Monday, 27 March 2017

Barefootin' it

Mum has been trying to work out the best way to tackle the questions that arise from my feet at pretty much every outing, luckily auntie Nic has done it for her! You can buy her new book Performance Hoof Performance Horse in various ways via amazon or her blog.

Do it now, cause barefeet give you wings!

Whilst we're on the topic don't forget to watch Healthy Hooves if you haven't already - starring yours truly.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Lincolnshire Horse Trials

Last Friday we went eventing AGAIN, 3 events in 4 weeks is a bit unreasonable if you ask me. Anyway early start and off we went, dressage was in gale force winds, I did a bit of jumping about but actually felt better then I have done recently, even managed some posh trotting between chasing that pretty bay thoroughbred and escaping from the plastic bags in the hedge. Showed the judge my jumping ability over the patch of sand and had a bit of trouble with the immobility bit of the halt (I was getting blown over), mum said actually the bits in between weren't bad but 37.5 certainly wasn't my best mark ever....oops.

Straight onto showjumping and mum started without spurs as she wasn't sure she could hold me with them. Then she put them on and missed into the oxer, saved her ass by going for the long one then made sure to tell her off by bucking round the warm up for a bit. Anyway, we went into the ring and they were huge, with flowers, in the wind. I sucked it up and jumped the first well, cantered so boldly down to the second we got there before mum had finished counting strides, that confused her so she froze and I went through it. Three was scary, it had blue flags on it so I cleared it by a foot just in case. four was easier but forgot to pick my back feet up so that came down too, oh dear. By the time we missed into the double I thought I better start leaving them up so I tried really hard and cleared it, sorted myself out at the scary number 6 by shortening two strides out so we ended up right then cleared the last 3 really well.

Over to the cross country, I was very excited, had 6 pees and 2 poos in the warm up just to make sure I was ready to gallop, managed to behave going to the start box and we were off.
One - easy peasy, Two I wasn't very sure about the white jump wings, only saw the brush at the last minute which was pretty big so had to go through the top and scratched my toes a bit. Three ok, got a bit close and decent size but made it. Then we had to canter through a farmyard and along a wooded track...hmm, perhaps some trotting is required. 4,5 and 6 were a bit hairy, in the woods and not much time to see them. Got back into our rhythm out the woods and flew the trekenher with the scary yellow flowers, into the angled double fine, didn't quite understand the table on the curving line out so I chipped in a cheeky stride...remind me not to do that over maximum dimension tables, had to stretch for it. There were a couple more big fences that jumped well then the water, jumped straight in but didn't realise I was supposed to turn left over the skinny brush so had to jump it from trot and scratched my toes again. Back into gallop, mum messed up the angle of the double a bit but I sorted it out then there was a big brush, no way was I scratching my feet again so I cleared it, nearly lost mum out the back door!

Rest of the course went fairly well, mum missed a few but I'd worked out that the long one is generally the better bet so flew them. Not only were we clear, I was 5 seconds under the time - first time I'd even got the time at this level then 5 seconds under despite a look at the farm yard and water, this galloping lark is fun!

No rosette with a finishing score of 45.5 but everyone was really proud of me for jumping the big jumps, going the straight routes and going past all the scary flowers.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Video overload Oasby, Eland and Hambleden

We've been waiting for some videos this week then like buses they all come at once!

First up Isla and Paige going clear around the 80cm arena eventing at Eland Lodge on Sunday, Paige was trying to go a bit slower after going too fast last time out. Lovely calm round, unfortunately a bit too slow but still came 10th in a big class. Thank you Meadow Productions for not only producing the nicest video, you definitely won the processing race.

Next up Mango's round from last Thursday at Oasby BE100. His first 100 run in 2 seasons and by far his best effort.

And finally an old VHS I've had digitalised thanks to Total Recall. This is Isla doing her thing at Hambleden pre-novice (BE100) in 2006, went double clear this day on hard ground despite it being the first day I realised she had problems with her front feet. This course was huge, as usual Isla makes it look like nothing and went well within the time despite looking so laid back.

