Well that was a challenge!!

Last weekend I headed further afield to Twesledown for the 3rd or 4th leg of the AT classics. I’d entered the 90 and was super happy to see I was on late afternoon so no super early morning for me- for a horsey person you’d think I’d be ok for early mornings but you’d be wrong and anything earlier than 5.30 makes me act like a witch!

I’d already seen a video of the course on the fb page and it looked challenging but on a par with a couple of others I’d competed. And then I walked it!! For me it was he most challenging 90 I’d done with some lines you had to decide on prior to riding it and some beefy fences. Size doesn’t bother me too much with Chino but he has the attention span of Dory and I’m not always clear with my messages so it could have been a recipe for disaster! 

Anywho, the dressage came and went with no issues. In fact it was the best we had done on quite undulating ground and despite the score being quite high, when I compared to the rest over the two days all tests appeared to be marked a lot higher than you would normally see so I felt pleased with my 36.5. 

After a nice rest we headed to the sj where we were near the last few to go. He popped the warmup fences brilliantly and I felt like we had it and we’re going to nail the round! 

Turns out I thought too soon and we got as far as fence one when Chino decided that it was just too much and thought it easier to just demolish his way through it and not even attempt to jump! T**t!! Now as much as we all like to stay calm in these situations I did get really mad with him as there was just no reason for it other than him being a tit! Second time to it and no bother and all the way round he didn’t put a foot wrong until the last fence when we knocked it so 8 faults in the bag. I came out annoyed which husband couldn’t understand and all I got was ‘but he’s a baby!!’ No, he’s six and been competing for 2 years, that behaviour is not a baby mistake so don’t make excuses!!

 I went with the intention of being competitive and feeling we had a chance and it all went Pete Tong. I do sometimes think eventing probably isn’t the thing for me as I can’t stand getting things wrong and  let’s face it- how often do all 3 phases come together at the right time?! For me never it would appear! 

To make matters worse, at this point I didn’t know my dr score and I was convinced I’d heard the commentator say I’d scored 46.5 so I was seriously p’d off and questioning what I was doing so wrong. I was then umming and ahhing over whether to take him xc and save him for this weekend until husband came back and told me to stop trying to listen to the commentators as I was wrong! 

With Chino then saddled back up with headed to xc where we had over 45 min wait due to course hold ups and a late start! It was then my turn…countdown near the end, we entered the box and off we went at a rate of knots! We flew over the first 5 easy peasy and then we got to what should have been a simple log on a mound however, Chino had other ideas! Back to his Dory moment, despite a flick of the whip down the shoulder to say wake up, looking at everything but the fence and by the time he then saw it it was too late and our first ever 20 penalties were added! After a sharp slap on the buttocks he proceeded to leap not just the log but the whole damn mound!!! It literally felt like the ground had disappeared from under us we were air bound for that long! 

After that little mishap we flew round, water combination, log to drop, step to tight turn and skinny, another water and finally a tricky line combination at the bottom of a hill which had caused a few issues for others. We were stopped on course at this point and had to wait a bit and I have to say, starting on a run down hill to a decent sized  log pile isn’t a pleasurable feeing!! 

He really was a superstar although I seriously, seriously need to get a handle on my timings- we were one second within the time limit before we incurred too fast penalties and we had the stop which technically should have pushed us close if not over the time limit so I clearly have no idea how fast I’m travelling! 
Back at the car we get a quick pack away given it was nearly 7pm and we had a near 2 hour journey home. I was feeling a little better about the whole day in that I would have rather incurred the xc faults in that day after having a mare in the sj as opposed to being on a good score going into the xc and then screwing up. 

Half way home I checked the results and I’d come 14th!!!! Turns out the sj and xc had caused problems for as many in my section as it had in the others over both days. It’s not often you finish with nearly 65 penalties and come home with that position! That said I do appear to be stuck on 14th position at the mo and would very much like to move up even if it’s one place!! 

Perhaps this weekend at Solihull will be our chance although I am starting to brick it as I entered the 100!! In my moment of invinsibility I had figured the 100 wasn’t much different to 90 and so why not give it a go! Now I’m not so sure and I think I’m gonna need more than brace pants…adult nappies perhaps!!

