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Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Skipton - Our Best Score Yet!

With a great dressage score at Belsay, but a disappointing show jumping round, and time penalties to add in the cross country, we were looking forward to Skipton.

We'd taken the opportunity to go cross country schooling last Monday (10th June) around a local event, Kirkley Hall, but aiming to have a go at all the next level up fences, BE100. Thomas was brilliant and flew round everything, although a very narrow jump with a tree on top, did cause a slight delay for us. Without the tree, we breezed over it.

The little issue actually made us ride much more positively around the rest of the course, and we were looking forward to Skipton at the weekend.

With a reasonable start (leaving the yard at 7am on Sunday), the three of us headed to Skipton. We'd allowed plenty of time to get there (just in case!), so it was quite nice to enjoy a steadier course walk and watch a few other competitors come through.

Heading over to the dressage, a couple of relatives who were over from America decided to come and watch. It was lovely to see them and to see support even when they were on such a tight schedule. Also joining them was my 84-year old Nana! Don't be fooled by her age though - 2 x 18-holes of golf a week means that she is probably fitter than all of us!!

Thomas was a little fussy in his contact in the warm up, and still a bit stiffer to the left than the right, but we were soon working together well, and it was time to head in. As there had been a gap before us, the judge buzzed us in almost straight away, which really was a good thing - overhanging trees down the outside of one of the arenas meant it was awkward on such a big horse!

The test could have had more lift and impulsion, but overall, Thomas was obedient and it looked a very pleasing test. I was worried that it was no where near the test we put in at Belsay, whereas Andrew thought it looked good.

Putting the dressage behind us, I had a look at the show jumping. A lot seem to be having the same fence down; number 5. It was on a backward bend down to uphill, but didn't look like anything too bad.  Show jumping our weakest phase, so I was starting to think a bit negatively, which is wrong! Thomas warmed up well, it was busy the collecting ring, even though just 4 horses were declared to go in.

We started off with a ropey jump, getting a bit close, but recovered well, and just had the bogey fence down, number 5, which we again just got too close to, and had the front top pole. Again, we recovered well, and Thomas jumped a super round after that!

It was our best show jumping round to date! I was so thrilled to have just one pole down and what felt like a great round.

Now onto the fun part - cross country.

The course was short and with the first 5 fences being in about 300m! This type of course doesn't really suit Thomas & I as there isn't much space for a big horse to make up the time. We flew round clear, but I suspected that we would have a heap of time penalties.

After a bite to eat, we headed to the score boards - I wish Andrew had photoed my face.

We finished on 39.1!! Another fantastic dressage score of 33.5, with 4 penalties to add in the show jumping, and just 1.6 time penalties! I was so happy!

We finished in 17th, but with just 1.6 penalties between 10th and 17th - now I wish I'd gone a bit quicker! No, it was just a great feeling to have finished on such a great score!

And here's a special mention to my Nana!!

We'd like to thank Jan Wood Properties for their ongoing support too.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Belsay Horse Trials Report

On Saturday, we headed to our second local event, Belsay Horse Trials, just 30 mins away from the yard!

There was an event in the calendar, Hexham, that I had always wanted to do, but unfortunately, it stopped after 2012, and I was gutted! Belsay came forward to replace this event, so I had everything crossed that it would be a really fab event - I wasn't disappointed! It was excellent, well organised, friendly, well setup, and the ground was almost perfect considering the rain a couple of days before, and the morning I competed!

We set off about 7.15am to allow plenty of time to get sorted and walk the course. It was a bit of a hike from the wagon to the secretary's tent, dressage and SJ, so I'm glad we did. As the SJ hadn't started, I took the opportunity to walk the course. It looked fine, but quite soft in the middle & number 8 was definitely the one that was up to height and width! I headed off to walk the XC, and found it to be bold but inviting, and nothing too technical. There was a fence on a HUGE drop at 15b, which I did worry about, not so much the fence or the drop, but the approach from a was down a short steep hill, then flat stride to the jump, drop, land on flat (hardcore built up) but dropped again and to the steepest hill I've ever cantered down!

Back to the wagon, when it was mizzley rain, but that gets you soaked! Then it rained as I headed down to dressage... My luck!

