Blog 26: Just two sleeps
'To be a champion, you have to learn to handle stress and pressure. But if you've prepared mentally and physically, you don't have to worry.'
I quite like this quote as it shows how important being prepared is, saying that, despite being super prepared, I know with horses that anything could go wrong!! However I am keeping my fingers tightly crossed and bursting with excitement to get my reformed Lily pony out eventing this weekend!
When I left off, Lily and I were heading to Merrist Wood for the JAS, and as I have said in the previous blogs, Lily is a big fan of the arena eventing and JAS type competitions so has become a bit of a specialist! She warmed up really well and we went in to the Novice, there wasn't really many places to save time and turn tight, so it was just a case of letting her keep rolling forwards and trusting her to keep the fences up! I always say that when horses are going well, there is nothing you can do to make it go wrong, and that was certainly the case with Lily.. She knew exactly what she needed to do and cruised round finding it all very easy, she was very unlucky to just rub the penultimate fence behind, resulting in 4 faults and we also picked up 2 time faults but no one got inside the time. We were awarded a style mark of 4 and therefore finished on a total of 10 which was enough to win the class, what a clever pony. She took a while to recover after the novice and was definitely feeling a little flat, so we withdrew her from the open and saved her for another day, she had had a busy week and there was no point in pushing her!
I was then lucky enough to head off for 5 days skiing from Wednesday to Sunday, unfortunately it meant missing the JAS final but having not skied for 5 years, I wasn't going to miss the opportunity! I went with my aunt and uncle, cousins and my brother. We had a fantastic week with great weather. It is lucky my balance is better on a horse than it is on skis, or I would be in serious trouble!!
Straight back on it when I got back, with my two horses to ride alongside Catherine Heilbron's Woody whilst she was away! I also had my third BUCS (University) Riding competition, which was the turn of Kent to host. It was the most efficiently run day eve, which was much appreciated and we were lucky enough to ride some lovely horses. The team did a good job on the flat with the team leading going into the jumping in the afternoon, to say we nailed the jumping would be an understatement, all four team members won on their jumping horses which gave the team a win by a large margin. We also all placed individually, occupying the first four places. I won, Sasha was 2nd, Morganne 3rd and Alex 4th.
Last Friday I headed to Nurstead to take Lily cross country schooling. The ground was amazing and there was a fantastic range of fences to school over. Lily was incredible, she was so forwards thinking that she kept taking me by surprise by picking up on the long ones, rather than chipping in. A winters hunting has transformed her! There are a few photos below and some video clips in the link at the bottom.
Sunday was dressage day, and after a hockey social the night before, where we celebrated our win. However the excitement of my first dressage lesson on Coco since his injury quickly removed any tiredness and he was really good. He was working forwards into the contact which is where I have always struggled and I am hoping the break will have done him good - so far it seems that way. In the afternoon, we headed to Belmordean for a dressage lesson with Damian Hallam, which Lily always finds a massive shock to the system!! He won't let her get away with anything and believes that if I give an aid, 1. I should mean it (and not just nag all the time as that makes her angry!!) and 2. She should listen straight away (Stops me nagging and she is happy!). It is amazing the quality of work I get from her in these sessions, and he even commented on how good her paces were (coming from someone who sees some seriously classy dressage horses is quite exciting!) I got some fabulous medium trot, she was sitting and pushing from behind. After that session, I am aiming for sub 30s dressage at Aston, because we are more than capable of achieving that!
Sorry for the essay, short one next time as I will only have Aston to report on, and fingers crossed we will start the season with a bang (in a good way!!!)