Sam- Getting back on track
Hey everyone! Hope everyone’s had a good month and as January is over, should be well underway with getting their horses back up to fitness ready for the 2016 competition season! I’ve done quite a bit this month just getting the horses out and about jumping some courses and competing at local unaffiliated shows ready for BSJA. I’m very pleased with how my horses have behaved coming back from their winter holidays and they’ve gotten straight back to where I left them in their training.
Ollie hasn’t had much of a break this winter as I wanted to keep him ticking over through the winter so we didn’t loose any confidence, however its been mostly flatwork and pole work, with our weekly Wednesday lessons to keep him jumping. He has come out of winter looking awesome, and his flatwork has come on leaps and bounds! We’ve definitely had our ups and downs but I’m really hoping this could be a good season for us especially in the BSJA field. I’m hoping that I can try a couple of hunter trial shows this year and just take him over a much smaller height to get him bolder and seeing more different type fences.
Ruby has had time off over Christmas with the bad weather and me really wanting to get Ollie right for 2016. She has done her last BSJA and we left her on her finishing 2nd place at the Area Qualifiers in Moor Farm. She is now back in full work and is jumping fabulously, jumping her first 1.15m jump in training the other day! She is such a bold horse and very forgiving when I get her into a jump wrong and not much fazes her under the jump! She is a super mare and I’m really looking forward to our first full season together!
Chester is back in work now, however with the weather I’m not able to ride him every day but he doesn’t mind at all! He’s definitely enjoyed his year off and has come back really keen! I loose jumped him the other day and its safe to say I’m quite excited and nervous to get back into his jumping because his back end was up in the sky! Can’t say he’s not careful I suppose! Sticky jodhpurs needed!
We had our first show of the year in January with my riding club Towy Valley. I took Ollie to the show and done the 85cm and 95cm to get him going. He was absolutely fabulous and won the 85cm with his jump off being four seconds faster than second place! He then got a little quick in the 95cm and had one pole down! But what a way to start off the year! So much more confidence than last year and considering I could barely get him round a course without tensing or stopping, this was a massive achievement for both of us!
Then I took ruby for a BSJA training session with Paul Craigo and Area 35 which she was absolutely fab in and took it all in her stride.
We went to Beacons the next day where I took Ollie to their Express Showjumping Show, which Ollie was also fab in, we had a few blips, which are nothing compared to the blips we had last year! He had 4 faults in the 90cm, which I then jumped him HC in and he had a clear round, typical! Then we had a very unlucky stop in the 1m as it was a sharp turn and we didn’t keep the canter in front of the leg around the turn which meant we didn’t have enough impulsion when we got to the jump. But other than that I was mega impressed with our improvements on last year, and it was only our first two shows! Lots to improve but lots of improvements already made! 🙂
I really enjoyed this months exercise from Tim Page! It was very easy to set up and rode really smoothly. I tried them as poles first to find my way and make sure the striding I set up was correct, and to just get Ollie relaxed and forward throughout. The exercise really helped me with Ollie landing on the correct lead, which will help me with riding him through courses as he should land on the right leg and this will help our fluency through courses. I found that even when we lost our rhythm on between jumps, the one stride helped lift the canter of the floor and putting us back in the springy canter you need for showjumping.
The more that Ollie landed on the right leg, in turn improved our circles on the right rein, we had more inside bend and he didn’t tend to fall in through the shoulder as much. This meant our turns were better and he was more around my inside leg which meant I had much more time to look for a good line and get a better shot to the next jump.
After using the exercise, I found Ollie was very responsive after a jump and he would come back to me, and I also had a lot more control going down a distance. He has a big stride and covers a lot of ground, this helped me because when he landed I could get him back and prepare his canter for the next jump. I will definitely use this exercise more and hopefully I can put the jumps a little higher and still keep the accuracy.
Hope you all had a fab January and have a even better February!