Thomas warmed up well, a little stiff on each rein, but did some bending exercises that I'd learnt in my mid-week lesson, and he felt much better, although we couldn't nail the strike off in the warm up, without the use of a side guide (i.e. not in the middle of the area). We were meant to be straight in after the coffee break, but someone arrived late and pushed in  While I'm sure one day I'll need this, it is quite frustrating when you've prepared to go in, and have to wait another 6 minutes.

Here's the test:

We scored 31.5!! Not only mine & Thomas' best test, but the best one he has EVER done!!

Onto SJ, without knowing my DR score, and he warmed up well, in the rain again, but flew at the warm up fences! I was pleased so only jumped 3 times. We were straight in after the course walk, so a bit of hanging around unfortunately. He flew at the first and second but took a front slip at number 2, and from then I just rode like a complete fool - had no leg on and just glaked about really. He had every opportunity to stop, and never did, even with the stick ground, so I was really pleased with him. When I was watching later, other who didn't look to have enough leg had plenty of stops... I put 4 down.

Here's the video:

So not our best SJ performance.

I was really disappointed with myself, and suddenly didn't see the point going XC if that's how I was going to ride, but pulled myself together and headed to the warm up. I made sure I put plenty of leg on but I don't really like doing to much and saving his energy for out on course!

Andrew caught us going out and coming home:

And here's the steep hill I was talking about! You'll hear me having a blast, shouting YAAAAAHOOOO THOMAS at the top of my lungs!

We came home clear and safe, but the score showed 11.6 time pens. I was held at the start and didn't feel I was significantly slower than past events this season, all of which I've come home inside the time. Just seems a lot....

We finished on a score of 59.1 and 23rd. Was thrilled with my dressage, but a bad SJ ride from me did dampen it a little.... especially when I saw the number of time pens...

Still thrilled with Tom! As always!

Once again, we'd like to thank our sponsor, Jan Wood Properties, for their continued support!

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Floors Castle Horse Trials

With a lot of hard work being put in since Burgham, everyone was looking forward to Floors Castle. We were given a very reasonable dressage time of 10.50, so with a nice & easy start, we set off at 7am to make way to Kelso in the Scottish Borders. As we headed further into rural Northumberland, thick fog set in and the heavens opened with rain. Suddenly the event didn't seem so appealing! However, checking ahead, the forecast looked OK and the event was still running as normal.

An hour & a half later, we arrived to a very prestigious entrance at Floors Castle:

The sky, although grey, was bright, and it didn't look like any heavy rain was due. Setting off to walk the cross country course, the ground felt really good; a little springy but not too soft. It rode really well! The views were beautiful, fences running along the running River Tweed river bank, and right in front of the castle itself!

After walking what looked to be a lovely flowing course, we headed back to the wagon to get ready for our dressage test. As I got myself dressed in my breeches, jacket and stock, Andrew put Thomas' studs in. We were ahead of time, and had plenty of time to tack up and head over to the dressage. The warm up and arenas were in front of the castle, so made for a great shot:

Thomas warmed up really nicely and seemed to be listening to what I was asking so thankfully he wasn't quite so tired when he went into his test. He put in a really nice test, apart from one moment when we had a slight disagreement - but we both got over it and continued to enjoy the test. We scored 39.

Unfortunately, the heavens did open as our test started, and only lasted until just after, so we got a bit drenched! Andrew headed off to find us a new pair of gloves as they were now a little slippy, but the break did mean that the rain eased off, and we took the chance to go for our show jumping.

The warm up was busy and after a few jumps, we were able to go straight in. The round was nice with just two down, leaving us on a score of 47.

With the skies looking brighter and a quiet cross country warm up, we got changed, booted up, and headed down. Thomas gave me a lovely cross country run, attacking the jumps well. We came home clear and inside the time to leave us on a final score of 47.

It has been our target to finish under 50 this season, so we were all delighted, and half way through the scores, it looked like we could be in a good position. In the final results, we missed out on 10th place by just two points! It didn't spoil the day; we'd hit our target and had a really great and enjoyable day out!

Thanks again to our sponsor, Jan Wood Properties, for their ongoing support.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Burgham ODE

The alarm was set for 5.15am & with an early night on Saturday, everyone was looking forward to a day out at Burgham Horse Trials. 

The week had been spent trying to work on a dressage niggle that I had, and thanks to some great instruction late on Saturday evening, Thomas and I were feeling much more positive about the dressage - even if it wasn't totally fixed! 

