Little flyer.

So we popped along to Aston Le Walls tonight for a wee bit of showjumping. I planned to do the 95 and the 1m but when we got there they were just finishing off the first class and I didnt want to hang around all night so I entered the 90&95. There were hardly anyone there and in the 80 only 2 competitors. 
Anywho, he was super excitable having not been ridden all week plus he had a massage on Tuesday and we’d started him on a competition mix so I had plenty of horse under me! He pinged around the 90 not touching a single pole even when we got in pretty deep to 2 of them- watching back on  the video I don’t know how he managed to get his legs out the way on one of them! 


Second clear round completed! Super pleased. There were only 3 in the class and I left before I heard whether I was 2nd or 3rd(last!!). I decided I couldn’t be bothered hanging around to wait for the last competitor who was faffing around so we withdrew from the 95 and called it a night- he has got a busy day on Sunday so reserving the energy. 

We then rounded off the great evening with fish n chips before watching Love Island!! 

Tomorrow we volunteer at Offchurch at the BE ODE which  should give us a good insight into how the courses are jumping before the husband competes on the Sunday. 

Will no doubt be back tomorrow with some randomness about the volunteering so until then, 

Toodlepip 😘

All Change

Big news! I have finally decided to leave my job. After years of moaning about it and saying how much I want to leave, I finally made the big decision of actually turning my words into actions…well almost! 

I’ve been a PE teacher and HoD for 11 years and it’s safe to say education is not what it was when I started. The continual checking up on us and having to jump through countless hoops to prove you can actually teach is tiresome and has drained what enjoyment I had for teaching. I’m quite sad really as I did once enjoy it and liked nothing better than seeing the kids succeed but unfortuently PE alongside other creative subjects, takes a back seat behind the ‘important’ subjects! Tell that to the NHS who have to fork out millions on health related conditions that can be stopped by being more active! 

So, I had the talk with the husband as to whether we could infact affird for me to leave my job. You see, I don’t mean leave the school for another, I literally mean leave teaching and what comes with that is a huge drop in salary where I’ve worked my ass off in 11 years to earn a decent one. Can we realistically afford for me to start again in a new career? No not really- not without moving house, selling a horse and being a hella lot more economical with stuff. But do I care? Do I buggery! Yes I’ve become accustomed to a certain way of living and having money is a security (not that we had loads but enough to be comfortable with 3 horses to feed) but it most certianky isn’t making me happy – in fact if you think back to one of my first blog posts, it made me ill- well the job that lead to the money!! 

Since being back at work full time, the decision came a lot easier and about 10 days ago I informed the head I would be leaving…I didn’t know when as it was down to when I could get a new job but I was definitely outta there! Despite him saying he understood why, he disappointingly said that the kids come first and I wouldn’t be able to leave until the October half term! Well sorry but I’ve put the kids first for 11 years and the last 3 have been the most depressing of all and doing so nearly killed me, so no, on this occasion the kids do not come first…I do!! And I shall leave when I have a new job which could be in a week, a month of in the new year but I’m certainly not waiting around- who’s to say there’ll be a job for me to go to in October!!

So there you have it, big news, big change and most importantly…big interview on Tuesday!!! Not going to get too excited but I am jumping about just thinking about the possibility of having a job I’ve dreamed of for quite some time in an industry I’ve loved since I was a child…yep…horses!! I shall say no more in case the worst happens and I cock it up but here’s hoping that next week I can tell you that I have a new employer!!! 

Exciting times ahead! 


Keep watching this weekend for updates on how the husband and Chino get on in their 2nd BE event at Offchurch! 

For now, 

Toodle pip 😘

Lessons to be learnt. 

Last weekend we competed in the area 5 HT at Solihull riding club. I was feeling up for it despite the boiling hot weather and my times being slap bang in the middle of the day! 


Chino was feeling good whilst warming up, reactive to the leg and feeling quite supple. He’s still quite stiff on the left rein but he’s improved in the last 2 weeks with the massages and schooling so I was feeling hopeful about the dressage. 

That was until about 1 minute in when I heard the bell…wtf was my immediate thought followed by ‘you blithering idiot you’ve gone wrong!’ Turns out I cantered instead of looped and to make matters worse, it was a brilliant transition which we didn’t quite replicate again!! With the mistake rectified and firmly shoved to the back of my mind we completed the test with no other mistakes…well so I thought until husband informed me I walked at H instead of C! Oh bugger…what had got into me! I went back to the box feeing positive despite my two mistakes- it was the best he’d gone and I was feeling hopeful for a good score and I’d just have to accept the low mark for my mistake at A and the 2 penalties. 

