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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!

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