My journey with Abbey & other horsey bits 'n' bobs



Result at the first showjumping of the year

Last Tuesday we competed in the 70cm and 80cm evening showjumping at Solihull Riding Club.

I’m delighted to report that Abbey was an angel.  She was cool and calm travelling, quickly relaxed at the horsebox and put up with a rather busy warm up.

The first round was good – we jumped clear.  I dropped my left hand on one turn which let Abbey drift out and cost us some time but other than that it was a good round.  Abbey took me to all the fences, which is a big change from the beginning of last year when every new fence was a potential dragon.

In the 80cm,we had one fence down.  We got a bit close to the fences in the 70cm so I let her run on to the second fence but she clipped it.  After that I returned to getting the more powerful canter that I’d asked for in the first round.


A good’un and a bad’un

Overall we’ve had a good day out and I couldn’t expect any more from Abbey.

She loaded and traveled well and was very calm and responsive in the warm up until someone turned out a huge horse and his miniature friend.

The pair galloped up their field which is adjacent to the warm up and Abbey (who was on a long rein) went from E -B in a nano second, turning 180 degrees in the process. After that Abbey was a lost cause; in between snorting and gawping at the minature we had piaffe and passage on the diagonal.  All my usual tricks (changes of rein, transitions, bending and flexing) to get her attention and clam her down had little effect.

Perhaps if I’d more time we could have got it together but only 10 minutes later we were heading into the arena to do our test (looking at everything on the way).

Somehow we managed to keep it together well enough to score 68.94% and came 6th.

The test itself was alright. At home practicing last week I was thinking about keeping her forwarding through the transitions, maintaining impulsion and correct bend (on the left rein).  Today  I was mainly trying to keep Abbey between hand and leg,and ‘catching’ spooks before the affected the test too much.  She shyed at the viewing gallery, at the judge and at my OH who was filming.

We’d 45mins in between the two tests and Abbey really calmed down.  The second felt much better, although she did start to feel a little tired.


First first of 2017

2017 is off to a great start with 67.85% and qualification for the second round of Trailblazers.

Sadly there’s no video…not sorted that out yet but we got some really constructive comments from the judge and some really encouraging remarks.

I’m delighted that we got 2 x 8s for our upwards canter transitions (and one of the downwards), we’ve been really working on those.  The 6.5 and comment for the other canter-trot transition was fair – just shows how important it is to collect before the transition and that we’ve more work to do to get that consistency.

I’m disappointed with the marks for our 20m trot circles.  It’s made me realise that while I ‘get’ 20m in a short school, I need more practice in a long school.  Need to revise the H&H e-learning 1st lesson and practice in a full length school!

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First ODE & we survived!! :D

✓ Loaded    ✓ Traveled calmly   ✓ Dressage   ✓ Showjumping    ✓ Cross-country  ✓ Loaded   ✓ Traveled calmly

It was a little ‘blind leading the blind’…but we’ve survived our first ODE!! And here’s the proof:

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Trailblazers Championships 2016 – the full report

What a weekend!

To put this weekend into context Abbey is my first “proper” horse/pony.  Abbey hadn’t done much before I got her – she’s probably done dressage about 20 times.  Somehow during those outings we qualified for the Trailblazer Championships and as they are not far from home we thought we’d give it a go.

(Warm up) Day 1 was a little overwhelming – see the report. I probably didn’t help – despite my best efforts there’s no doubt I was tense.

It’s the first time I’ve competed at this level and the organisers certainly set the scene, marking the occasion with plenty of flowers, flags, banners and music. It was the first time I’d heard my name announced on a tanoy – that certainly got the blood pumping!

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Trailblazers Day 1 – The Warm Up


I said that we were going to use warm up to get used to all the sights and sounds of a big competition and I suppose from that perspective today was a success. From competitive view-point it was a bit of a disaster (61.5%)!

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Training for Trailblazers

Trailblazers starts tomorrow and I’m pleased with how our training has gone.

We started off schooling every other (more or less) and made good progress. I’d properly learnt 2 out of 3 tests and the practice runs showed where our weaknesses were.

We’re still working on our canter transitions and most wobbles/crookedness disappear if I keep my left hand up!

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25 days to go….

…until the Trailblazer Championships.

My entry is in and I’ve just 25 days until the first round of the finals.

It’s not ideal timing. Between work and illness Abbey’s had over 2 weeks off and during that time she’s put on rather a lot of weight and lost some considerable fitness. She wasn’t exactly skinny before but now she’s definitely podgy!

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Success at Kenilworth Show

It’s been a busy week for Abbey and I, culminating with our first proper show.

On Thursday we had a jumping lesson where we did some ‘athletic jumping’.  Our instructor set up a series of poles that were a little short for Abbey.  The aim of the exercise was to reinforce that ‘bounce’ is more important than ‘speed’.

Abbey got the idea straight away, and having trotted through the line of poles on the floor a couple of times we cantered through.  Abbey gave me a lovely short bouncy canter.  Bit by bit our instructor added jumps, until there where three.  Two small fences and a 90cm upright with ‘A’ rails at the end.  Although we only jumped for half an hour Abbey had been so good that we called it a day.

On Saturday we did our first proper show. We learnt lots….

Continue reading “Success at Kenilworth Show”

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