As I had quite a wait for the the SJ I walked the xc course which held no concerns for me with Chino and knew he’d fly round it. Once back I tacked up and went to warmup for the sj. It was in there that he decided that then was a great time to pull out his dressage moves wowing me with some nice medium trot paces- why couldn’t he do that kinda thing in the dressage ring!?! 

He was feeling rather excited to be jumping- think we both feel dressage is just something we’ll have to put up with in the eventing world! Once in the ring and after his mild meltdown at the brush fence on the sideline (?!) off we flew until fence three where I failed to balance him around the corner and he thought there was something far more important in the warmup ring so the front pole fell! After that however, we jumped clear. I think jumping him bigger recently has made him try a little harder so he actually jumped them rather than making out they were too big as he used to do! 

With 4 faults in the bag I knew we’d have to go clear inside the time in the xc, which for Chino means over the too fast time but as I had my new watch I felt confident that we’d nail it. 

I’d planned roughly where half way was and aimed to be there at 2mins 15. He started off a bit sticky and spooky but he kept up a good pace and we were dead on time when we reached half way so I continued at the same pace for the second half. I did feel like I was having to hold him up quite a bit but I figured that as we kept going too fast then we should be fine. That was until 4 jumps from home I realised I had 30 seconds left!!! shit shit shit!! So Chino got his wish and was let loose!!! Omg what an absolute beast he was! In and out the water with barely a splash, didn’t break stride down the drop, galloped to the penultimate fence taking a stride out and then it was a race to the finish with me doing an AP Mcoy and the commentator saying I must be short of time!! Husband said afterwards that he thought I was going to do another round the way I came through the finish!! Lolz!! 


We crossed the line and we had been 4-5 seconds over! God knows how many penalties we would have racked up if I’d have continued at my sedentary pace.

By the end of the day we were both sweaty and knacketed but I couldn’t have asked any more from my gorgeous boy- He gave his all on the hottest day ever!! Before leaving, Husband collected the dressage sheet which put me in a foul mood on seeing the score- 39! A 39 for what I felt was our best test yet. Yes I had got two penalties added so I suppose it was a 37 but we got the same score for our canter as we did at Aston where we hadn’t even managed to keep the canter for the full circle or on the correct leg and yet this time we transitioned brilliantly and maintained it so how that was the same mark I don’t know. I  feel there were some pretty picky marks such as the trot to halt on the centre line was what I would class as very good for a 90 level and yet the comment was – nice and square but wide at the back with a releativly low score!! Come on- trot to halt with all 4 legs square deserves a decent mark! I even smiled all the way which is a first although husband said he thought I was trying to hold in a fart! I did receive the best mark for my riding though which was nice to know I’m doing something right! It just goes to show though how dressage judges can differ so much and how they all look for different things but is really disheartening when you put in so much work to receive the same marks as a poor test as it leaves you wondering what more can you do! And because I was in a strop I then decided I didn’t want pizza from the yummy pizza stand!! Idiot!

I checked the results later and we had in fact come 14th so another top half finish which is good given the many mistakes I had made. A revision of the marks later on in the week meant I finally came 11th, 1 position from qualifying for the national Horse Trials!!! Arghhh! Next year will be our year although by then I’d hope to be doing 100 so perhaps not!! 

So what have I leant: 

  1. Dont forget your test! 
  2. Balance your horse before the corner in the showjumping not out of it when it’s too late. 
  3. Set my stop watch to the lower time limit as it’s easier to slow him down than speed him up. 
  4. Don’t get upset by dressage judges all marking differently despite it being infuriating! 
  5. Always say yes to pizza….Always!! 

Next weekend husband rides Chino in his second BE 90 at Offchurch and the dressage looks an easy one compared to the others so he’s hoping for a good score- as long as he doesn’t beat my lowest!! 

Toodle pip 😘 

Gotta take the rough with the smooth!

I fell off the horse! I can’t even say I got thrown off because I didn’t! I suppose technically I got catapulted up and forward but the long and short of it is ‘I fell off!’

I decided to go to Onley on the Sunday and pop round the 90 and 1m after the success over the last couple of weeks and better my performance from last time. (Page- Practice will lead to perfect…hopefully!)

We warmed up the best we ever have- he was listening to the leg and jumped the jumps practice fences without being a weirdo about them so I was really hopeful for a good round and if I dare admit it, I was hoping for a top 6 finish. 

Well that all went to s**t when we stepped into the ring and Snortty McSnortyson decided that it was a horror house and proceeded to prance and snort about the place. Yes it was windy and there was some pretty awful noises from the wind whipping about but why he thought he had to act like Louie Spence I do not know!! 

Given his ott reactions to the wind it wasn’t a bad round. We had one fence down due to getting in too close and one stop. I’m confused even now as to why the fence was so spooky for so many horses as it was a plain fence with no fillers or anything but the noise he made at it would have made you think there was a troll under it!! 