With feeling tense and unsettled in the dressage at Northallerton the previous week, I wanted to make sure that we warmed up for enough time this week. Maybe I selected a little too long - 35 minutes! But Thomas was definitely worked in well, and although being a little tired, he was settled into the dressage phase. He completed a lovely relaxed test, maybe a little too relaxed in place but I can't complain, as I'd rather have this than a tense test. We scored a 41, and although was a little disheartened by the score, felt the test had gone much better. The score was well placed in amongst the rest of the class too, so it wasn't just us! As usual, Andrew videoed the test for you to see.

The show jumping was up next. It was another blustery day, so with a marquee very close to the far side of the show jumping blowing around, I decided to enter the ring and trot past this. Thomas didn't find the marquee so fearless - with another group of people putting up another one next door! After a couple of tries to get him past, I decided to leave it and start the round. I was worried about coming over number 7; right next to the marquees and a triple bar. It was our first triple bar, and I was excited to jump it. We do have a video, but it lacks fluidity unfortunately due to the initial distractions. We had three down so I wasn't too disappointed, but would have liked to have been able to take a better line to fence 1. Not long after my round, the group of people were made to stop putting up the marquee and asked to remove what was up...

Now on a score of 53, I was keen to not add anymore to the score. We did just that, coming home clear and inside the time - just 5 seconds spare. So I'll be looking to improve Thomas' fitness and even with the spring grass the feed needs keeping!!

Andrew managed to get a shot of us coming over the first, but unfortunately, selected camera and not film for our return to the finish! 

We all had a fantastic day and finished in our best position yet - 15th! I was really pleased with Thomas and pleased that we'd been able to turn around into a much more positive feeling at the end of the week.

Thanks again goes to the support of our sponsor, Jan Wood Properties.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Northallerton ODE

After a couple of days away in Copenhagen with the 9-5 job, we'd entered Northallerton ODE for the BE90 on the Sunday.

Following a pleasing start to the season at Eden Valley, we were looking forward to another event. We'd been to watch at Northallerton before, and thought it was a lovely set up with a well-run day. We weren't wrong when we came back this year to do it for ourselves.

We were a little later than planned to arrive with strong winds while travelling down from Newcastle, but we were able to take a brisk walk around the cross country before heading back to the wagon to get ready for the dressage.

Thomas had schooled very well at home on Friday evening, so it was disappointing to feel that he was a little tense and not settling very well. The warm up time seems to just disappear and it was our turn. Thomas went OK, but I could feel it wouldn't be our strongest test, which is a shame with all the hard work we have been putting in recently.

We didn't make any mistakes, although we did disagree slightly on when we should trot again... We finished on a score of 43, which we hope will be much improved at our next few outings. Andrew did film the test and you can see it below.

We had about an hour and a half before our classes show jumping started, so popping Thomas back on the wagon, we headed off to take a look and learn the course. It was set up in a nice big arena, but on a surface, and not grass like it had been previously. The fences looked really nice and the course seemed to flow well.

Thomas warmed up, jumping really nicely, and went into the ring feeling lovely and forward. We had a very nice round until a very bright fence 5 which took some concentration away, and we had a couple down after than. Managing to regain composure before the final two fence, we finished the round on 16 to add. Slightly disappointed as the round started and ended very well...

Onto the cross country - our favourite part. The course didn't present anything difficult and was a nice and inviting course. After a heavy trip over the first fence, Thomas was off, not touching another fence!! We took the first four steady, but after then, Thomas gave me a lovely ride, and really opened up in between fences. We came home safe and sound, and within the optimum time. Andrew managed to get a couple of shots of us coming towards home which are below.

There are a few more photos in our gallery from the day, so make sure you take a look!

We finished the day on a score of 59 - slightly lower than normal, but pleased to come away with no issues, problems or anything going wrong!

We'd like to thank our sponsor, Jan Wood Properties (www.janwoodpropertes.com), for their support, and were pleased that our newly branded jackets kept us lovely and warm in the wind and rain!

Our next event is Burgham this weekend, Sunday. We're looking forward to it, and will be sure to post about how we get on!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Eden Valley ODE

With what seemed to be the longest winter ever, Team Tunnah Eventing were pleased when the first event of the 2013 season finally came round; Eden Valley on 6 April.

Without too early a start, we set off from our based just outside of Newcastle, across the A69 to travel close to Penrith, Cumbria.