I’m sure my next update will be full of the woes of Solihull so look out for the next one!! 

For now, toodle pip 😘

Equestrian gifts and cards

For any of you out there who find it difficult to find a card for your horsey loved ones and friends, I’ve just found a great site… Www.blueberyl.co.uk 

Interesting name but some funny cards. 

Some other sites which sell some cute cards are: GallopguruAlexclarkart and  Horse-cards. Gallop guru do some gorgeous horsey things and gifts. Definitely worth a look. 

If anyone knows of some other sites then it would be great to know for future reference!!

Enjoy perusing the sites! 😘🐴❤️

No rest for the wicked!!

It’s been a while but I’ve been super busy with horses, work, applying for new jobs and watching love island!! 

Brief update on our sj schooling last weekend at Cherwell. Not the best but not the worst…husband rode Ara who went well having not been jumped for a few months due to injury. Chino was not bad, a bit lazy and we just couldn’t get our strides correct with fences coming down left right and centre. Husband kept giving ‘advice’ which wasn’t helping much and I ended up in a strop and calling it a day. 

On the job front, I didn’t get the one I applied for. I got an interview which went super well and given it was my first interview out of teaching I was surprised how easy I found it…compared to teaching that is…perhaps because I was enthusiastic about this one. Turns out the role went to an internal candidate so I don’t feel to bad and they’ve recommended that I apply for another role they have advertised so all positive and I can’t be too disheartened.  

Back to horses and Archie was saddled up for the first time last weekend and was a super duper little legend. Never flinched once even when I hung the stirrups down on the second day. Walked and trotted around with not a care in the world. Can’t express how much I’m looking forward to riding this special boy. ❤️

Sunday I spent the afternoon pretending to be a ghost buster with the spray pack on my back killing the weeds in our soon to be schooling field. Took forever and left me with filthy legs covered in blue dye but the weeds are now dead – they should be with the amount of weed killer I used…for a small 20x40m area I used enough to kill off the Forest of Dean!! Not quite a ghost buster but a weed buster will do! 

So that pretty much sums up last weekend. I’ll be back later with a weekend update of my shenanigans at Twesledone HT. 

Until then, 

Toodle pip 😘

Product review (2)

Ice Boots

As mentioned before, I am partial to Premier Equine products so much so that I sometimes feel I may be a walking advert!

A while ago now, I invested in some cold water/ice boots mainly due to Chino being a numpty and charging around the hard fields and then getting a popped splint. Rather than bending down for 10-15 mins 3 times a day to hose, I just whacked on the boots. Now I didn’t have any ice so they were just thrown in a bucket of cold water over night and kept in there until I no longer needed them. 

Talk about time saving! It’s amazing how much you can get done in 10 minutes. Not only are there extremely handy for injuries but I put them on after schooling and events – usually xc. We all know how important it is to look after our horses legs so having these to put in and cook them off immediately is fantastic. The only problem is they do need to be in water/ice for 12 hours before use but if you use them all the time like I tend to then they are pretty much always in water. 

Pomade Oil by Ringcraft Equestrian

This was a product which came with last months ‘My Horse Box’ and its become a staple in my show bag. 

To be honest I havent a clue when it comes to turning out an immaculate horse for shows. As long as there’s no mud and their tail and mane is brushed then I’m happy! Obviously this all had to change with eventing and so my show game had to be stepped up. This little bottle of thick oil, for anyone who had never experienced the delightful stuff, makes my boy’s mane and tail super shiny without slippage! Once he’s all plaited up a dab a bit of this over the plaits and the loose bits of hair lie flat and his little plaited bobbles are shiny shiny without the grease.  Love it! This shall be forever used. 

Horse feed: 

Baileys Number 4 – Top line conditioning cubes

Dengie – Alfa A oil

I’ve never fully bought into the idea that certain feed brands are better than others until I tried this. I’ve always used Heygates mix and conditioning cubes along with their chaff and occasional the competition mix in the peak season along with Dengie Alfa-A oil. 

