First show of the season

First show of the season

Skip at dressage

Skip at dressage

What a month!

A super start to the season kicked off with a local showing show, Skip loaded (hoorah!) and off we went. He was ridiculously lazy in the novice ridden horse class, but managed to pull in 6th place, I was chuffed… As still managing a placing when I know he could have gone much better, was pretty cool!

Next up was ridden hunter where again we placed 6th against some beautiful and seriously talented hunter horses, Skip rode miles better for me in this class, but went resembling a donkey for the judge, however I was happy with how he had gone for me so I remained positive and wasn’t upset by how he went for the ride judge, after all it is all good experience for him.

Then after 10 or so minutes of trying and a quick change of trailer parking to a quieter area, we were loaded and home by lunch time! Which was great – there is nothing worse than spending your whole Sunday at a show, getting home at 9pm at night to finally getting a bite to eat and then realising you have to get up for work the next day, especially since the clocks had sprung forward an hour the night before!

This photo makes me laugh! Skip doing what he does best!!

This photo makes me laugh! Skip doing what he does best!!

Another exciting new prospect for us is the side saddle venture. We had our first ‘sideways’ lesson, and what a great lesson it was too! Instructor Mandy fitted a side saddle to Skip and I have a loan of a habit from a friend Claire. (The habit is the outfit that you wear to ride side saddle) So we were cantering and coming along nicely in our side saddle, it was brilliant, I was delighted and felt great after the lesson. I am SO excited to start practicing and I’m hoping to get out to a show that hosts side saddle classes on the first weekend in May, all going to plan.

Being seen to by the physiotherapist

Being seen to by the physiotherapist

Skip is really starting to muscle up in all the right places now and has really matured. I am so pleased with how he is coming along and he just takes everything into his stride. This month Skip had a session with the physiotherapist. The physio was very pleased with Skip, she couldn’t find any areas of pain or tightness and said he was very even on both sides, which is unusual, most horses have one side dominant! So that was some good news for us.

We also had the saddle fitter AND Skip and I attended a session with Pauline Kidd, so we have been non-stop! Pauline is a Certified Rolfer®, a fully Certified Advanced STOTT Pilates Instructor®, Reiki Master and Certified JMI Equine Sportsmassage® Therapist. Pauline worked with me through using my breathing to communicate with Skip and to relax my muscles down into my seat bones. It was amazing, you come out of the session sitting spot-on like Charlotte Dujardin with all the ‘bits’ in the right places and feeling a million dollars, your horse reacts to how relaxed you are and it is amazing to look at the videos from the night and witness the changes from using only very slight relaxation/breathing techniques and such like, it really is something worth looking into, if there is someone in your area that does work like Pauline, go and see them!!

Lighter nights! Excellent, Skip is staying out at night now, temperatures seem to be remaining reasonable and Skip is happy to be out. I am looking forward to be able to hack out with friends in the evenings. Hacking is best for building fitness in my eyes!

Not much on the cards for us for April, a quiet month chipping away at improving our schooling and building fitness and improving manners (very important for a side saddle horse). We might manage to pop out to a local BSJA show if there are any on, I’ll wait and see how I feel when the time comes!

(For scottish rider)

Skip & I doing Tim’s last exercise

March also brought Tim’s last exercise. I knew it! Another exercise that involves landing on the correct leg – thanks Tim! A great one to finish on, hopefully now we can prove that our hard work as Honeychop stars has paid off! Seeing as quite a few of our exercises now have involved the changing of or landing on the correct leading leg’s – we should now be borderline professional – right?! In theory anyway! For this exercise I headed off to my instructors yard to ride in her outdoor school. We set up the exercise and got warmed up over a few simple fences to include some scary fillers that we hadn’t jumped before! I began by tackling the exercise as a simple grid of poles with one stride between each and the middle fence was a small raised plank. I prepared my turn and rode straight into the grid. Skip popped through it as easy as pie. We did it a few times on both reins and then got round to popping the fences up. By fence three I found that I was really having to pick Skip up over the remaining jumps to keep energy and the flow the same, so I rode the next few attempts with a little more dedication and soon we had a nice, steady flowing rhythm and Skip was jumping nicely and not losing impulsion for the last fence. Time to start phase two of the exercise, it took a good few attempts for me to sort out my straightness and lines, but once I had got the hang of it, I was handling the exercise better, as you will see if you watch my video  I am still struggled to land on the correct leg every time whilst working on the second part of the exercise but there is definitely a huge improvement to be noted.

Until then, some photos from this month!
Grace and Skip x