With the recent bad weather, we packed for the worst; full waterproofs, thermal gloves, wellies, the lot! We were very pleasantly surprised to find blue sky and sunshine while we drove, which we could only hope would remain for the rest of the day. It did, and while a bit chilly, it was finally nice to have the sun out and not be wrapped up in several layers!

Thomas warmed up nicely for the dressage, albeit a little distracted with it being his first event of the season, but settle enough. We've recently invested in a new saddle which is taking me some time to get use to sitting differently, so we had a few slight mis-communications in the test, but overall it was pleasing. We scored 40.5, so lots to be improved on, and hopefully this will be reflected in our future scores. Here's a video of the test:

Next, we walked the cross country course, which seemed very nice for early in the season, with a couple of questions, but nothing that we couldn't handle :-) I was a little nervous, just to actually get out there and doing it, but also just because we hadn't done any for so long!!

In the meantime, I had the show jumping phase to complete. The course was in a small arena but welcoming arena, and the course layout itself seemed nice; a bit of a tricky turn at the end! We had two very unlucky poles down in the middle, and Thomas became very keen by the end of the round, and we almost missed the second to last and ended up over another, but thankfully not. We finished the round with 12 penalties to add.

Finally we were able to get on the cross country - the adrenaline was pumping & after a lengthy wait in the warm-up, we were finally off! Andrew got some footage of us coming over the second, third and forth...

He also managed to get us coming through the water and steadily round to the penultimate fence.

We finished without any jumping penalties and within the optimum time, so nothing to add from this stage.

We finished the day on a score of 52.5, which was very pleasing for our first event this season. We hope that things continue to go well this season & will be sure to add our reports on here as soon as we can.

There are a few extra photos below but our next event will be Northallerton, 28 April.

Sponsored by Jan Wood Properties!

Team Tunnah Eventing is very pleased to welcome a new sponsor onboard for the 2013 season: Jan Wood Properties.

Jan Wood Properties (www.janwoodproperties.com) is a reputable property agent based in Leeds, West Yorkshire. With a wide portfolio of properties available to rent for both single professionals and families, Jan Wood Properties can find you a great place to live! Ranging from city centre penthouses to leafy suburban homes, you'll be sure to find a property that fits your every need.

Team Tunnah Eventing is really looking forward to working with Jan Wood Properties over the next year, and would like to thank them very much for their support.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Fitness Work on the Beach

I'm sure it isn't just us all at Team Tunnah that's been upset by the recent upset of weather; we're starting to think that Spring will never come!

Unfortunately, with the bad weather, it has put us back in our schedule for fitness work. Thomas hasn't been able to go out into his fields, which now looks like a private swimming pool in places, & when we are out and about, it's been very difficult to find good grassy areas to enjoy some canter work.

This Sunday, we decided to take advantage of the fact that it wasn't raining (or snowing... I know, it's March!) & went to the beach. There's a nice big beach just up north called Duridge Bay, & when you check the low tide times, it means it is a beautiful and big beach, with plenty of room for us and the dog walkers!

Although it wasn't raining, it was very cold, and a little windy too, but it was great just be out in a nice open space that wasn't completely underwater...

As Thomas isn't that fit yet, I decided that a bit of interval training would be the best strategy, so after a few minutes of trotting along the beach, we set off for a gentle canter, before returning to walk, and coming back up the beach at a little pace. Andrew caught it on video, although we had Harry the Lab with us, so the camera became a bit shakey!

We had a walk, and spent ten minutes schooling in some circles, before trotting up to the other end of the beach, for a final canter back down. Thomas seemed to love being in the open space and being able to really open up, though he was tiring by the end. It definitely put a smile back on both of our faces though! 

Friday, 15 March 2013

BRC Winter League Indoor Cross Country

A little late, but last weekend, Thomas, Andrew and I travelled to Durham to take part in the area 2 Winter League Indoor Cross Country on one of the teams entered from Bedlington, Blyth & District riding club. We were looking forward to it, although it was a very cold day!!

The course was a good course - we were jumping the 85cm round. It wasn't too long, so I needn't worry about losing my way :-) After a good warm up, having a jump over an upright and a skinny barrel, it was our turn.

It was a good round, although it could have been a little quicker. Here's the video of the round:

The team consisted of four combinations; just one had a run out. As only 3 of the 4 scores count, we were still in with a chance. The team came 5th overall out of a large pool of 33 teams. Thomas and I came 19th individually.