Having gone round the course once I expected the next round to be a flyer and with only a handful of people in it I was yet again expecting a decent result. 

How stupid that thought was now I look back! In the half hour break between classes Chino had obviously decided that the wind was certainly out to get him and proceeded to spook at anything and everything including the trailer and lorry ramps on the way back to our car after the round! 

Anyhow, we started off fence one not concentrating so the back rail came down, got too close to fence 2 so had that down as well. Fence three popped lovely and reached fence 4,where we had previously stopped, in the perfect stride however that troll must have popped up as he slammed the breaks on and then decided to jump it from a stand still landing in the jump which was an oxer. I hope no one remembers him doing the exact same thing last time we were there!! So by this point I’ve been flung up in the air as I didn’t expect it, land on his neck superman style, Chino continues moving forward and I decide that trying to hold on as I usually do isn’t the best option for not getting injured so I let go and hit the deck! Gutted! 


I was due a fall mind so I can’t complain too much. I’ve watched the video numerous times and I can usually see where I went wrong but I can’t see it this time. I had leg on, was sat up and didn’t jump ahead of him and I still can’t see what caused it so putting it down to the wind…and the trolls!! 

I surprisingly didn’t hurt myself which I think is the first fall where I’ve jumped up and felt fine. However, two days later and I’m limping about with a sore hip which was not even the side I fell on so I guess old age is catching up with me! 

Hoping this weekend isn’t a repeat when we compete at Solihull for the area 5 HT! 

Toodle pip 😘

Hard work pays off!

This weekend I completed by second ode with Chino at Aston Le Walls in the 90. I was looking forward to it and felt that we were fully prepared unlike our last one! 

It was a rather unorthodox arrival as we had to take him straight to the on duty farrier to replace the shoe he had pulled off  yet again! He manages to do something dickheadish 2-3 days before a competition so I’m starting to think he does it on purpose. 

Shoe back on and off we toddle to the dressage warm up which was rammed and resembled the bumper cars ride (or dodgems as they are now referred to!) at the fair. We managed to get loads of transitions in to our warmup mainly due to unplanned emergency stops to avoid getting run down! I hate warm up rings with a passion! 

The dressage test was the same as we had completed 2 or 3 weeks ago at Moreton Morrel where we had received a 44 score! 😳. I was hoping for a better score than that  and amazingly we did! We achieved our lowest score to date with a 35.8!! Now I know it’s not super great but given the left rein canter was a complete mess followed by some pretty shocking cornering in trot, I was over the moon. We even scored a 7.5 for our halt at the end which we had practiced for a while schooling session earlier in the week!


 Received some lovely feedback as well which is really encouraging and set me up for the rest of the day. 


After a little break for a sausage sarnie I went and tacked back up for the showjumping. It was a nice flowing course and my main focus was just to keep the rhythm and not play about with him before the jumps. The warm up ring was a thing of beauty with 6 practice fences and a tonne of space so I was a happy little bunny and feeling very relaxed. This obviously made a huge difference to my mind set as I went in and jumped a clear round! Our first one ever!! Clearly the practice last week at Lyneham paid off. I came out the ring looking like a Cheshire Cat…or perhaps the joker from batman given my smiling face is pretty scary!! 


The final bit up next and I can’t believe I’m saying it but the favourite bit of eventing! Just last year I used to feel petrified doing xc. The thought of galloping across the country and jumping solid fences would make me run for the adult nappies!! Yet now I’m all ‘bring it on!’ In fact, I brought it on a bit too much as we ended up getting 0.4 too fast time penalties! I don’t have a watch so I went out with the intention of sticking at the same pace as our last event where I nailed the time. Unfortunately I got a carried away and on one stretch I pushed him on a bit much. As I came out of the penultimate jump I heard on the tannoy something about 4 minutes so assumed it must have been me so I sat back and slowly made our way to the last fence. I was slightly gutted to find out from the husband after jumping a perfect clear round around our most testing track yet, that we were 1 second too fast!! Arghhh. 


I checked the results later that afternoon to find that we had finished in 16th place in a huge section of 40!! I was ecstatic and I really feel that our hard work is starting to show. I stupidly then compared my score with other sections and found that had I been in 1 of the other 4 sections I would have finished higher up the table and in fact placed in 3 of them! So annoying but that’s the nature of the game and if I want to challenge for top ten places then I need to get our dressage scores down. 

I’ve now got two weeks until Area 5 HT at Solihul so schooling will be all focussed around suppleness and getting him off my leg on the left rein as well as strengthening his canter so we don’t lose it again. I may pop over to Onley on a Sunday to do a couple of sj classes just to keep up the momentum we now have and hopefully improve on our last visit. 

