Grace- Back to the fun stuff!
So this month, much to Skip’s delight, we finally made it back out competing! Maybe the dark tunnel that is the winter is nearing its end now?! Hoorah.
We began with our local clubs show jumping where we jumped the 80cm as a warm up round followed by the 90cm, Skip was delighted to be back ‘on the track’ and rode a quick double clear for third place in the 80cm, followed by a confidence building 90cm. I was delighted with that.
With only a week passing we were once again back out competing, this time at a local BSJA show. We again rode the 80cm club class and the 90cm British Novice. Skip was awesome.
This month we also managed to get Skip tidied up again, Skip got a lovely full clip, feathers trimmed and mane pulled and he is starting to look slightly more presentable as we near the start of show season! This month we plan to head out to do some showing and dressage, I have entered two hunter classes at a local “Winter Woolies” show and plan to ride in two prelim classes at a local dressage event, both at new venues for Skip but I’m sure he will take it all in his stride like he does everything else! I say we plan to as this all comes down to how the loading practice goes! My friends kindly allowed me to borrow their trailer to practice with Skip on the yard every so often, and to add to that – I have my first towing lesson this week…I’m super excited.
Skip has come through winter looking awesome, probably the best he has ever looked and his flatwork has come on leaps and bounds! – We still have a lot of work to do but the transformation really is worth a mention. This month really has been a hectic one for me and I’m hoping things settle down soon and I can start to spend a little more time with Skip, I had a bump in my car mid Feb, no thanks to the stupid snow! So my wee Qashqai has been in the garage two weeks now and I can’t wait to get it back.
I’ve also been busy with work, having extra horses to see to and stables to muck out, my step counter is averaging 15,000 steps a day, and it doesn’t even get to see the half of it, my steps are not just steps, they are steps at the same time as pushing a barrow, carrying water buckets or trying to prevent mud-skiing alongside a large dappled Irish draught horse dying to get out to the field!!
So another one of Tim’s exercises dropped into my inbox, I’m still perfecting..well, working on, the last two and now I have another to add to the mix! It all makes for a good few weekly work outs anyway! This month is was to use V poles. As per normal I set out the poles and wings and got warmed up. We warmed up over a cross pole with ground poles as suggested by Tim at the very beginning of my sponsorship program and then got cracking with the V pole fence. Our first time over it was a little rushed, Skip was just steaming on from his front end and I was got left behind over the fence when Skip totally ballooned the jump! I have never used this exercise before so I’m not sure Skip was expecting the poles to be placed where they were! So I came round again, collected my canter and encouraged Skip to use his bum rather than tow us along from his giganta-saurus shoulders! I kept my shoulders back and waited for the fence to come to me. I changed the rein to repeat the exercise on Skip’s ‘dodgy’ rein and made a great effort to really ride the turn to my fence, have a straight approach and keep a forward but collected momentum. I really liked this exercise as it was simple yet effective for getting Skip to pick his feet up, and as an added bonus it was so easy to set up and play around with! I then brought out the brush fences, the walls and some skinnies and repeated the exercise with the guide poles to make things a little more interesting. Skip was loving it! I am definitely going to use the guide poles exercise at home regularly, It was very effective and Skip does occasionally knock a pole so a few practice runs with this one could benefit us a lot!
So as I sit here watching the snow falling (again… sob, sob) I wish you a great month with your horses and hope to catch up again soon! Grace and Skip x