Chino and Archie always look well on it and have a beautiful coat so I tried swapping to normal Dengie Alfa-A. Within a week I noticed the difference in the horses coats as they had lost their shine and appeared to be a bit more greasy. I could only put it down to the swap from Alfa oil so I immediately went back out and bought it back in. It may cost a couple of pounds more but when their coat looks and feels so good then it’s worth the money. 

The second feed change has been with Ara. As a thoroughbred he’s a nightmare to keep weight on him. He has a constant supply of grass or hay and hayalge as well as 2 feeds a day and yet he still looks rough. His coat is dull and he has zero top line, so we looked at trying a different feed to see if it would make a difference. I am literally amazed at how great he looks since changing to Baileys Number 4. No word of a lie, his coat is better, he’s filled out and he actually looks happier in himself. It may cost double to price but it’s more than worth it and I will look to move the others into it eventually. 

 A 3 hour wait! 

I toodled off to Cherwell Comp’ centre today  for a spot of show jumping. We worked out the timings by the entry numbers  posted on book of the face so arrived about 11.45 thinking I’d have enough time to enter and watch a few. Turns out I had enough time to watch an entire season of game of thrones!! They were still on the first class when we arrived with about 6 still to go and I wanted to do class 4! 

Feeling optimistic I entered anyway hoping they’d try and catch up a bit but by 12.15 and class 2 had still not started I took the decision to withdraw. It wasn’t fair to let Chino stand in a trailer for 3 hours in the heat, plus we have loads of work to do down at the stables and I thought we could utilise our time better by heading home. 

On the plus side, the venue are hiring the arena with full course of jumps tomorrow so rather than get my money back I decided to hire it tomorrow for an hour and we’ll take both Chino and Ara. At least then we get to pop the jumps and have a nice arena to school in given our fields are rock hard and lumpy so we are restricted to hacking again at the mo which is no good when you’re preparing for ode’s each month! 

Hopefully I’ll have some inane chattering to share tomorrow based on our schooling session so until then, 

Toodle pip 😘

Husband is in the lead! 

As someone who is extremely competitive, it was a rather bitter pill to swallow yesterday when the husband came home with the lowest score yet with Chino in their second BE 90 event. 

I previously held the lowest score with 36.2 which in the grand scheme of things is still a pretty high score- darn that dressage! Anywho, after having not ridden Chino for nearly 3 months he then goes and pops out a 35 finishing on his dressage score! Again, not exactly a proud dr score but it still puts him ahead of me!! I need to pull something special out the bag next weekend at Tweseldown to get back to number 1 spot. 

It was a pretty early start, 5am down at the stables. Not great for the husband as I’m tired and hungry so not the best combination! We arrive at Offchurch with quite some time to spare before his dressage…in fact we end up with more time than expected due to my imbecilic lack of reading details on a text message and realising the dressage was nearer 9 than 8.30! Oops- it did mean I had time to munch down on a sausage bap though! 

Now as mentioned, Husband hadn’t ridden Chino for a long time so I think he was surprised how spritely he was in the dr warmup. I think the comment was ‘what have you done to my horse!’ He had to take the spurs off as he was bucking into canter!! 

The test didn’t go to badly I don’t think- not sure how he manages to do better tests than me when I do all the blooming schooling! He was still a little tense and stiff on left rein but husband commented on how much sharper he was to the leg so that’s a brucie for me.

The showjumping course looked easy enough, lots of fillers but Chino doesn’t look at spooky stuff and it was quite small. My concern was that the husband would faff on with him a bit instead of just letting him jump. First jump was a hands over eyes moment as he pushed him into it so he got quite close by managed to pick up and clear the rest of the course for a clear round. Husband was shocked at how much he’s improved in his jumping so again, super happy as it’s a back handed compliment for me!! 

Finally the xc – Chinos favourite! I headed off to the middle so I could catch a number of the jumps and waited for him to race along. We’ll race was a little ott perhaps especially when I saw him rolling steadily to fence 5! Come on husband- he has got gears!! 

