Despite a few manic days moving house and yard all of the horses seem to be beautifully settled in their idyllic new surroundings. We have stacks of grass, increasingly plump ponies and about 10,000 swallows nesting that, whilst rather pretty, seem to be on a permanent mission to cover not only my car but also the horses in bird poo on a daily basis. One of my lovely owners, Anne, has visited from the Isle of Man to see her boys new quarters and we thought it only right that she should help me road test the local drinking holes.....a big thumbs up!!! Anne has two super geldings with me that are aimed at Small Tour next year, so hopefully they can accompany Pasoa and I on our overseas adventures soon.
The latest trip for us has been to Aachen as part of the Nations Cup team - perhaps not my best ever performances but an incredible show to be part of nonetheless. The weather was typically inclement; cold with perpetual drizzle which put paid to the sought after photo opportunity and Pasoa
felt a little 'on the hand' and sat behind my leg which meant rather costly
mistakes in the canter work. Somewhat frustrating as she has been on
fabulous form at home. Whilst surmising and munching my twelfth cheese and tomato crepe a rather illustrious trainer/rider and judge astutely commented "looks like she needs one in the chops and two in the guts!!" Succinctly put and rather stopped my après show over analysis in its tracks. On my return home I therefore headed off to The College at Keysoe to run through a Grand Prix in the pick your own class. What a great plan! The percentage was irrelevant as it was a perfect chance to school her through the floorplan, correct mistakes as they happened and take a strong half halt or kick on as necessary. I think the horses sometimes get wise to the fact that we 'sit pretty' in the ring and need a reminder to give that extra ten percent.
I have also been fortunate enough this month to squeeze in another filming session with the horse hero team. This time round we filmed Erik and I working with Blackie and Pasoa, one of Georgies lessons with me and a typically erratic schooling session with the infamous B! Sadly before the cameras started rolling B had one of his characteristically special moments......so a real pity that we didn't manage to catch it as it's spectacular viewing!! I wanted to use him as its all to easy to float around the ménage on more advanced or straightforward horses making it all seem terribly easy, talking about what we should and shouldn't do - but a tricky ride is a much more realistic portrayal of the day job and will hopefully help anyone else persisting with a difficult ride take comfort from my struggles and feel less alone!
The other big bonus result from my move has been to spend more time with my family. My elder sister has three young kids that she is determined to make pony mad(all under 5years so she's both brave and crazy), therefore for Henry's fifth birthday we headed to the Lavenham and District Riding Club local show......Billy(the gorgeous Exmoor pony) and Max the dog were entered in every class possible; veteran, fancy dress, best handler and waggiest tail to name but a few. The fancy dress class was an epic display from my sister and brother in law of imagination and steely determination to raise them from last years second place - and I'm pretty sure it must have left the other competitors quaking in their boots. Billy was dressed as a valiant knights steed forming part of the tableau of 'George and the Dragon,' with one nephew a courageous knight, the other a fire breathing monster and eighteen month old Princess Jemima aboard Billy with a sacrificed pashmina flowing from her headdress. It was without question a red rosette and a definite 10/10 for effort. It really made me think that there's a lesson for me here - an approach like that towards my next competition and the sky's the limit. Hence an auf wiedersehen from me as we are off to Perl CDI4* today.......where with renewed confidence and a determination to be 'infront of the leg' I hope we can be the jewel of the