Hurrah! The weather has improved, we’ve had a very busy month and it’s all systems go!

Herbie followed up his good run at Richmond with another fantastic effort at Warwick Hall in the Novice. I’ve not been to this event before and I have to say that I am very impressed with the standard of events ‘up North’ as despite the weather, the going is always great, and the Cumbrian views are amazing!

We managed a respectable dressage of 32, had one pole SJ and then a fab clear XC round a track that definitely didn’t play to his strengths being quite twisty and full of combinations. We had one slightly ‘uh-oh’ moment on realising that there was a fence actually in the water after the drop in, something we haven’t encountered yet, but Herbs had a good look, slithered over and completed the course clear with just a few tp’s.

The weekend after we attended one of the Gatehouse Stepping Stones training days run by BE for people wanting to step up to 1*. The day consisted of dressage and show-jumping sessions in small groups of 3 taught by Richard Carruthers. I had a great time and found it so useful. Richard quickly worked out that most of our little issues are down to me (surprise surprise) and I just need to stop chasing perfection all the time! I told him that it is because I’m so worried that I am letting Herbie down by not being good enough to ride him to the best of his ability, to which he swiftly replied that I created his ability in the first place as I produced him and I need to stop being so hard on myself and just enjoy it. We had a revelation in the jumping by realising that Herbie is so polite that he is over reacting to my half halts, coming back too much and as a result having poles down. Now in an ideal world I just need sit still and never interfere, however it’s a very hard habit to break and will take a little while! So instead we have changed to a Nathe straight bar and no martingale to allow Herbie to take the contact forward and up (and basically ignore me ????) and WOW what a difference! Really looking forward to seeing if it makes as much of a difference at an event as this is obviously where my nerves of not being good enough really take hold.

Next port of call was Brand Hall and the less said about that the better. I don’t often have bad competition days but when I do, I do it in style! A combination of getting lost, being beyond late, a 15 mins dressage warm up, a very annoyed horse and an attack from a savage horse fly meant we gracefully admitted defeat and left after the dressage. There’s always another day!

Lovely 4 year old Jalisca went to Chatsworth International Horse Trials for the BYEH qualifier at the beginning of the month, and what a star she was! Anyone who has been there will know what a huge buzzy atmosphere it is and she behaved impeccably, taking it all in her stride. Unfortunately she took a major dislike to fence 4 but I couldn’t have been happier with her and her owners thoroughly enjoyed our day out. I say it every time but I can’t wait for her future. She felt very tired at the end so we decided to give her a week off followed by an easy few weeks of hacking which she has really enjoyed and is now fresh and ready to start preparing for her first little event at the beginning of July.

I’ve had a super busy few weeks at work, preparing for our first public event at the Stud, selling 2 lovely youngsters that we have produced, foaling our second mare of the season, hosting (and completing) a 3 day First Aid at Work qualification, as well as keeping the rest of the yard ticking over. There’s certainly never a dull moment!

The plans for June are to take Herbie to do 2 Novices at Warwick Hall and Skipton, with lots of jumping practice in between so we can get used to our new bitting system and get Jalisca out XC schooling and show-jumping a few times ready for her competitions in July. I also plan on going for a day out to Bramham to walk the course for when Herbie is ready to go there in a few years time…………… Hey, a girl can dream!!

Carrie x

It’s been a while!

Firstly, sorry it’s been so long!

Following on from my last post in February, we have finally started the event season, albeit a lot later than planned thanks to the great British weather and a bit of a tumble resulting in me having concussion for a few weeks!

We had a few months of depressing texts from BE telling us everything we had entered had been abandoned, but at least it gave us time for plenty of training! I was lucky enough to be chosen to be a demo rider at the BHS National Convention and had an amazing lesson with Chris Bartle working on xc technique for difficult fences. Chris worked us hard and I learnt so much which has really helped me so far this season. As well as this poor Herbie was subjected to lots of dressage which he wasn’t too impressed about, and lots of XC schooling where he was a lot more enthusiastic!

Finally the sun came out and we have now completed 3 events successfully and are back into the swing of things! Due to all the cancellations, our first event was actually Kelsall Hill Novice rather than a nice little BE100 as I had planned – nothing like throwing him in at the deep end! Given the lack of practice and a less than ideal run up to the event, he coped really well and other than being very ring rusty in the SJ we had a pretty good day! He really impressed me with how bold he was xc as he tackled it with ease despite me leaving the handbrake on!

After this we decided to have an easy run at BE100 to get our confidence back in the show jumping. This proved to be a very wise move as he produced a lovely double clear and was placed 8th which I was over the moon with.

Last weekend we stepped back up to Novice at Richmond. He produced his best dressage test to date which I was thrilled with as last year he was very tricky in this phase. All credit goes to my amazing trainer Silvia who has worked miracles in persuading us both that dressage can actually be quite enjoyable! Sj was much improved from Kelsall around a very up to height track. We still rolled 2 poles but they were genuinely unlucky and no fault of his so I am certain with more outings we will get this phase nailed. As usual he produced an immaculate clear xc, making nothing of some pretty big solid fences and I actually rode forward and made the time! We were just outside the top ten but I couldn’t be happier with him and I am sure the placings at this level will come very soon!

Jalisca has also started her competitive career with a few local outings to familiarise her with a show environment, followed by her first big outing to Badminton to compete in the Burghly Young Event Horse qualifier! It was a bit of a baptism of fire given that it was such a huge atmosphere and she had a lot to deal with but she took it all in her stride and really impressed with her attitude. There are great things to come from this lovely mare and myself and her owners are very excited about her future.

Over the next few weeks Herbie is entered in the Novice at Warwick Hall and Brand Hall and Jalisca heads off to Chatsworth on Friday for another BYEH qualifier and will then start her xc training in preparation for her first BE 4 year old qualifier at Stafford in July. Both horses are in fantastic form and looking fit and trim thanks to their Trickle Nets!

So that brings us up to date and I won’t leave it so long next time!