If anyone has any schooling tips for suppleness and how to get him to relax through his back please let me know as he’s getting a bit bored of circles and transitions! 

Until next time,

Toodle pip 😘

Archie

As Archie is still a baby (he officially turned 2 a week ago!), I don’t write much about him. He is however, getting trained regularly in ground manners and will be attending his first show this coming weekend for an in hand youngstock showing class. This should be hilarious on a number of counts firstly the fact I’ve got to dress like a middle aged women…beige trousers…really!!! Someone at work just suggested M&S and I scoffed at them! The second hilarity will probably come when I have to trot him up for the judge! I can barely keep up with his normal trot let alone when we step it up for the showy part! In practice I’ve been wearing my running trainers and I can just barely keep my legs in front of me so how I’ll cope wearing my paddock boots with restrictivr front zip is anyone’s guess. And I’m not going to worry about the biting and pawing he does when he gets bored- which is after about 10seconds. How you train this out of a horse I do not know as he does it for attention but to reprimand him would be to give him what he wants but to ignore him looks like he has no manners. any ideas would be greatly appreciated! That said my nearly 6 yr old has stopped all of this so perhaps he’ll grow out of it. 

Talking about growing…he’s standing at 16.1ish already at only 2! Everyone keeps saying how big he is for his age so I’m hoping to god he’s a quick grower and will reach full height soon! 

Anywho, I didn’t think we would actually get to the show as he was very poorly last Wednesday with colic. He started in the morning at about half tenish just as I was about to head home.  He was pawing at the ground and I assumed he was just being his  usual self but he was really going for it like I do when the Bourbon biscuits are opened! He was sweating profusely and so I pulled him out the stable and sponged him off only for him to try and roll. 

I immediately get on the phone and call the vet out but within 30 minutes he’s collapsed on the floor flat out. There’s nothing worse than knowing they’re in pain but being unable to do anything about it. 😥

Anywho, the vet came and pumped him with drugs in the hope he’d perk up within 30 mins but nothing! He remained on the floor having the occasional spasm. She checked for any blockages or twists but nothing could be felt, he had three lots of blood taken and then a drip was put into him at which point he decided that was a good time to sit up and roll over bending the canular he had sewn into his neck so we had to redo that. My arms then got a workout holding the bag of fluid up…I was going to start whinging about my arms aching but thought it prob not the best time when my horse was lying flat out in pain on the ground! 

After nearly 2 hours he then stood up with a little convincing so she was able to sedate and tube him to check for any problems in his airways. This proved to be somewhat difficult as she says he has tiny nostrils so the tube wouldn’t go down easily! Thank god something about him is small although now I know he’s fine I think his pain threshold is smaller than his bloody nostrils!! 

The vet was wonderful but was really at a loss as to why he was in so much pain and wasn’t responding to the meds, all his vitals were ok, nothing obvious, and the other vet she called couldn’t offer any ideas either so my dad is called and we load him up on the trailer to take him to the vets for a colic work up. 

The journey should have taken about an hour as it was a different vet we had to go to however, google maps decided it would take us on a detour taking us 20 minutes past where we needed to be to a random village near Cheltenham!! How that happened I’ll never know but we eventually got there in one piece and we settled him into his stable. 

After numerous tests all results came back normal although his worn count was high! I panicked thinking oh my god there’re going to think I don’t look after my horses etc etc but I was assured that even the best yards have horses with worm problems. He had been wormed consistently since we had him but it would appear we need to change the wormer for him as it’s not working despite it being fine for the other two. 

He had a lovely 2 night stay at the vets prompting me to think he thought it was a ‘Buy one get one free’ deal after Ara spent some time there the week before!! The vets still find it a mystery as to why his colic was so bad with the only possible thought is that he’s a bit of a drama queen! Oh joy of joys, like having one isn’t bad enough with Ara, I’ve now got another one! 

What it did make me realise though is that I need to get my arse in gear and get worm counts down each year or however often they are needed. I had intended to take samples in from the other two when I collected Arch’ and had bagged it up in the classy Tesco bags I keep laying around for such jobs and hung it above the wheel barrow so it was in eyesight! I mean how the hell did I forget it when I’d walked face first into the shit bags twice but I did! 

The Vet’s coming out on Wednesday to remove staples from Aras leg so ill try and bag up some more for them to take and test perhaps in some Sainsbury’s bags this time just to mix it up a bit- plus bright orange may stick out more! 

So Archie is back, box rested for a little while which is handy with Ara being on box rest as well. Fingers crossed nothing happens to Chino and he needs to be in otherwise we’re totalled fooked given we currently only have 2 stables. The other is on the list (see earlier posts for ‘the list!!!’) ready to be built.

I’ll continue practicing on in hand leading and standing this week and report back on how it went after next weekend. 

For now, 

Toodle pip 😘