Laura: Back to basics we go!
So this month has been a bit of a mixed bag, with some nice progress being made with our flat work but the jumping going backwards, we have very much been back to basics to get us both heading back in the right direction!
So lets start at the beginning as they say. You might remember last month I was just about to head off to Keysoe Equestrian Centre with a few friends and their horses for a few days jump training.
We had a great time, after a few weeks of really bad weather we were really lucky and the sun shone down on us for the whole time we were there, between lessons on the first day we even managed a few hours in the sunshine sunbathing (the less said about my sunburn the better, DON’T sunbath with sunglasses on is all I am saying LOL). My lessons were great and I was feeling really pleased with how we had got on, the jumping was beginning to flow, after a great grid work session we had a perfect SJ lesson and flew round the course that was up. Perfect. Progress. It was also lovely to see my friends enjoying their horses; a couple of them had never been to a camp before and were “camp virgins”. When you hit your 30’s you think camp is just for kids and I for one never went to pony club camp but there are so many camps put on for adults if you’ve never done it I would highly recommend it!
Just a few days after camp I headed to our first one-day event in over 12 months, after a successful camp I was feeling quite confident but all I can say is OUCH. Not our finest hour, after pulling out a personal best dressage score of 28 (28, I was OVER THE MOON with that, never in my life have I managed to pull a sub 30 score). You could say it went down hill from there, the jumping just was not meant to be that day, when things go wrong its so hard for me to get my mind back where it needs to be and ride with any kind of purpose and style. I am sure I am not alone (please tell me I’m not??) but I just go to pot, after a lovely warm up we had a cricket score SJ and the XC was just a nightmare, sadly ALL of which was my fault and with a huge crowd supporting me from my yard to say I felt terrible would be an understatement. Mikey loves to jump. I love to jump we just need to work out how to love jumping together.
After a what felt like at the time a crisis conversation (with Michaela who runs my yard and teaches us regularly) we made a plan, lets get back to basics, get Mikey loving his job again and as for me and my riding, well mostly leaving him alone! Get off his back and let him do what he needs to do. Queue a SJ lesson with my eyes shut and no reins (I kid you not!) and a second lesson with only one hand on the reins. Thankfully for me I trust Michaela and know she has my best interests at heart, she knows Mikey really well and has taught me on him from the day I brought him, still, it took quite a lot of bottle for me to do it, BUT, it worked, with my eyes shut I had to just “feel”, and I started to feel where I am going wrong with my riding and as a result Mikey jumped his socks off. Thank you Michaela! So there you go blind fold yourself and jump a few grids (!!) in no time you will start to feel what is going on underneath you, another thing that improved off the back of no or limited reins was my transitions, my walk to canter is now most of the time top notch! There is lots of work for me to do with my riding but just a few weeks in really focusing on my seat, keeping light, riding him forward between the fences and being more positive away from a fence and I feel much happier about it all – we are off for some clear round jumping next week so lets hope the work at home pays off!
Alongside some tough discipline at home we have had quite a bit of fun this month!
First up was the Canter for a Cure Fun Ride, run in aid of Medical Detection Dogs. Medical Detection Dogs uses the amazing power of the dogs’ nose to detect human diseases. Their research is based on the dogs’ ability to detect minute odour traces created by diseases and they hold an annual event at MKEC, a 6 or 10-mile fun ride. A few of us headed over to support the event and we had a great day. All the horses were perfectly well behaved, including my friend Emilie on her new horse Maja who is just 4 years old, she was foot perfect and I am sure Emilie is going to have a lot of fun on her! After the ride we got to play out on the XC course, I didn’t do much jumping but a play over the steps, ditch and of course the water are always a must as Mikey loves splashing around!
Talking of splashing around, lots of my horsey friends have told me about Holkham Beach and how fab it is so Candice and I decided we need to pay a visit, after a bit of a false start en route (Candice’s aptly named horsebox Breakdown Bluey had a tyre burst!) we had a great few days. We stay at a place called Mill Farm Holidays, it takes about 20 minutes to hack to the beach, and you can book a stable or field (or both) and then park up the horsebox and camp. It was perfect! On the Saturday the beach was packed, people and horses everywhere, too make things even more interesting there was some sort of Iron Man race going on, we walked passed the finish line which, loud Mexican music, people dressed as Mexicans shaking their maracas and shouting Arriba Arriba! Mikey and Stu were as good as gold and didn’t bat an eyelid, I’m not sure all horses would have handled it quite so well! Galloping along the beach was such good fun – I have always wanted to do it on my own horse so that is definitely one of the bucket list ticked off!
Last up this month was the 2nd of the LBSDRC summer shows. Honeychop once again sponsored the SJ ring and the winners were very happy with their bags of Honeychop. The show is always well attended and Mikey and I brushed off our show gear and entered a few classes. We had a great day, Mikey scrubs up pretty well and put on some lovely individual shows to help us pick up a 2nd place in the Ridden Coloured class and a win in the Riding Club Horse, we also managed to get Next to Best Champion. It was a bit of a yard outing, another one of my friends Kerrie took her new horse, she has only been broken in a few months and this was her first ridden outing, she was a super star and picked up first place in the ridden cob. My niece Amy also came out for the day, doing her first ever ridden class and getting 6th place. A good day all round!
I hope you are all enjoying your horses and have some fun plans for the summer; one thing I am realising is variety is key. Don’t get stuck in a rut doing the same thing, you need to keep it fresh for the horses and for us! Get out and, enjoy the summer but most of all HAVE FUN!
Until next month.
Laura and Mikey x