It’s definitely winter.
Storm Abigail was swiftly followed by Storm Barney!! Boy we have had some weather over the last wee while, Skip has spent the first couple of weeks in his stable for the winter – that scares me! The snow has also been threatening, we’ve had a few coverings but thankfully each time it has only lasted a few days.
Skip has been on a total roll this month, we have been training hard and boy is it paying off, we headed off to our local competition venue to take the win in the British Showjumping Club 80cm and we took 2nd place in our warm up round. I was delighted, we had a couple of questionable runs since Blair in September, where I felt that Skip just wasn’t himself, it knocked my confidence a little, but after a further two successful runs, I am confident that he is back to his normal cheeky self! He does love his jumping! I can feel the improvements from Tim’s exercises already, it’s amazing. I am going to try and ride through one of Tim’s exercises a week.
This month we also played with some trailer training, I am planning to get some lessons and sit my trailer test so that Skip and I have a little more freedom and don’t have to always beg and borrow to get out and about places! It was interesting, as I have mentioned in a previous blog, Skip isn’t the most confident loader. I think he genuinely is a bit scared of small spaces, so we take everything really slowly and I try to make the trailer as positive a place to be as possible – there is lots of treats involved! We’re getting there. I don’t want to rush and frighten him, but we do seem to be heading in the right general direction, I’ll keep you updated on our progress! If anyone has any tips…do share them with me!
So when I read this exercise, I liked the sound of it! But saying that, I knew it was going to be just as challenging as the first one was! I set to work straight away. Our indoor school is probably only just big enough for the exercise, so I think I was lucky there. But I would definitely have been more comfortable riding in a bigger one, maybe I could try again somewhere else, another day. I almost expected Skip to find the exercise a bit more challenging than he actually did! I started off by jumping fence 1 of the sequence a few times to get warmed up, and then pieced a couple together. I pieced fences 1 and 3 and 2 and 4 together so that I still had to think about turning and riding straight into my fence, but the turn wasn’t so sharp and I had a bit more time to prepare Skip in between jumps. Once I felt that he was listening and moving forward off my leg, I decided to get going with the full exercise. The first few times we tried it, we had dodgy strides upon entry to a couple of the fences, we weren’t getting a straight approach each time, I was getting left behind and it just generally must have looked a bit messy! So I worked on getting a little more collection in my canter, which is something both Skip and I find very hard to get together. I applied my inside leg for the turn and outside leg to stop him from bulging away off to the side, and we got it. It felt good. I rode the serpentine a few times until I was happy with what we had achieved. Perhaps when I try again another day, we can have the jumps a bit higher too, make the boy work even harder! But on this occasion – I felt that Skip had worked hard enough for the day …and I was sweating buckets too!
Until next month…
Although the year is drawing to a close, our adventures are not! Next up we have our local club’s Christmas show – where we will be having a jump and I will be awarding bags of Honeychop to those who place in 1st or 2nd! We are also booked in for some training with up and coming eventer Daniel Scott. Come back next month and find out how we got on!