Laura – If it scares you do it!
Or more specifically if it scares you – jump it! These fatal words came out of my mouth whilst walking a cross-country course earlier this month and ever since I have been constantly reminder of this as the fences I am jumping are getting bigger and bigger! (Me and my big mouth!)
I made this bold (and maybe stupid!) statement whilst walking the course at a 2-day event my friend Candice and I were doing. It was at a place called Sowerhill Stables over in Oxfordshire, a really nice low key event for both of us to have a run out with no pressure, perfect to build some confidence for us both, they had also kindly agreed to let us do the XC in a pair and so whilst walking the course planning our routes and tactics to get round we came across fence 12, a trakehner fence, Candice had said she wasn’t that keen on jumping it and there was an alternative option we could take, before my brain had chance to catch up with my mouth I said no way “if it scares you; you gotta jump it!” It was easy for me; she was giving me a lead round the course! Ha-ha. Thankfully she took the comment on board and both horses jumped the fence without even looking at it, goes to show, most of the time, the fences scare us, but typically these are the ones that the horses don’t even bother over. We had a great couple of days at Sowerhill, and as pair went clear over the XC phase, I was over the moon, our first clear XC, Mikey felt great, really taking me in to the fences, and feeling like he was having a fun time too. Candice’s horse Stu was brill too, first time on a XC as a lead, and he powered round – big smiles all round! I have carried on the “if it scares you jump it” at home this month, and we are now regularly jumping 85/90cm, and its feeling great, for lots of you reading this I am sure that height wont sound that big, but considering just a few months ago we were getting problems over a cross pole the progress has been amazing, there is lots of work to do but I feel like we are really beginning to crack the jumping and hope a winter of SJ combined with getting out hunting and we will really be able to get out and be competitive eventing! The morale of this story, persistence pays off!
I managed to get to the last summer show this year for one of our local riding clubs, Caddington and District RC, they put on quite a few shows every year and I have never been able to make the dates but this time I could so we went along to see what was on offer. The clear round was in a big open grass arena so I decided to give it a go as part of the warm up for my working hunter round and I am so glad I did, we got a nice clear round, great confidence boost before my working hunter class. The workers class was very much up to height, in fact a few of the fences were far bigger than the advertised “max 2ft3”, I reckon some of them were 2ft9 if anything, and some were wide! Gulp. I am not going to lie, I did think maybe I shouldn’t go in the ring and should just watch the class! BUT. If it scares you jump it right?! I took a big deep breath and headed in to the ring, we clipped one of the fences and rolled a pole but got over the rest, albeit a bit sticky in places – I was just glad we got round and with only one fence down I was over the moon – it was by far the biggest class I have jumped to date – I got some really useful feedback from the judge too, I don’t know about you but I really enjoy getting feedback from these judges when you are out and about, working out what I can do in order to do better next time. I took on board his feedback and it must of worked as last time out doing a workers class I managed a 2nd place – even with a pole rolled!
Aspley Guise Riding Club had their final summer dressage show ahead of the championships later this month, and once again we gave away bags of Honeychop to the winners – as always they were very gratefully received. Quainton Stud had the Honeychop Show Jumping championships show this month too, this was for all qualified pairs that had competed in the series across the spring and summer the prizes and rosettes have gone down really well all through the competition and championship day was no different. Well done to everyone that competed – I hope your horses are enjoying their prizes!
A break from competing over the August Bank Holiday and a few of us headed over to Gaddesden Estate for one of their organised fun rides, my niece came out on the pony she has had on loan for the summer and we all had a great time – there are a few XC jumps round the ride that we took advantage of and apart from a flash downpour as we were almost home the sun shone and there were lots of smiles all round.
After having such a good time last month, there was some more fence judging planned, this time at Keysoe Equestrian Centre over near Bedford, for the BE show they had on, it was a very busy day, lots of horses to get through, and with a couple of holds on course Keysoe did a great job to get everyone through – we were out on course till gone 7pm so it was a very long day! We had a pretty massive fence for the novice class, which included a tricky corner combination, at one point we were up and down like yoyos fixing the flag, as some of the riders were taking it out as they jumped the fence! But it was a great day, not a very sunny day but we got some lovely goodies for volunteering and they looked after us very well indeed. I know I said it before but if you haven’t fence judged and are interested in learning by watching others contact your local venue and offer to help – the sport cant run without volunteers, so go on, do it!
That’s all for this month, September is looking jam packed for us, for those of you with kids enjoy the piece and quiet now they are back to school!
Until next month
Laura and Mikey x