Laura Set yourself a goal and aim for it!
First up this month is our Badminton adventure, what a fun week! You may of seen at the time but we had a very special guest with us – Honeychop Henry – I hope you all enjoyed following his #HoneychopHenryBadmintonAdventure on the Honeychop social media pages. We headed down to Badminton on the Wednesday and saw all of the action. What a great competition it was, amazing riding and horsemanship, perfect weather, lots of laughs and a few cheeky fruit ciders! It was great to see Michael Jung take the Badminton title with what seemed such ease and also win a cool £250,000 for picking up the Rolex Grand Slam challenge, we saw his XC round, looking like he was out for a casual hack – he made it look so easy! Another favorite of mine (and pretty much everyone that was there judging by the cheers every time he was near by) was Mr Ben Hobday and his awesome Mr Mulry – what a horse, half Clydesdale and at Badminton! Just amazing!
I was also particularly interested to check out the grassroots competition that takes place there, if you aren’t familiar with it, its aimed at every day riders like you and me, competing at BE90 and 100. We are a way off that yet but my dream would be to compete there through qualifying at one of the regional finals that take place across the BE season – watching some of the horses there it gave me a huge confidence boost, they are just everyday horses, I don’t know what I was expecting but it was great to see the courses both the SJ and XC and the horses that had been lucky enough to win qualification – so that’s it, there’s the goal! I think I some how managed to commit myself to aiming to get there within the next 3 years and have my grooms already booked in, my friend Emma and my niece Amy, oh and I also have my very own “official photographer” for the event my friend Candice who is a bit of whizz with the camera booked in to!
Better get some brave pants from somewhere and get this jumping lark nailed! Oh and a string of horses to aid my qualification chances too!
After a few tricky weeks with my abscess (you might remember last month I had ended up in hospital having an abscess cut out of my abdomen putting me out of action for a while!) I was out of the saddle for almost 3 weeks. Mikey had a well-earned week off whilst I was away at Badminton but as soon as I was fit enough I was back in the saddle.
We headed out to Wing Dressage and Jumping a couple of times this month to try some more dressage. The Saturday was a really busy show, with well over 20 riders in most classes, my friend Candice took her horse Stu along too. We had a good outing each getting a 5th and 2nd place – not bad considering one of the classes had almost 30 competitor’s in it! I did some mid week dressage there too, the week after and we went one better than the 2nd place and won one of our classes! I have decided to enter a novice dressage test next – better get working on our medium trot and canter steps!
We also got out and did some jumping this month, we headed over to the Honeychop Unaffiliated Show Jumping at Quainton Stud, sadly I didn’t get a gorgeous Honeychop sponsored rosette, but I was pleased with how we got on, we have only jumped one competitive SJ round in over 6 months so to say I am bit rusty is an understatement, but as I keep telling myself when I have a moment of doubt, we are out there doing it, having fun, learning and trying to improve and that is the main thing surely? Our 2nd round this time out we had 8 faults, so not too horrible but lots to work on! Check out the Quainton Stud website for dates of the rest of the SJ series. Now we are back jumping and the physio is pleased with Mikey’s progress I need to get my SJ act together and am really looking forward to getting some regular SJ lessons in the diary!
In a bid to work on some fitness we also headed off to Tring Gallops this month, we are lucky to have such a great facility so close, we definitely gave the gallops a run for their money, Mikey’s 4 legged friends all seem to have REALLY long legs so he has to shift extra fast to keep up (!) and Stu who we went with is no exception – if you’ve never been I would recommend it – certainly a great way to blow away the cobwebs after a day of work!
I did some more dressage writing this month too, Aspley Guise and District Riding Club had one of their Honeychop Unaffiliated Dressage Series dates over at Addington Manor so I loaded the car with some bags of Honeychop, which were prizes for the winners and wrote for some of the novice and elementary tests. Check out the RC website for dates of the other shows. Despite the horrible weather riders still turned up and rode some lovely dressage tests and were happy with their Honeychop Prizes!
Gaddesden Estate, is just up the road from me and they had a “Park and Ride” date, run and organised through the British Horse Society, you pretty much book in at a time to suit you and head off with a group of friends, at your own pace. We had a great time, around 8 miles of mostly off road hacking, and a few XC jumps too! Perfect way to spend a Sunday.
I have my first ODE in a year next weekend – and am feeling a mixture of excited and nervous! I sometimes wonder why we do it, why do we put ourselves through the stress and angst of wanting to do well? The fear of the jumps? I know I am not alone in those thoughts and feelings! Then I remember that feeling coming through the finish at the end of a XC run, that feeling of pure elation and THAT’S WHY!
In readiness we headed over to Primrose Hill Farm (Gawcott as its known to the locals!) for some XC schooling. I have to learn to get the canter more positive, get him going forward but back on his hocks more and let the fences come to me, I think I spend quite a lot of time riding quite defensively and we aren’t always making the stride, that said we had a great time and the usual questions that can worry horses, water, steps, ditches, banks, Mikey just loves! He is so brave and nothing really fazes him, so lets hope I can get a few tips at the jump camp I am booked in to this week ahead of the competition next weekend – and when I am stood in that start box I need to remember that feeling of elation that will wash over me in approx. 5 minutes time and not focus on the feeling of wanting to run and hide – wish me luck!
Until next month, Laura and Mikey x