Sam: All About Ollie
This month I have been trying to get out and about, dodging the weather and still keeping the horses fit and exercised throughout winter. We’ve been working on technique through jumping with Jonathan Pett in our weekly training sessions at Pibwlyrd College in Camarthen. Here we do exercises like grids and distances and just help improve the technique of the horses over a fence. Ruby hasn’t been to training for a couple of weeks as I have been focusing my training sessions on Ollie ready for the season next year which I hope to have a lot of fun showjumping. I’ve started doing some dressage on ruby over the winter to improve her flatwork which will hopefully in turn help our jumping.
I took Ruby up to Beacons Equestrian this month for their arena eventing, which we haven’t done in a while, so I thought it would be a bit of fun for her. We did the 80cm and the 90cm, she jumped clear in the 80cm apart from a skinny asking a big question for a green horse, causing an issue which resulted in a stop and four faults. I then think the skinny fence issue made Ruby loose her confidence for the 90cm, as we had a few stops at two of the skinnies, but she jumped every other fence brilliantly. I also have my first pony back for the winter, so I took him down to beacons for our first show together in over two years. He was on top form getting 4 faults in the 70cm, and as he is unfit I left it on a good note and finished him after the first class. I am hoping to get him back out and about competing again through the winter.
Ollie hasn’t been to a show this month as the weather has been so bad, and I didn’t fancy taking him to the arena eventing and knocking his confidence. I have been working on Ollie in training, we have done a few exercises with poles a couple of strides away before and after a fence, this helps me learn to ride him throughout the jump and not just up to the fence to maintain the rhythm before, over and after the jump.
I have visited Dave from Williams Pet Stores in Gowerton this week, to arrange to get my Honeychop bags. I also have vouchers if anyone wants 50p of a bag, and I have limited free bags to give out and leaflets if you wish to give Honeychop a try or want to know more about the different chaffs.
I have started work on my portfolio for my PTT and am hoping to do my exam the beginning of next year. The portfolio is very long so should keep me busy throughout the winter evenings and I can’t wait for next year to give the exam a go. I have been teaching my mum and aunty on weekends riding to gain experience and get used to making my voice travel.
Tim’s Tip this month was four jumps on a serpentine, as my school is slightly to short for four I used three jumps, same principle just not as many.
The first time I did the exercise I kept the three jumps as poles on the floor and then raised them to small cross-poles once I’d done it once or twice of each rein. I used the cross-poles first to help him get the idea of the exercise and keep him going straight over the fence, especially the middle one as he got a little confused which way we were going after fences, so cross-poles helped him stay straighter giving us a better turn to the next fence which gave me more time to correct him.
Off the right rein Ollie was better at the start, but over the middle jump he kept landing on the wrong leg which then meant we had to do a flying change or trot to canter, this then broke the rhythm and he would fall in on the turn to the next jump. When we had gotten better at the exercise he was more likely to land on the correct leg when landing right, this meant the serpentine was a lot smoother and we stayed in our rhythm more.
Off the left rein, Ollie tended to again land on the wrong leg, this time after the first jump. This was harder for me as it meant we started off in a bad rhythm. I found this exercise really did help with me looking up for my next jump and planning my turn, the more I done the exercise the more he landed on the correct leg. This will help me in my courses as I will use my corners and plan my turns more. It also shows me that he is weakest on the right rein and tends to land on the left lead, which is something I can work on.
We have also been working on our newest Honeychop exercises which encourages bending around your leg, keeping your chin up and looking for your next fence, and keeping the rhythm and balance around corners towards jumps. Don’t forget to pick up a free copy of Welsh Rider magazine to find out what the exercise was and how we got on with it!
I still cant quite believe I was given the opportunity to write these blogs and have them put on a website and get a monthly write ups in the Welsh Rider Magazine. I wear my Honeychop branded clothing with pride and take them to every show I go to.