No Stirrup November!
No Stirrup November is one thing but what about no stirrups OR reins?!
So as we head towards the festive period at an alarming rate I wonder how many of you are as disorganised as I seem to be this year? I have ordered just 2 presents online so far and stocked up on a lovely selection of cheeses (I love cheese!), but that is as far as my Christmas preparation to date goes – I hope yours is coming along a bit bitter than mine!
First up this month was a spot of fence judging at Aston Le Walls, some of you may of heard that British Eventing had added a rather late in the season event as a trial to see how it worked, judging by the entries on the day it was a very popular choice indeed, we were judging both the BE80 and 90 course and our fences rode really well, no issues at all which made for a nice relaxed day, after the last horse had run we had a quick run round the course to check it out and I have to say it looked great. I have my eye on competing at Aston next year so it was good to see the course and feel like I could jump everything that was in the class.
Some of you might have heard of the No Stirrup November challenge, aimed at improving your balance and position? Well I have taken this one step further and have been having some lunge sessions, with no stirrups OR reins! Following on from last month where I have been really working on riding with longer reins and getting my hands forward especially for the show jumping I decided I need to work on my balance, I think I may have taken a bump to the head when I agreed to that one, but I have to say in a very short period of time I can definitely feel it is helping my balance and my leg position, we actually managed to see demo by Centaur Biomechanics at Your Horse Live where Russell did a 45 minute lunge lesson demo, it was really good and gave me some great ideas of what to do at home so I have given a few of the exercises a go, my legs hurt the next day especially after the move he calls the “bicycle”.
Talking of Your Horse Live it was great to catch up with the Honeychop team at the show, the new products when down really well with everyone who came to talk to us, and lots of people left with some free samples to try! I got to meet Grace one of the other Honeychop Stars who was away on holiday when we all meet up last year so it was nice to see her, we went to watch a demo by the “Flying French Man” Lorenzo, all I am going to say is WOW! Check him out on You Tube – what he does with his horses is truly incredible!
This month we also had one of our regular saddle check appointments, a few of the girls at the yard had their saddles looked at so I took the chance to get both my dressage and jumping saddle checked out, thankfully they were both fitting pretty well and needed just a small amount of flocking in – phew – could have been an expensive day otherwise!
I spent the weekend at Hartbury earlier this month at the Dressage for Everyone Convention run by British Dressage, there were different demos across the weekend and I came away feeling really inspired, with some new exercises and ideas to try and work on at home, just as well really as I have finally taken the plunge and registered with British Dressage for the winter – I have talked about it for a while but never got round to it and always wonder if I am going to be good enough to compete with the proper dressage divas! But I’ve joined now, so no going back!
British Eventing have been running a series of arena eventing demos, so following on from the weekend of dressage we popped along to the one with Yogi Breisner at Addington Manor Equestrian Centre, I loved it. I found him to not only be very amusing but I came away with so many ideas to try over the winter, considering he teaches and coaches at such a high level he did a great job of explaining his ideas and principles to the every day riders that were there and the exercises he showed we brilliant, lots of ideas for the winter.
Finally this month I headed out to Quainton Stud for their Combined Training Quainton, this year British Dressage have brought back Combined Training in to their calendar so now I am a fully fledged member I decided to give it a go. What a day! I managed to score 75% in my dressage (that was very unexpected!), and pick up just 4 faults show jumping to come 2nd, AND we managed to qualify for the southern combined training championships next year! I was delighted, I even won £20 prize money, it’s not often you compete at a local level and pay for your horsebox fuel and have few quid left over! What I was more pleased about was how Mikey jumped; aside from a slight rider error at the first fence, we flew! AND there is photographic evidence to prove I kept my reins a nice length throughout the round, I don’t know about you but the real test of any training at home is to see if you can you do it out at a competition when the nerves kicked in and I did, I was delighted. Thank you to super grooms, my friend Candice and my niece Amy – who were rewarded with a lovely hot chocolate (paid for by the prize money!) I am now hoping to get a few more SJ rounds under my belt between now and Christmas to try and battle the nerves a bit more!
That’s all from me for now, good luck with your preparation for Christmas – I hope you have been good so Santa brings you everything you ask for!
Until next month
Laura and Mikey x