A great day out!

Monday, 4 March 2013

Competition Report: Combined Training 3rd March

After a busy day out cross country schooling on Saturday, I was conscious that Thomas may be a little tired for his competition on the Sunday. However, thanks to the new Competition Concentrate that I've put Thomas on, his work recovery is much better.

This week was Combined Training - a Novice (N24) dressage test, with show jumping to follow at 95cm.

I was a little concerned about my dressage as the last time we tried Novice, it was our first attempt together, and wasn't up to standard - that was just three weeks ago. We were a little disheartened after last week's dressage scores, but it made us all very determined to improve during training in the last couple of weeks!

We were in the warm up a little long than we would have liked, and the judge seemed to take a long time before signally for the start of the test, but Thomas was lovely and forward, moving nicely, relaxed and loosely.

We scored 38.1 which we were thrilled at. This is a harder level of test than we would require when competing with British Eventing, and we usually score around 37 for that! It was also a huge improvement from the last attempt at this level three weeks earlier of 45.7...

Here's the test:

After  quick change to some equipment, we headed back to the arena to warm up for our SJ. There was no one waiting in front so we jumped the practice fences, and went in. The main aim was for a much more fluid and forward round. This we got, and even though we had three down, the round overall was much improved. I concentrated a little too much on keeping forward from fence 2 to 3, and so could have ridden a better corner, so I'll take the blame for 4a & b coming down, and number 7 was on a very odd line, and we just clipped it. Still, it highlighted a lot for us to work on!

Here's the show jumping round:

This evening I exercised Thomas for 25 minutes to allow him to stretch and relax into work. He didn't feel tired, so again the feed must be working, though when he was finished, he was ready to be all tucked up and have his tea!

This week we'll be lunging on Wednesday and on Thursday are trying a Poles & Crosspoles training session with BBDRC - hopefully Andrew will come along and get some footage!

A Busy Weekend!

Having spent most of last week split between whether or not to make the journey to North Yorkshire to go cross country schooling, I decided on Saturday morning to go! It was a beautiful, crisp morning, and seemed a shame after all the nasty wet & cold weather not to take advantage... plus it was something not only different to do, but also something that was needed for the start of the season.

Around 11am we set off on the road to Breckenbrough; around 1 hour 20 minute drive. All very excited, I decided to take a walk around the fields to see what there was to jump, what would be challenging, what was good for confidence and what we could do that we hadn't seen before. There was plenty of choice with skinnies, ditches, water jumps, corners and stairs!

I warmed Thomas up on the nice sand gallops that were available, but keeping him steady as he isn't galloping fit at the moment. Popping a few logs and smaller & straightforward fences, I decided to have a go at a ditch. This went well so we came round, did it again and out over the skinny roll top. This too didn't seem a problem for Thomas so we put a few together and rode a nice line.

Here's a little video:

We moved onto the stairs with some roll tops on the top, and over a skinny roll top at the bottom, curving to a tiger trap. It was all good fun. We jumped our first corner, and although the first jump over was a little sticky, the second time Thomas soared it. It was on a difficult angle with the markers in awkward positions so we left that one there. We were able to jump a very narrow barrel to drops. 

Thomas soon tired so we finished off in the water with a couple of small fences after it.

Thomas seemed to enjoy his bath afterwards, especially when he was allowed to graze for about 45 minutes as a treat!!  

We put him back on the wagon, and headed home for us all to have a well deserved rest!

Sunday saw us competing again in Combined Training at Titlington Training & Demonstration Centre... read our next report for details on that!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Feeding Energy

After another good weekend, I am now pleased to report that Thomas' new diet seems to be going well & as planned. I've been a busy bee the last few weeks, calling a number of feed providers to discuss what the best options are to aid energy without adding too much weight and causing fizzy behaviour.

I've settled on a diet that Dodson & Horrell recommended. This consists of Competition Concentrate to aid the release of energy in both mind and muscles. It also helps post-work recovery & hydration. Once Thomas is back out in the field, oats will slowly be added to the diet to increase slower release energy for sustained performance. This will be a fine balance as too few may have no effect, but too many may make Thomas feel a little too well...!

How do I know the feed is working?

