Blog 2: The importance of two sponges....
We’ve had a busy few weeks getting Little Lexi and Tinka ready for their first events. I finally got around to buying Lexi her own saddle; a lovely second hand Devoucoux which puts me in much better balance, and makes everything a lot easier. I have to say I love it and Lexi seems happier too.
She XC schooled at Lodge Farm and Bonfleur and is gaining in confidence and thoroughly enjoying herself. I also schooled two groups at Bonfleur in what I think is probably the worst weather I have ever schooled in. The wind and rain was something else but fortunately the horses took no notice and we carried on smiling! We also SJ schooled Lexi at LMEQ, and I was especially pleased with this as she was far less green than at the Munstead combined training.
So of course the moment had to come for us to leave the start box; the first time for Lexi ever and the first time for me in four years. Gulp! We headed off to Munstead Hunter Trial and our task was to jump around the BE80 course. Crikey she went green, not at all bold and confident like her recent schooling sessions but wobbling and spooking at the fence judges and their cars. It was just hard work just getting her to the fences and then getting her to look at them! We got round but have work to do before we can enter a BE event. I have to remind myself that a year ago she had a habit of bolting. We have come a long way already and I love her to bits, she is a lot of fun.
Char has been up again and helped us with Tinka and Little Lexi on the flat. Tinka is looking really smart and has also XC schooled at Bonfleur and LMEQ. We are very excited about her this year; she will go to South of England Novice for her first event.
Lily went to Munstead for her first BE90 and did us very proud by jumping double clear. Anyone that has followed Lily’s story will understand what an achievement this is. I can’t tell you how chuffed I was. Her dressage however was something else (I found it best to pretend they weren’t with me). She was very fired up, left the arena more than once, and for the first time ever Martin’s score started with a 4. She also got loose in the lorry park. We wouldn’t want everything to be easy now would we?!
On Monday we took Lexi, Lily and Tinka to LMEQ for some clear round showjumping. It was really interesting as Lexi went very green again, having to go straight into the arena and jump without warming up in there. We need to do this a lot more! Lily jumped two lovely rounds, and Tinka was very perky popping round the 1m10 for fun.
Easter holidays mean I am very busy with training. Yesterday I was at the Area 11 Pony Club C+ and B Training Day at Crockstead doing the flatwork assessments all afternoon. I love this kind of work; loads of candidates came forward including two of our North West Kent girls, and everyone said how useful it is in preparing for the exam proper. In contrast today I was doing D and D+ tests for a local Pony Club Centre. One young girl was very serious in explaining why she needed two sponges in her grooming kit. “One is for the face” she explained, showing me how to gently wipe around the eyes. “You need to rinse it out between wipes so that it is always clean” she went on. “OK” I said, quite impressed with how grown up she was sounding, “so what is the other sponge for?” “That” she said, still looking very serious, “is for bums and poo juice.”