Been busy having fun, all the best intentions to post but just been too busy doing the do to put fingers to keyboard; apologies all.
We have been busy having fun with the Classical Riding clinic crowd. A couple of true examples of how horses introduce us to new and precious friends. I was eventing at Eland Lodge and asked on Facebook if anyone was around to video a test. Cora, one of the lovely ladies who has trained with Patrice for many years, came not just to video, but helped warm me up for dressage, whilst deftly controlling her toddling twins, did poles for the SJ warm up, kicked my butt when required and even helped wash Caltastic off after XC. Above and beyond. Cora is also a dressage judge so great to get some insight into how to gain marks and still ride honestly according to our Classical principles and training. I fed her and the kids cold pizza and juice at the event, but will get the opportunity to feed her nice gin when she stays over at this month’s clinic as a proper thank you.
Then the Equestrian Journey Clinic- Cheshire went International!! Kim, one of Patrice’s pupils from Colorado, came over to the UK on an Equestrian Journey road trip. She stayed with us, was lent various horses to have lessons on, videoed every minute, took loads of notes and was a great and enthusiastic contributor to the group learning experience. She’s a trainer and rider so was keen to maximise her learning in this intense holiday. And her coming over here just showed us that one can never travel too far for good teaching. The Yanks have really been missing Patrice and are wildly jealous of how fortunate we are to get her invaluable input every month. Kim had a great lunge lesson on Cal and really showed me how the skating pelvis feeling can extend the walk, and she showed me how fabulous his walk can be…and it’s not quicker, it’s muuuuch looooonger.
I’ve been busy having fun, but as well as doing our flatwork homework, ready for our Charles de Kunffy lessons in September.
(it’s OK, I’ve told Cal and he’s really excited too), we have also managed to squeeze in a little bit of eventing! Interestingly, this year I have been (mostly) detached from our results. I have used the competitions to test whether the training is working, and looking for improvements in way of going, strength and consistency. I am no longer afraid of making mistakes, because mistakes are where we learn, and we have to stretch our comfort zone for progress to occur. I have been mostly doing unaffiliated, because it’s cheaper, and there are now so many unaffiliated event running over BE courses that the argument for paying extra for the quality of course no longer applies.
So we did the Riding Club Horse Trials 80 Qualifier with East Clwyd Riding Club. Cal did a nice test and a double clear, with a couple of time faults. The team came second, and we qualified for the championships!!!
Cal and I then did the unaffiliated 90 at Eland Lodge, with Cora’s help- thanks again. He did a nice test, we had 2 stops show jumping, (jockey oxer wobbles) but he stormed the cross country, again with a few time faults.
We did the 80 at the Cheshire Shield st Somerford, which is always a good track, and got a lovely double clear.
And then we went to the NAF BRC National Horse Trials Championships. As always, after a couple of tricky years with the horse’s health, the main achievement is actually getting there, having qualified, arriving there with a fit horse, ready to go, is something I am now grateful for every day. I do love those events where you get a gorgeous frilly just for arriving safely!! We had a great time, arriving the day before, team building over a lovely pub dinner which even involved wine! The show jumping and the cross country were cleverly set to be challenging at the level. Only 10 teams posted a finishing score, and our team came 8th.
Cal chose the best day to put all the training together, we scored a season best dressage and a double clear, this time with naughty time penalties. I can’t decide which was the best moment. The dressage test felt lovely and fluid and he felt rideable and aidable at every moment. The show jumping just felt fab and the cross country was a huge buzz.
A great result for a day which I wasn’t expecting to happen- in my head July and August were going to be the youngster’s busy time because Cal would surely be struggling with his breathing. Oh well….he’s not too bothered.
So now we have a month and counting before I present my gorgeous ‘peasant pony’ to Charles at the incredibly posh Dovecote stables. He will be the cheapest horse there, by a full order of magnitude, but his training is coming on in leaps and bounds and I (and Patrice) feel confident that his work is good enough to shine through. As long as I don’t get too starstruck or succumb to lesson brain.
We have one more Patrice clinic before then- trot half pass and canter to walk transition to nail by then so everything is set up for the next steps.
And gorgeous Gary has made the most amazing pull out bed for Travis the Truck now so we can sleep in luxury while we are down at Dovecote Stables. I can’t wait to go back to the pub next door- lunch there in March was the most lush food I have had this year.
So there you have it- been busy having fun.
Horses can event barefoot, they can event from a field; naked and hairy and scruffy most of the time, they will stay happy and healthy and give you their best work when you ask for it.
I’m not sure why Cal hasn’t had breathing problems this year- we have fed organic haylage, golden paste pellets, spirulina, jiagolaoaun, and Succeed (for his hindgut) all season. He has had the odd cough, and some clear snotty discharge, but never felt breathless. The rapeseed is planted further away this year; maybe we have just been lucky and it’s far enough away for the horses not to suffer.
I won’t know until next year.
But for now we will keep busy having fun while it lasts.