Blog 29: Communications skills
Happy New year to you all! Christmas has been and gone, we were lucky to pop away for a lovely warm holiday in The Gambia and are now back riding in the freezing cold and rain preparing for the new season.
Thereís been lots of SJ clinics at various venues to keep everyone ticking over and weíve now also had the first two pre-season XC schooling outings. The weather has been less than kind but it often is in January and February and you cannot underestimate the importance of having practised in the wet (or at least thatís what I tell myself when freezing icy rain is hitting me in the face sideways). Amazing to see combinations that were worried about cantering on grass a year ago now jumping BE80-90 fences out of the mud. Our own horses have been very fresh. We donít do an enormous about of competing in the winter, liking them to have a bit of a break, and young Millie in particular has been keeping Martin on his toes. I remember a youthful Harry doing the same to me years back on almost exactly the same spot of grass at Munstead, youíve got to love young horses! They are all looking forward to getting out again. The Ginger Rocket has to take this enthusiasm a step or two further of course, rearing up and boxing the windows inside the lorry and eventually hanging herself in her haynet. At twelve I can say that I am pretty sure Lily will always be a feisty redhead.
Ehren popped out to Saddlesdane at Christmas for a music clinic with the brilliant Gaynor Colbourn with the aim of putting together a PSG floor plan. She hadnít been out since October but held it together and was sensible, if not overly rideable. Then last week I took her for a lesson with Char at Parwood, and again although she came off the lorry like a raging bull she did settle and concentrate on the task in hand when I was onboard. With only eight weeks to Hartpury we now need to remind ourselves how to perform inside the white boards. Gulp!
Recent lessons have highlighted that I have got a bit more wonky than usual so Martin and I headed off to see Bobby Hayler for a Fitness and Stability clinic at Chelwood. This involved lots of balancing on pilates balls. One of us is more naturally cautious, the other gung-ho one threw himself into everything and hit the deck at speed several times even managing to graze his elbow on a soft arena surface wearing jumpers and a coat. It was a fun evening but also illuminating as the ball didnít lie. I am now being very disciplined about my stretches (which I do let slide) and am riding my ball at least five times a week. Hey itís warm and dry at home, this I can do!
The Bomber has been back to the vets to review her progress, and the fracture is easier to see now. Unfortunately so is another fracture that we didnít know was there. So with two fractures mending itís another 8 weeks in her stable for her. Sheís not very happy about all this and is going a little bit bonkers. It is also costing me a fortune in sedative every time the hunt are nearby. Poor BomBoms. She is like a very naughty 12.2 hairy pony but we have agreed with the vet that she can have her summer holidays in the field so she has something to look forward to.
The New Year always gets you thinking about what you could do better, different things to try, plans for the horses and clients, this sort of thing. So there I am, standing in the arena teaching. There has been a little moment of silence while I am thinking and what comes out of my mouth is ďyou know what, I think I would ride him nakedĒ. The absolute look of horror on her face. Communications skills Lamy, communication skills.
Coming up we have the final pre-season XC school at Tweseldown. Ehren will be back out competing after four months at home, there is Munstead Combined Training on grass, and then we will be taking young Millipede to Poplar Park BE90 to kick start the season. Woo-hoo!