Usually I allow 10 or 15 minutes warm up before a dressage test. This allows me to loosen Thomas off but not be too long that he loses interest or becomes tired. On Sunday, I was running a little late for my time and so only got 10 minutes in the collecting ring. Thomas was very forward and very interested in everything going on around - just how I'd like him to be during the test. It's a shame that I didn't have a few more minutes to settle him in a little more, as he was a little tense in the test, but still came out with a pleasing 67.08%

Feeding is a testing and refining process until the balance is found, so no doubt we will have lots to report on this in the upcoming weeks.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Working to Improve Flexibility

With plenty of time over the winter to take a step back and work on the basic, I've realised that both Thomas and I are right handed (in a sense!) We both have a much stronger right side, than left, meaning that I struggle to support Thomas on this side, and he finds it harder to counteract my dominant right!

We've been doing a lot of lunging recently - at least once or twice a week which has been a huge help towards building up Thomas' left side. I've been using the gym and some strengthening exercises to help with my left side too.

Thomas now feel much easier when working on the left side, but it will be key to ensure that we don't neglect the right. As it's been a while since we've had a nice photo of Thomas mid-work, Andrew kindly took a short film of a lunging session earlier this week. From that, I was able to get a really nice photo of Thomas - he looks very well and fit for this time of year!

Monday, 11 February 2013

A Successful Combined Training

Yesterday saw Thomas and I take a trip with some friend up to Titlington - to take part in some Combined Training. Despite its name, it's not training - it's a competition that combines Dressage and a round of Showjumping.

A reasonably early start, I plaited Thomas up, gave him a good groom to help get that shine all over ;-)
Some friends from our yard were also going to the same venue, so rather than take two boxes at the same time to the same place, we went together.

Although we arrived a little ahead of when we had planned, and it being very cold outside, time flew by and after watching our friend, Thomas stepped off the wagon, I got changed, and tacked up.

You do the dressage first - our first ever Novice test. I was a bit worried as some of the movements, I hadn't done before. BUT to enables us to jump the bigger fences, that's what we had to do! Thomas warmed up great - we went into our test, and although Thomas was lacking in energy a little, he put in a nice test. The judge gave some positive & constructive feedback - plenty for us to work on back at home.

Next was the showjumping...

Our best round to date! Just one fence down - the first. Not sure what happened, think Thomas was perhaps a little forgetful with those front legs as he felt like he flew it! We concentrated on keeping round, supple and sitting straight, so we could have been a little more forward, but it was a great effort!

We've got some dressage planned for later this month, with a couple of events already scheduled in for March - so keep watching out for our updates!

Monday, 4 February 2013

A Great Motivating Lesson

At the end of 2012, Thomas took life a little easier and had a break from competing and training. The start of 2013 saw things start off excellently, with a win and second place at our first dressage of the year.

Since then, we have unfortunately had a very unwelcome guest - SNOW! 

Fortunately, this has now all melted, and although it is still very cold and wind here in the North East, at least this weekend we could continue our fitness and training plans.

Starting on Saturday afternoon with a rather fast trot out from the yard and around the industrial estate - the ground is very muddy everywhere, so we need to stick to the roads for now to get our fitness work in. It gave us just over 4.6 miles which is a good start when Thomas hasn't been able to get out and stretch his legs recently.

Sunday was another great day for us - I'd arranged to have a lesson from my regular instructor, who owns the yard where Thomas is kept. It'd been a long time since we'd had a lesson, and I was really looking forward to working on the things that we'd struggled with on a night in the arena. It was a great lesson! Thomas worked beautifully, and we found a great way to help improve the left side bend that we'd found a lit difficult. 

Unfortunately, although Andrew was watching, we weren't able to get any photos or video, however we are out and about competing this coming weekend - we are very excited to be back out! We'll make sure we post to say how we got on...

Sunday, 20 January 2013

A Snowy Adventure

Yesterday, we showed you lunging, but today we ventured out to have a nice ride in the snow. Thomas loved it, and was lovely and fresh - he felt like he was full of spirit when the cold air hit him!

Here's a photo for you:

As you can see, Thomas is more keen to get going across the fields than posing for the camera!

Saturday, 19 January 2013

So What Snow...?

As most of the UK has seen snow in the last few days, it was disappointing that the BSJA show was cancelled today, however it couldn't be helped...

I was working away in London two days this week, and with snow earlier in the week, it had been difficult to get Thomas out and exercised. Fortunately, our yard has a small indoor arena, great for lungeing. This week Thomas has been lunged by both Andrew and I, and with the snow looking set to stay, we were forced back into the inside to exercise.

