“I had a very sedate Christmas period by my standards, which although relaxing, means I now need to get going in 2016. The horses have had their saddles checked and the osteopath out so it is all systems go.
This week we started with dressage boot camp taking Beau and Dougal for a dressage lesson (first since October!) If I put as much effort into hock engagement and suppleness as I did colour coordination we’d be getting 9’s all the time (see photo!) I really need to concentrate on ensuring Beau works consistently and evenly from behind, and many transitions within pace for Dougal to create suppleness through his neck and back. Always feel like I have had a good work out at the end of 2 lessons!
After such productive dressage lessons I decided we should be show jumping at the weekend! This would be the final opportunity for Dougal to qualify for the Blue Chip Championships Discovery. With Friday came snow and ice and a lot of head scratching to decide if going out in the lorry at 8am Saturday morning was going to be possible. Lorry loaded up on the off chance and evening spent checking weather reports.
6am Saturday morning didn’t seem too bad so boiled a kettle to scrub Dougal’s hocks and horses done I returned to house to get a brew and husband. Upon going back outside at 7.45 it seemed everything had frozen, including all locks and doors on the lorry and the ramp! Questioning my sanity we liberally applied deicer and with a little shoving and pushing we got the ramp down and bundled Dougal in in his pyjamas still!
On arrival at Aintree it appeared that show jumpers are made of tough stuff and there were over 70 in the first class which was still running and 84 entered in the Discovery. Entry made and number down to jump 50th. Course was fairly straight forward, although possibly catching out the young spooky sorts I didn’t think Dougal would be too affected. He jumped a foot perfect round, which meant a nice long wait to jump off! 30 odd horses in the jump off and we were drawn 5th to go. Quick warm up and in, jockey was concentrating so hard on the turn after the first fence I forgot to ride the first fence, which resulted in me going for a steeplechasers stride and Dougal chipping in a short one and having it down! Opps, can only blame myself. Even taking the long routes after this we would have been well placed. Never mind, quickly bundled Dougal back on the lorry and drove home in a blizzard! Arrived home a mere 10.5 hours after leaving home, phew! Those long summer days out eventing now seem rather appealing!
Looking forwards to starting Beau on Muscle Up this week which should complement our flatwork regime.”