EQUINE - Young Riders Blog Oct 2017
1 Oct 2017
LEIGH-ANN ALLAN FROM PERTHSHIRE. NORTH OF SCOTLAND WINNER
That’s a wrap! I cannot believe how amazing this last month has been with the end of my first season eventing, getting to compete at Blair Athol horse trials and all my training being moved up another gear to exceed all my aspirations for this year (and next!).
Firstly Blair Athol arena eventing was such an amazing experience and really fun day. I’ve never ridden at such a big event nor have I actually done arena eventing before so was a new challenge but was lucky to be supported by some of my really good friends. Like everything it did not go without a hitch, the main being my trailer breaking down on my way to my last training session four days before Blair. Just my luck really! However always looking on the positive at least I wasn’t miles away from home which meant I could get back to the yard to get rapidly on the phone to my dad (who’s a mechanic – very lucky!). A few days of stress and worry that it wasn’t going to be fixed in time for Stirling trailer services to be awesome in getting the parts to us the day they were ordered and my dad working after hours to make sure it all in good working order. The event was really nicely set out with a lovely course that wasn’t too testing and as I was walking it with my amazing friend Sasha we were trying to figure out if they had been put up to 1m. Funny how a horse can completely change your perception as just a few months ago I would have been panicking at that height. Dee jay flew round the course just rolling a couple of poles but I was over the moon with how confident we were both feeling.
Moving towards the end of the season I wanted to end on a really high note after struggling to decide what was best to do I continued my show jump training with Stephanie O’Neil where we have been regularly training and now jumping 1.20m courses!!! I also regularly train with Adrienne Taylor for my flatwork and I cannot believe how much I have learnt and how much we are improving all the time which was definitely highlighted when I took dee jay to Gleneagles dressage and we got 1st place in the Prelim and Novice tests resulting in us winning the novice summer dressage league!!!
I decided that for our last event of 2017 we would go for a road trip to Alnwick ford BE event but instead of entering the 100 class I went for Novice! I went and walked the cross country as soon as I arrived as I knew this was going to be the biggest challenge of the day! In hind sight I should have waited as I was feeling sick after the third fence! What had I done!! As soon as had walked the whole course I phoned Sasha who was on her way down to say I can’t do that it’s HUGE! So after a pep talk I decided to take each stage as it comes…starting with dressage. Dee jay was super excited which wasn’t making my life any easier as I was on my own – trying to juggle a fidgeting horse, poo stained legs, a broken stick and white jods while also ripping a hole in my hairnet isn’t very easy! However he settled nicely in the warm up and produced a lovely test for 32.5. Show jumping next and the course was tight and the ground ‘dead’ not entirely ideal for my first time jumping this height in competition but after some help from Stephanie to warm up we were ready. Dee jay was amazing so keen but I unfortunately just over rode the last stride into the oxers resulting in 3 down but I couldn’t of cared less! Now cross country was I going to do it? I decided to get ready and warm up, but I was the only one in the warm up. The starters asked if I was ready which I was like well if I don’t go now I’m never going to go and I was actually going to throw up! Dee Jay was AWESOME taking on every fence we came too. He is such a pro! I cannot believe we have went from BE90 to NOVICE in my first season and to not have a single cross-country fault just proves how lucky I am to have such a special little horse!
Dee Jay is now having a well-deserved holiday while I’m back to reality with my final year of university underway but I’m starting to get excited for our adventure in November! To top of this amazing month Vicki, harbro’s equine nutritionist, came out to my yard and taught me how to calculate body conditions scores, which thankfully dee jay scored a perfect 3 (Phew thought he might gain a bit of a holiday belly!), and I look forward to feeling how amazing my special little dude will be on his new and improved diet.
ROSA ONSLOW FROM HAWICK. SOUTH OF SCOTLAND WINNER
So, I have had a very busy November doing some winter training with Diamond Sundance. I have had a few two-day training sessions with dressage guru Ian Woodhead, which are brilliant at helping me up my game in this phase. He notices the smallest details that can make the biggest differences in improving the quality of work. Lessons are not for the faint hearted as insults are a regular occurrence but I feel as if I have made a massive break through on Sunny and so I’m now very excited for next season and contending him in GB Young rider trials. I have also been lucky enough to have a couple of lessons with Ian Stark jumping around some big training tracks and working on improving my quality of canter so the bigger jumps feel easy. Although it can be a little intimidating when I jump one upright at 1m and then get told to jump round a 120cm SJ course! I have also managed to get Sunny and our hunter to a BS show. It was great fun and I was thrilled to have 6 clear rounds ranging from 90cm-130cm. It feels great when you can put your training at home into practice and it pays off! I also managed to fit in two days at HorseScotland Performance squad training. It is incredible how lucky the squad are to receive such expert advice from the whole team there and I feel it was here, where I started to properly click with Sunny.
All our horses at home are feeling and looking better than they ever have at this time of year, and I really do think that is thanks to their feeding (all of them are on Harbro Cool Conditioning cubes and United Farmers Alfalfa Chaff), and all are receiving comments on how well they look. It is starting to get very cold and miserable at home and so it is great that I have managed to get out and about so much, when this time last year we were snowed in! RLE Limbo Kaiser is now on his much deserved winter holidays after a very long season, I still cannot believe I successfully stepped up to 3* and advanced level! Frank is now in trot work and feeling very fresh – you wouldn’t believe he is almost 18! To keep all our horses happy, we have been doing lots of hacking, which I feel is our one secret weapon, living in the middle of nowhere; we can gallop for 45minutes with no gate or roads!
I am very excited as tomorrow I have a showjumping lesson with the phenomenal showjumper Geoff Billington – which I think will be extremely helpful and I have heard he is brilliant for teaching you exercises to do at home. I will then take Sunny to one more BS show in Ayrshire before his winter holidays. I also have a very exciting holiday as I head off to Kenya for a riding safari in the Mara. I am SO excited, especially as I will have my birthday and Christmas out there! I cannot wait to write all about it next month! I have also just heard I have got into Newcastle university to read Economics and Politics, which I am thrilled about as it is close enough to still be able to ride the whole time!