The January Blues

With the dreadful weather we’ve all been having,  going to a show in the pouring rain and howling wind it has been  hard to find the motivation to go anywhere.

But we did make it to Rodbaston college showjumping show and I was hoping for improvements but it was feeling like ages since we had last been to a show and I was feeling rusty.

After an exuberant warm up in which corky was rushing fences, throwing his head up and tanking off on landing it wasn’t feeling like a good start.
We jumped the novice (2’6) which corky did rather politely given his behavior in the warm up. We ended up with just one fence down but we were placed as we had a fast time ( 2nd fastest fourfaulter)

I was feeling a bit more confident so I entered the next class. This did not go well !!! We had two stops and we were eliminated. How disappointing !

The following day I booked corky in with the equine dentist and booked us both in for a jumping lesson which I felt was overdue.

I think Determined would’ve been an apt description of me that day !!!

2016-01-10 10 42 44The lesson went well we jumped in a nice rhythm some of the time and tanked off at high speed at other times.
My instructor Abbie Griffin was very helpful in pointing out a number of improvements we needed to make some of which were simple but easily forgotten when competing practice makes perfect .
Again corky was holding on to the left rein and tanking off.
I hoped the dentist would confirm if he was in need of some work being done or it was  just ‘winter madness’

By the end of the lesson I was feeling less rusty and more determined and corky was definitely jumping better.
The lesson  did us both the world of good so now armed with a new bit and a visit from the dentist I feel ready for the next show.

( BTW Corkys dentist Matt Carter couldn’t see much of anything to account for his behavior – so winter madness it is then.
cmon hurry up spring ( oops then it will be spring grass)


January’s exercise-I won’t lie to you I found this very hard to do.

In my opinion you need a large area to do this exercise so I hired Hilton arena for this, unfortunately it put pressure on me  to practice and perfect the exercise in the available one hour time slot I’d booked.

I started with poles on the floor and did the exercise in walk as I’d been instructed to do so so as to plan the turns etc then progressed to trot which wouldn’t be too difficult if your horse is attentive at all times.

Unfortunately for me my horse was a bit ‘fresh and just wanted to jump the trot poles and go !!

So I gave it a go in canter and quickly found out he had no respect for the trot poles so I decided to make the trot poles into fences as instructed not too big ( no more than 2ft)  so now all he wanted to do was jump so I was getting less control and then finding the circles harder and harder to do.

I reverted back to trot and played around with just how much rein contact I could use for control before and after the jump working with a consistent leg.

I have to say the rhythm was improved but by using too much ‘contact’ I’d ‘killed’ the jump.

On the basis I don’t have access to an arena of this size regularly I have recognized the problems we have and I will be trying to redesigns/ reduce the size of the exercise so I can fit it in my normal sized arena at home and hopefully improve on our weaknesses.

The main problems I had were in keeping the impulsion and keeping control after each fence in order to ride the circle balanced.

On a plus side I was finding it less of a problem to be on the right leg and felt a little more balanced (last months exercise has helped with that)

I’d love to know if you’ve tried this exercise and how you and your horse found it rode for you.

It looks like its going to be a while before we perfect it as in everything tricky it will be work in progress.