wasn't too mad! Think I will experiment with a change of bit.. maybe a Nuschule to encourage him to lower his head coming into the fences.
Onwards to the cross country! After popping the warm up fence a few times we set off on our round not really knowing what to expect. After the first 3 fences I thought to myself wow this feels nice! He flew round the rest of the course, just having a noisy at the water for a few moments until he decided to get his feet wet! I walked him round in it a few times just for more training and to get him used to it. He really suprised me round the XC keeping a fantastic rhythm and meeting all the fences perfectly, a great event for him to practice for hopefully the run up to Stafford BE.
I took pictures of the XC courses for you to look at. You might fancy competing their in the future and gives you an idea of what to expect. (see below)
Epworth Equestrian XC Courses 2011
Well the weather was fab... although when the sun went in it was freezing!! We arrived at Somerford at 12 for the BE100 round, but didn't actually jump till 2! There were so many entries at least 40/50 competitors per class. They were running the competition as a two-phase so you went straight onto the jump off if you cleared the first 9. Puzzle jumped amazing clearing all 14 fences (mum forgot the camera so no pictures unfortunately :(! ) We decided to wait even longer for the Novice BE Round which looked very built up!! Puzzle knocked fence 8 the last one, but flew round she was well up for it! It was a great training session and gave puzzle and I lots of confidence for future runs!
I have just entered Puzzle into the BE100 Open at Draycott for our first run to get her back into the swing of things! Hopefully I will be fit enough after my operation which has messed up the beginning of my season having to cancel Brockelsby PC ODE and PC Dengie Dressage. Candy is booked in for more area eventing training at Fenella Walkers this Saturday and Boy is entered into Epworth Eventers Practice this Sunday, his first ODE! Fingers Crossed!
Today I took Boy to my local trainer Sarah Healy who is a professional 3* event rider. We concentrated on getting him moving forward off the leg as sometimes he can be lazy! He worked fantastically (see pics), so we decided to move onto showjump training. First we practiced getting a forward energetic canter over cavaletti's which really helped to keep a consistent rhythm. Then moved onto a small course incorporating the cavaletti's in between the fences to re-balance the canter. Boy jumped so much better and cleared the fences by using this exercise.
Off to Somerford tomorrow with Puzzle to do the Pre-Season SJ which will be built to height and under BE rules. Classses start from BE80 and go upto Intermediate height.
Puzzle and I had a dressage lesson with Hannah Esberger Shepherd. Hannah is an International 2* dressage rider and trainer. She has competed internationally for Britain as a Pony, Junior, Young and Senior rider. We focused on getting puzzle more forward off the leg, into the bridle and working over her back properly for the more advanced moves she will need to do later in the season. Hannah suggested a change of noseband and bit, we opted for a jointed snaffle with french link and a grackle noseband. I rode her today and she went very well, the grackle stopped her crossing her jaw and the softer bit made her take more contact into the bridle. The main thing Hannah taught me was how responsive your horse should be. I had to rest my lower leg and see what she did.. as you can expect she went into walk. I had to give her flappy kicks (like little tots on ponies!) to make her shoot forward, so the next time I took my lower leg off her side she immediately responded and went forward into the bridle. It worked great and for the rest of the lesson I didn't have to keep nudging her sides. All my horses can benefit from this exercise and in the long run will be better for it if i keep it up! Looking forward to the next lesson.
I also managed to take Candy out to the Pony Club SJ Rally at Fenella Walker's. Candy was amazing and tried so hard, the fences were put up to 1m/1.05m I was slightly worried as it was the biggest course she has done and didn't want to push her too soon. She really surprised me and jumped a fantastic clear round, so excited for her first BE at Stafford all being well!