Monday, 13 March 2017

Oasby 9.3.17

It's been all go here to work out why I wasn't quite my normal cheeky self the last few weeks. First up was Sarah, she usually come to see princess but this time she looked at me too. She did lots of things to my back and shoulders and said they were very sore, she's not wrong! I didn't really enjoy all the prodding and had to be bribed with sweets to stay still but in the end it all felt a lot better.
On Saturday we had a visit from Steve he watched us walk and looked at our hooves, mainly we just stood around whilst they talked about feet and mum moaned about how ugly mine are - humph, well I can't be perfect can I? Mum says I'm to be grateful he came a very long way to see me as I'm so special and she doesn't trust anyone else to look after my feet.
Mum gave me most of the week off but when she rode me on Monday I was very stiff again. On Tuesday we had a lesson with Nic I was moving much better, apparently this shows that time off is not helpful (damn). Nic noticed I kept knocking a trot pole with the same leg and wasn't pushing off the ground properly so now I have to do leg stretches as well as touching my toes....honestly, they'll have me doing yoga next!
Wednesday we went for a slow hack then Thursday we got up early and had a wash before heading off in the horsebox. We arrived at a smart little yard and met Debbie my saddle fitter. My dressage saddle has been rubbing a little and she soon worked out what was wrong. I have my girth straps on one side slightly off set, as I've straightened up I wanted the other side the same. I've also filled out a bit so she softened the flocking a little to compensate. After a bit of re-stitching and bashing it felt much better so I got to stand in a stable for bit whilst she had a catch up and tea with mum.

Back on the box then we pulled up at Oasby, mum plaited me in the box and I stood very still which apparently was a miracle. I was a bit grumpy in the dressage, you can seen the cross country from teh warm up so I wanted to do that instead, I did a bit of bucking but actually did quite a nice test in the end. Slightly disappointing mark of 35.3 but mum is still going a bit easy on me so hopefully we can improve on that.
I had a long break while mum walked the course with chief pony holder (polo lady was busy apparently). Then we went to the showjumping. There was only 2 before us so we did a very quick warm up that went great. Mum only missed one stride into the first big upright but the spread was ace. We went in and it was a bit bigger then usual, I have yet to jump a clear at Oasby so this didn't bode well. 1,2 and 3 went well, 3 was quite square so I had to make a bit of an effort, 4 was good but somehow the rail fell off, oops, must pick my back feet up. Jumped into the double well but then mum froze and I had to chip in an extra stride so went through the second part and landed in a muddle. We had a bit of a discussion around the corner, mum wanted to sort my legs out but I just wanted to get on with it. Sorted it out and came down the related distance on a perfect four strides which caught mum out a bit. Disunited round the corner to the big oxer worried mum but she kept her leg on so over we went and the last too. We were really pleased with only 2 down in our first 1m on grass in nearly 2 years. Mum says the rails don't matter for now, it was just good that I took the course on and didn't back off anywhere, cue lots of polos although these stopped when I tried to roll in a muddy puddle on the way back to the box - it was warm and I was thirsty.

We went straight down to the cross country but there were a few waiting so we stood around for a bit. I warmed up well and actually jumped the practice jump properly for the first time ever. Mum asked the steward if we could not go over too early in case I was naughty, no idea what she's talking about I was perfect at Osberton. I walked over and calmly around the start box then...ooh, jumps, lets go! Apparently I have to wait for the countdown which rapidly got quicker (thank you nice starting lady) then we were off.
Number 1 was a touch bigger then expected so I rapped it a bit, 2 was little and easy, 3 was a bigger hedge which again caught me out a bit. Into my rhythm I managed not to spook at the scary novice fence on the approach to 4 (did give is a sideways glare to warn it though), 4 was easy, 5 mum went to set me up which made me a bit suspicious, turned out it was just a trekehner which mum hates but I don't know why, once I knew what it was I took over and flew it nearly loosing her off the back in the process.
Onto the water, roll top before, cantered into the water before I remembered I only trot through water, once mum pointed out the big jump on the way out I decided canter might be wiser which worked much better. Mum mucked up the corner a bit but I was a good boy and sorted it out, it was a bit scary with narrow flags and apparently caused a lot of trouble but we got over it and as we landed in a muddle managed to pull off a tight turn to the next which will have helped out time a bit. Galloped down to the brush, got a bit close so I decided to clear it by a foot to compensate. Downhill again to a big log, I got a bit confused and put and extra stride in before the step then managed to get to the next log on the correct one stride, nearly loosing mum out the back door again in the process. Must say the bench jumps a lot better in one rather then using the seat as a take off pad (who knew?). I wanted a breather by now but mum make me gallop along the top of the valley then nearly missed the turn into the woods. kept my momentum around the tight turn and flew over the drop. She then missed me into the biggest fence on the course, luckily only a rail so I sorted it out then galloped over the house and pheasant feeder. I was feeling pretty cocky by now so was a little surprised how wide the sheep feeder was off a long stride I had to stretch for it then flew the last and home. We were so pleased with ourselves scores didn't matter but only 3 seconds slow round a BE100 was certainly a bonus. We came 10th out of 19 with a fair few pros in the section.

I've been very excited since Thursday, done a couple of high speed short hacks over the weekend with lots of bouncing so hopefully the mojo's coming back, got a dressage lesson in a bit so we'll see if my legs are up to working hard again yet.