He did pop him up a gear or two in the  second half but pretty much stalled at the water where he got far to close to the jump, cat kept it, nearly unseated husband and then stopped moving by the water before tentatively walking through it!!! Donut! 

Anywho, they finished off the round and came home clear with 2 seconds to spare! 😵. Husband then informed me that Chino had been a right little s**t in the start box rearing and napping so he missed starting the watch on the ten second countdown so he pretty much had to guess how much time he had left! A pretty good guess I would say! 

Once back at box and with Chino plastered in fly repellent as the horse flies were on one, we went to check the results but as he was one of the first to go we figured we’d be hanging around for far too long so decided to head home. 

For the rest of the afternoon husband constantly kept checking the bdwp website for the interim results but by 5ish we got the final result and he’d come 12th! Again, the highest placing for Chino yet, so yes he’d beaten me again! Putting my competitive feelings aside, I was super pleased bd it’s great to see the progress he’s making. Yes he’s dipped in some areas but really moved up in others so hopefully one day it’ll all fall into place. 

The plan for this week is to keep the schooling to a minimum to avoid him getting stiff. He’ll be hacked and lunged and then weather dependent we may pop over to Cherwell on Saturday for some SJ. 

If anyone has any ideas on how to keep Chino supple and relaxed in his back then please let me know as I’m short of ideas right now! 

Until next time, toodle pip 😘 

Volunteering – free education! 

This weekend saw us spend most of our time at Offchurch, Bury for the BE event. On Saturday we offered our services as fence judges so that was an early start arriving at 7.45am where I proceeded to fill my face with pastries and coffee! After a debrief we headed off to our fence which was a skinny corner combination! Great, one of those is bad enough let alone all three. After finding an ideal place to be able to see the fences at the correct angle we settle down ready to start. 

It’s actually a great learning opportunity especially at fences like these and you get a great insight into how to ride difficult lines and the outcome of them. It was very obvious who were the pro’s as they balanced and steadied their horses and stuck to a definite line from a-c whereas those that weren’t perhaps as seasoned, didn’t really change the pace of their horses and then came unstuck by the second part and gained faults.

We did cause a little bit of conflict when there was a clear run out where the horse jumped up and out to the side taking out the flag with its feet not even going over the jump so there was no way it’s shoulders etc passed through the flags. We called it through but then next fence judge claimed they did pass through and we weren’t in a position to see it and they were!! Anywho long story short the head guy came up to speak to us and ask how sure we were (200% sure!) and did let us know that another rider who is well known in top circles, had also confirmed our decision as he was stood right next to the fence and had said there was no way it jumped it! It was slightly relieving to know that someone else agreed with us! 

As the day progressed, I continued to eat my way through a small mini mart and wondered why I had a stomach pain by 5pm! By late afternoon we were finally onto the 90’s but I figured we were going to be finishing too late to ride the horses when we got back so the husband was going to be doing his dressage test on Sunday with no practice time!! 

What was pretty shocking, especially during the 90’s, was how many took the wrong course and completely missed out a fence, cutting through onto the 80 route and jumping out fence. Some even took the most bizarre line to get to the 90 jump, literally jumping at the most acute angle ever seen! I mean, we’ve all taken the wrong course at times but I don’t honestly know how you would go wrong here if you had walked the course and if you did go wrong, how you wouldn’t realise when coming through and not seeing a clear line to the 90! Some did realise and doubled back but still!! Another lesson learnt- always walk the course!! 

Another insight was knowing how the course was running- what fences were causing trouble and what the time was like, so husband had a clear game plan for the following day into time intervals around the course and where to really keep the leg on, not that Chino ever really looks at anything. 

The day finished at half 7- nearly 12 hours from when we arrived but I’d had the pleasure yet again of seeing Oliver Townend (turning into a proper little fan!!) and Bill Levett ride around on about a dozen horses each!! 

We arrived home by half 8 knowing we would be back at the Bury in less than 12 hours so alarms set early (half 4!) and a good nights sleep ready for the next day of competition! 

Next blog page: Competition Day! 

For now, 

Toodle Pip 😘