We haven't done much lungeing together, but as we need to carry on the road to getting fit, I decided to lunge in the side reins to encourage Thomas to work properly, and from behind. He settled into things well and went very nicely. Here's a short video that Andrew took for me:

We're actually hoping for a little more snow overnight to be able to ride out - sticking firmly to the soft snow to avoid slipping. So maybe tomorrow, we'll have a nice photo of us in the snow :)

Andrew and I also walked our black lab this morning, who loved the snow. We saw some beautiful sights, all very pretty and white. I took this as it looks very pretty, but shows the sky is still full of snow!

Monday, 14 January 2013

Another great day out for Bedlington, Blyth & District!

Sunday 13th January 2013
Centurion EC, Durham

The riding club has been trying really hard over the last year or so to boost member, with now over 100 members, and a good junior section too. With Winter League competitions currently running across Area 2, the Bedlington, Blyth & District enjoyed another successful weekend!

Entering two team to the Grassroots dressage - no riders with BD points were allowed to enter, the club managed to collect points for the league across both.

Bedlington & Blyth Foxy Trotters had 3 members meaning that they had no score to drop coming into the results - but they proved they didn't need it coming 1st overall! Bedlington & Blyth Charlston Chicks also did well, with having 4 members, and came 4th across all the teams entered. To top the day off, a 3 member junior team was also entered, and the Bedlington & Blyth Bosonova Babes came 3rd in their section.

A great day was had by all! Well done to everyone!

Thomas' Performance
With a fantastic result last week, Thomas and I were keen to repeat this performance. We had a very pleasing outing, although not as strong as the previous week, but still very good result being marked by a BD list judge - we scored 63.2% and came 8th overall.

We also took part in some indoor XC training on Saturday for the riding club. It was great fun, having a lesson with 3 other members, and having a go at jumping corners, bounces, brushes, narrows etc - we even jumped a Novice height corner which was a great feeling, even if a little nerve wracking! We've got a short video, taken by Andrew from the sideline, of us coming over a small triple bounce, using a water tray to simulate a ditch.

Next weekend, we've got some show jumping, so we'll be sure to write a report on that too!

Monday, 7 January 2013

A Winning Start to 2013!

It's been a good few weeks since I last posted - that's mainly because throughout December, Thomas and I haven't really done very much. As the winter nights drew in, the countdown for 21st December (winter solstice) was well and truly on, plus with all the rain, it just wasn't practical to be riding on an evening. We kept going with some nice weekend hacks, and did occasionally venture into the arena once a week.

However, with having some time off work in between Christmas and New Year, it was important to get the right start for bringing Thomas back into work... Starting with a couple of SJ classes at a local Riding Club show. This was the first thing Thomas had done in a while and seemed pleased to see somewhere different. We have a couple down in each class, but like I say, we were off, and back on the road toward the 2013 season!

Before Christmas I'd planned my January competitions to make sure I could put in the training and ensure that we do the right competitions - not just because things will run.

It started off with Dressage yesterday (6th January). We couldn't have kicked off 2013 in any better way! Entering into two classes, I made sure I had a couple of practice sessions before, but the hard work really paid off - we came second in the first class (Prelim 1) on a fantastic score of 73.2%. If you'd like to see for yourself, here's a video of the test:

We'd decided to change things in the warm up before the test, so I'm pleased that they paid off. Thomas is easily bored on the flat, so I started my warm up about 2 horses before me - this is around 10-15 minutes before it was my turn. It seems to have worked a treat, as he was still keen and enthusiastic when he entered the arena.

For our second class, Prelim 12, I was a little anxious in case Thomas thought he'd done all the hard work, and wasn't interested in another test, but it seems I was wrong. As we only had about a 20 minute wait, I put a nice warm rug on him, and when the horse before me went in, I started to warm up again. This again proved to work.

We came first on 75.6% - almost 5% ahead of the field. This was our first red rosette together, so I was very proud and pleased with Thomas. Again, there's a video if you'd like to watch:

And here's a nice photo at home with the rosettes - Thomas was already back on the wagon in his warm rug by the time the results came out!

Now that we are back in training and preparation, we hope to have many more posts and updates for you, starting next week, with some Indoor XC training and Team Dressage for our Riding Club.

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