Grace: Where has the Month gone!
Wow, it sure got cold within the space of a month! Skip has been clipped and swapped into a cosier rug and I have had to dig out the welly warmers and an abundance of gloves!! However we are super lucky to have an indoor school so there is just no stopping us really!
Skip is coming along nicely with his ridden work, as he is still very green in his ridden career we work away on little things like not allowing his hind quarters to drift when riding straight lines, establishing a balanced and steady rhythm and mainly just keeping Skip focused, he is very easily distracted! I like to chop and change what we do to prevent Skip getting bored, we have so much beautiful hacking available to us, miles and miles of old railway line, through forests and around lots of quiet roads and tracks. So we try to hack twice a week if the weather allows and the other days are spent schooling or jumping either in the school or the field. Skip’s favourite – the stubble field! He will cheekily meander off the
track and edge ever closer and closer to the field, he knows exactly where it is and what fun he gets to have when we are in there!
I try to get a lesson once a week too, having someone on the ground to encourage and keep you right is invaluable!
We haven’t been out doing too much competing this month, but we had a good run at the first of our local club’s winter leagues where we picked up third place in a huge class! I was really pleased with how Skip went that morning, so ended on a content note and headed home after riding in just the one class.
I was also set my first exercise by Tim which was a figure 8. This was a new way of jumping practice to both myself and to Skip. The exercise consisted of 7 jumps set out across two 15m circles. We hired some time in a local facility and warmed up as per our instructions and slowly started piecing together jumping the jumps. For a big horse who’s not yet the most supple or skilled, Skip really struggled with making the turns to the next fence in the sequence, I really had to concentrate to ride to get the correct line and stride. The exercise should ideally ride as if you are cantering a 15m circle and the jumps should just fall into place, but it just didn’t seem to flow that simply for us! It took a lot of concentration on my behalf and a lot of outside leg to stop (or at least try and stop) my cheeky pony from bulging off of the circle!! This exercise may be perfect for helping with our stride patterns and straightness, but I will not miss out the fact that we both found it incredibly difficult! It was seriously hard work and I totally under estimated the exercise! Watching videos of Tim’s horse just popping the exercise with ease and so gracefully…my videos don’t quite play back with anything like the same grace!
Check out my YouTube video
In other news, we picked up our first bag of Honeychop chaff! So many to choose from – I would love to let Skip pick which was his favourite, but he is a hungry-horris and I know he would just devour them all and I would never know which he liked best!! I have chosen to go with Calm and Shine. I would like to thank Tracy of Deeside animal feeds for stocking the Honeychop for me. This month’s photos were kindly taken by Stephen Hammond photography.
Grace and Skip x