Friday, 26 May 2017

Post event blues and stressage

Since we got back from Badminton life has all been a bit of an anti-climax. I let Isla run the place for a few days before informing her that actually I was in charge. Mum has been busy at work then a bit under the weather so I have mostly been eating and chasing girls (they love it really). Last week mum said it was time to do some work again as a) my feet looked scruffy b) I may have forgotten how to do dressage (hey, it takes constant training to remain that fit and supple) and c) the invisible monsters in hedgerows had reappeared (not sure what this has to do with me having a rest).

The result was lots of school work, a bit of cursing and both of us sweating buckets.

On Saturday it became apparent what this was in aid of, the horsebox came out, I legged it but mum was insistent so it was grooming and plaiting and off to a party.

Area Festivals

We turned up at a new venue and the beautiful sunshine quickly gave way to rain which aptly reflected my mood. Turns out it wasn't easy eventing dressage with the promise of jumping it was the real thing, posh trotting against posh horses. I wasn't very impressed, my shoulder was a bit stiff and I did not want to tuck my nose in or "lighten my forehand". After 40 minutes solid work we reached a compromise and managed a pretty respectable 65.63% to come 10th in the Novice Silver section and qualify for the second rounds in the autumn. I even got to do a lap of honor which was fun though mum was a bit suspicious that after 3 hours stood on the horsebox I no longer had a stiff shoulder....busted!

The next day we were at it again, at least polo lady was there this time. I had to admit I wasn't stiff so offered to behave in the warm up, that was difficult to keep up as mum made it harder and harder doing fancy tricks and quick changes between short bouncy paces and big posh ones, wow that's hard work!
Into the arena and it was all a bit quick and complicated, I think I just about managed to keep up and mum was really pleased with me that I tried hard and was brave enough to try some medium trot. The judges loved my medium canter which we'd been practicing in our last lesson but apparently going backwards on the bit in a straight line still isn't any good if you don't move your legs in the right order and since when was I supposed to go sideways in the arena, I've always got told off for that before?!?
We came 9th and got another frilly but just missed out on qualifying as only got 61.76% and we needed 62. Apparently polos are not related to marks luckily and I got lots for trying hard.

Piece of advise to all ponies out there, DO NOT go badly after a week off then well after schooling 3 days in a row! Mum has now come to the conclusion that giving me a quiet June so she can concentrate on "the wedding" and princess Isla is not necessarily going to be the best idea so we're back to ride and lead hacks which are seriously dull as we have to avoid main roads and do what Isla says.

Monday, 8 May 2017


Wow has it really been over three weeks without telling you about me! The last couple of weeks in April were a bit of a blur, we took Isla on our last training hack which may have been a bit silly, turns out all this work has been paying off, I can keep up with her now and our jockeys were not best pleased by us racing over hills and rocks (at least that's what they tried to tell us but the big grins told a different story). Fitness work done with it was time to hit the school, I still had a few things to say about "upping my game" on the flat but the jumping exercises were fun and by our last lessons with both trainers we were starting to get the hang of it all. We ran through the tests at Tim's and picked up some tips on making it look more professional and went and jumped a course with Nic at Speetley.
Monday morning came around a lot quicker then was really necessary and I did not want to get out of bed, the presence of my show head-collar did not help.
After a lot of grooming I got loaded into a very full looking horsebox and we set off to somewhere called Badminton for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup BE90 Championships.
When we got there I got put in a stable that had grass on the floor, happy days! Unfortunately mum didn't reappear for over an hour by which time there was no grass and I was a bit cross. We went for a hack with Paige which was quite fun, especially as lots of other horses appeared to be doing stressage in the field.
On Tuesday we did Dressage, I felt great and mum managed not to interfere to much, everyone seemed very happy with the result. We finished the dressage in 62nd place, which sounded a bit naff until someone explained there were 107 of the best grassroots horses in the country here!

Back to my stable for some well earned polos and a rest, that was a bit of an easy day wasn't it? Must be something else happening tomorrow.

Wednesday morning was rather windy and everyone was very excited about something. I have to admit I was a bit naughty for auntie Paige when she took me for a walk so I got put back in my stable fairly promptly. Mum was a total spoilsport, she wouldn't even let me assault the polo lady for sweets whilst I was being plaited and groomed. When she got on we went for a wander round which was rather exciting, we watched two other ponies remove their jockeys before they even made it to the warm up and one jump out the arena, what fun! Apparently I wasn't allowed to watch anyone else after that in case I got ideas so we had to go and do some boring schooling. When it was our turn to go in the warm up I was sooo excited, there were loads of people around so I showed off my best leaps in the air and pinged over whatever jumps got in my way, mum even took her spurs off but auntie Paige looked a bit white for some reason. Into the ring and there were so many people there to see me it was great. Unfortunately mum and I couldn't quite agree on an appropriate pace and a couple of poles may have ended up on the floor but we got round and I didn't spook at all the people or flappy flags or the horse that came in when I was half way round, I think I was quite a good boy really.

The cross country warm up was a bit scary but now I knew what was going on I was pretty relaxed, I love cross country these days so we just warmed up and off we went. The course started off nice and bold, I could gallop and see where I was going, mum said I needed to look at number four but I had already looked and knew what I was doing. There's some cool footage of number five here Fence 5 Slo Mo thanks to Nic Barker. Things started to get a bit more interesting at Fence 8, mum insisted I slowed down to look what I was doing and initially I thought she was just being boring but I soon learnt as we went around that it wasn't always obvious and I needed to check out what was going on when she told me to as there were some very different jumps to what we have done before.

Having got the hang of looking where I was going it was great, there were plenty of interesting questions but nothing we couldn't handle, I got to do some galloping and even managed to take a stride out at the table to catch mum out, I am such a clever boy! When we got to something called the lake there were soo many people there to watch me, I showed them my posh trotting
We had to slow down towards the end as the beeping thing on mum's hand kept going off at the wrong time so by the end I wasn't even out of puff. It was all such fun I wanted to do it all again. Unfortunately mum gave me to Paige to take me off on my own as I wanted to go back into the big park to meet all my adoring fans...apparently that wasn't allowed but some of them came back to the box to see me and give me sweets. We came 50th in the end which was in the top half of some seriously classy combinations, apparently we would have come 12th without the poles on the floor and got an extra rosette but I think that would be greedy, surely one is enough?
I spent the rest of the week chilling in my stable, I made some new friends called Clippy from World Horse Welfare and Mangoberry from Willberry Wonder Pony, watched lots of planes take off and ate my way through 3 bales of hay. Now I am home and chilling with the mares, Isla thinks she is back in charge but that's fine, she can think what she wants, I am the super star I always thought I might be!