Sunday, 26 May 2013

Our First 1st Rosette!


Today was the riding club dressage/combined training. I decided to go for the bigger class as something to work towards, hoping to get 50% in the dressage and a decent round in the showjumping. My biggest goal was to stay relaxed and ride the mare rather than being a passenger, and for her to stay calm.

The dressage warm up was just what we needed. There was no warm up arena, so the the whole field could be used. The warm up arena and lack of space really stresses me out, I feel like I spend my whole time trying to get out of other peoples way. Hmm, maybe a blog post on warm up etiquette?

Anyways, the other big difference was that I had rather a large entourage! I had asked a friend to come with me as my nanny, and she was great, it meant there was someone to walk the course with, to go through my dressage test with me and to just be there for me and my horse. My husband is supportive but it is not the same, especially when he is trying to look after the kids at the same time!

My dad and step-mum came to watch too, which meant they could also help take care of the children.

The dressage test was pretty much as I expected, nothing amazing, but we did the correct movements at the correct time (well, mostly, I did miss out one circle!) and the second medium trot was a real medium! I got a 7 for that. Other than the one 7, I got fives and sixes, giving me a score of 56.9%  not too bad, and the comments were very fair. Out of the four competitors in the dressage competition I came 4th, but the highest score was 60% so we were all very close.

We were the only ones in the jumping warm up arena and the mare was really calm but pinging the jumps and enjoying herself.

The course was supposed to be 2'6" to 2'9" but I suspect was nearly all 2'6" which didn't really matter. Some of the jumping was a bit hit and miss, and while we are still having some control issues, I felt I was the one in charge this time. We went clear!

When I went to collect my dressage sheet, I was given a lovely green 4th rosette for the dressage, and then a red 1st for the combined training!!

Very happy, but exhausted. The mare spent the rest of the day on a new bit of field, with plenty to eat, and when she came in a couple of hours later she was sleeping with her head over the door. Day off tomorrow, let the gelding have a turn......

Friday, 24 May 2013

Competition Nerves

I seem to have lost the mental capacity to learn dressage tests. They just don't stick like they used to. To be fair, Novice 24 (2010) is a bit involved - so many bloody circles! I am going to get lost I know it.

I get a bit stressed about competitions. I suppose I always have done, but in a different way. I am very competitive and I used to get stressed about doing my best and doing well, and while that is still partly the case, I have other stresses now. Firstly, the children! Do I need to find a babysitter, or can they come with us, will they get bored etc. Then being the one in charge of everything, it is my responsibility to remember everything - horse, tack, money, lunch etc. Then I have to concentrate on the driving. Being a new trailer driver and having a bad travelling horse makes the journey there and back a bit stressful. Then I actually have to ride? I'm not sure I have any stress left!

This time I found a nanny for myself, my friend is coming along to be a calming presence and to remind me that this is for fun.

I suppose my greatest stress is that I am going to just not be good enough.

Monday, 20 May 2013

Sick (again)

We are in the middle of yet another sickness bug. I think this is about the 6th in 7months.

I actually don't know why we have had so many this year. We are all fit and healthy without underlying health problems.

We all get plenty of fresh air and exercise, we eat well enough (most dinners are made from scratch) and although the house wouldn't be the cleanest, the windows are always open and the main bits (kitchen and bathroom) are kept clean.

This is my daughter's first year in full time school, although she was at preschool for nearly 18months before that, so not the first time mixing with other kids. Baffling!

Anyway, we are now housebound until Wednesday (at least 48hrs after last sickness) with some very healthy looking children. Hmmmm......... might be spending quite a lot of time at the yard!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Happy, Happy!

Last night I took the mare to the riding club training evening.

It rained, a lot. The mare, who generally isn't very marish showed off every marish quality she could think of. She dug, she snorted, she stamped, she shook her head, bucked and generally ignored all my feeble attempts to control her. I felt like leaving her there and going home!

The instructor, Simon Somers, was a very calming influence. He made the group walk out on a large square, concentrating on straight lines and correctly ridden corners. He told us that we were being too nice to our horses and needed to get a bit of respect from them (very true!) I was told to shorten my stirrups a hole to give me better balance, and to slow everything down. I tend to ride very much with my seat and have become scared of putting my leg on due to the mare being very forward going. He told me to use more leg, the old "Between hand and leg" which is forgotten so often.

We did lots of walk and trot, concentrating on correctness, balance and rhythm. I was told I was very good at sitting there making the horse and I look pretty, but that sometimes you have to upset things to improve. As soon as I was given a job to do my nerves vanished and I felt that I was good enough to be there. When my leg yield in trot was deemed "nearly a 9" (!!!) I could not stop the massive smile on my face and I am still bouncing this morning :-D

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Ups and downs

Anyone who has horses knows how things can be wonderful one day, and go to complete shit the next.

On Sunday, the mare and I were off to the riding club for some more showjumping. We were going to attempt the 2'3" class again after having a blip last time.

It didn't really start very well, the mare was banging around in the trailer and the kids were restless and bored. It was quite busy, so we had a fair bit of hanging around. The jumping was a bit shit to be honest. Some very hairy moments with very little control, one stop and me trying to act like I had actually been on a horse before (it didn't look like it)

I came home feeling miserable and doubting my abilities. I'm sure everyone who has a horse has had that feeling at some point that they are not good enough for the horse. It is a horrid feeling and does nothing for the confidence.

Decided to stop wallowing in self pity and be proactive about it. Looking up instructors in the area and asking horsey friends for their recommendations. Looking forward to the riding club training evening next week, it has come at just the right time!

Monday evening I hacked out with a friend. Put a grackle noseband on the mare to gain a bit extra control. It was just what we needed, a really relaxing ride, making the stress of Sunday seem a bit ridiculous. Bathed the gelding - not much of an improvement!

Tuesday - schooled the mare today. She felt very flat. My husband, who is a vet, came to check her over in the evening. She was stiff but sound, and sweating in one patch just inside her right armpit. She is to have three days of easy work and painkillers. Next Tuesday's training evening may not happen. Going to give the chiropractor a call tomorrow morning and see if she will do some laser treatment. I suppose at least this may be the reason for the bad travelling on Sunday? Feeling a bit stressed.

Wednesday - called the chiro first thing - she is away at the moment!! Typical!
Architect coming over at 10am to look at loft conversion possibilities. Hoping for good news.
Found another physio that is already coming to our yard this evening and is happy to do some laser treatment on the mare. Things may be looking up?

Spoke too soon! Had a bit of a blow financially. Isn't it typical? The next couple of months may see some difficult decisions :(

Thursday - the mare is responding really well to the combination of painkillers and the laser treatment she had.
Went to a friends for dinner. Feel much more positive after a good gossip and several glasses of wine.....
Let's hope things improve or we find some sort of solution. May be looking for more work, but sadly I have very few marketable qualities, unless you count endless optimism and sheer bloodymindedness!