Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Keeping it real and catching up with friends in A&E...

   New years resolutions made, January competitions booked, Regionals Championships entered....

January was off to a good start... then the frost came... unfortunately this led to an interrupted training programme. We managed to keep all the horses ticking over with increased afternoon hacks and riding in half the menage.

My riding and training unfortunately came to a grinding halt on Saturday when I came off a horse whilst getting on. 
The NHS was amazing and I was seen to very quickly and prompt X Rays were taken. Whilst waiting for the results I bumped into a friend whose daughter (whom I was riding with half an hour before) had just been rushed to hospital following a fall! Luckily she has no major brakes either!
The doctors said they had four other horse riders in A&E that morning and were wondering what was going on...

Its important to remember how much our horsey friends are effected by the weather... And no matter how many goals and plans you make you always have to be able to adjust and make a plan B, or C.

Thank you to those who are helping me whilst i'm one armed...

I am using the Arc Equine to aid my healing process (read about the Arc here) and  Diane Daynes has helped me along with some Kenesio tape (Visit Diane's facebook page here)

In good news... there are some perks to having a sling.... carrying the 14 week old Puppy Penny in it!

We made it!

Although the lead up to the Regionals 2017 has been a bit bumpy I'm pleased to say that we made it to Wellington EC to contest the Novice and Novice  Freestyle.
Cooter started the day in Novice 37 Gold.

He was first to go and did a good test. He was lovely to warm up and was not at all bothered by the spooky arenas even though he has never been to Wellington. He did a relaxed and rhythmical test but unfortunately had some green moments in the counter canter. He has only done a handful of novice tests but he finds most of it quite easy and shows plenty of promise for the future.

Tilly was entered in the Novice Gold Freestyle later the same afternoon. Tilly hasn't been out since October last year (though we did have pre regional outings planned!) but she travelled and came off the lorry like a pro.

Tilly felt good in the test... we were on the music for our mediums and she felt really rideable. Unfortunately very close to the end of the test we had a little explosion which affected our submission marks a lot (they are x2). It was a real pity as the test was going really well but i'm still really pleased with Tilly's performance, just a pity our 71% wasn't enough to qualify with even with an explosion 😉 .

One more regional to go :)

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Its over...

Well... my hand modelling career is probably over before it even began.
Due to the unfortunate incident that occurred at the end of January I have been struggling with a hand injury.
It's making a speedy recovery with help from physios and the Arc Equine which means competing at the Regional Championships is back on!
Nothing like last minute!!

I have had some very exciting news from British Dressage...
Merri and I have been invited to compete in the Inter I freestyle at the Winter Nationals...
This is something I have watched for many years and so thrilled to be asked to compete in this prestigious event!

Friday, 9 December 2016

The Finals

I was really excited to compete for the first time in the British Dressage Small Tour Championships.
It was a real surprise to qualify as Finn had done two Inter I's to qualify and the semi Finals was his third ever competition at this level!

 The Final Championships was hosted at Houghton Hall Equestrian Centre in Cambridge.
Affinity Bay travelled up on the Saturday with myself driving (eek!). We arrived in time for the midday arena walk before an evening test.

The evening test went well other than a blip in the 3x changes and another in the canter pirouette.
Finn scored 67% which could have easily been 70% if we had one less mistake. The sheets were very high marking for the good movements, however, scoring a '3' is always costly in a double mark movement!

The following day we contested the freestyle. Finn was excellent but the music crackled a few times which resulted in a couple of 'explosions!'.... which again were costly.

Overall I was really pleased with his performance. His general was of going was good and he is starting to get a lot more 8's on his test sheets which bodes well for the future.

Our Final result was 7th place after scoring 70% in the music class.

I would like to say a huge thank you to sponsors Blue Chip Feed, Equilibrium Products, Calm Leisure, Lisa SparrowHawk Performance Coach and Eqco Design- none of this would be possible without you.

And also a massive thank you to Phil for the fab photos.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

The NOT so Glamorous side of dressage...

   Rain, rain, and more rain... but it didn't dampen our mood competing at Bury Farm in search of those last points for British Dressage Regional qualification.

   We are happy to say the points were plenty with Jo Brett's wonderful Cooter scoring 68% in novice 22 and 71% in novice 38! Cooter scored very well in his transitions and canter work.

  Angela Coakley's Hero proved his stamina and bravery out in the pouring rain contesting medium 61. Luckily his Irish roots meant he wasn't adverse to a bit (or a lot!) of rain and he did a super test.
A few accuracy marks lost but we will blame that on the rain.... could have done with a riding hat with goggles and wind screen wipers!
Check out our video from the day to get an idea of the weather...The Not so glam side of dressage

Saturday, 26 November 2016

A Day of Firsts....

Myself, stand in groom Kate,  and Affinity Bay embarked on a road trip to compete in the Small Tour League competition held in Solihull, Birmingham.

It was a day full of firsts...
It was the first time Kate had groomed for me, my first time driving Finn, first time competing in the Small Tour League and we finished in First place! It was a really great day!

The journey went to plan- Finn didn't have any complaints about my driving and we had a civilised time with plenty of coffee (thanks Kate!). We arrived at Solihull with time for Finn to settle in and enjoy a relaxing massage in his Equilibrium massage pad.

In the Small Tour League you can compete at PSG or Inter I level. Affinity Bay was entered in the Inter I- you do a straight dressage test in round one then onto the Kur afterwards. This was the first time I had done two tests in one day since Finn was competing at Advanced Medium level!

Finn was lying in second place after the first round. He scored a respectable 67% but had a mistake in one canter pirouette and anticipation led to another mistake in the three time changes. The rest of the test was fluent and harmonious with some good marks, especially in the trot work.

Finn produced a stunning freestyle test- he was a dream to ride and I couldn't believe how "on" the music we were. Having only ridden the test once (which was when I did the choreography!) I was chuffed at how well it went! It was also Finn's first time running through the test as when I practiced it I had ear phones in as he can get rather excited when there is music playing!!

He scored 71% and went into the lead not only in the Kur but that also meant he was placed first in the overall competition!

We are over the moon to have qualified for the final in December!

Thanks go to Kate for being a top groom, Judy FW for the fab music, my trainers Ian Woodhead and Judy Harvey, Sponsors Equilibrium Products, Lisa Sparrow Hawk Performance Coach, Eqco Design, Calm Leisure and Blue Chip Feeds.

Check out our video from the day a Day of Firsts

Monday, 7 November 2016

It was a real shock...

 Affinity Bay has qualified for the  Nationals in April next year in the Petplan Inter I championships!

Finn won the Inter I finals at Houghton Hall after completing only his third ever Inter I test. The test showed a lot of power and promise.  We were thrilled to take top position. In the recent months Finn's performance has increased thanks to his new Blue Chip Calm feed balancer. We increase the portion in lead up to the event and I have found a real difference in his general attitude at away shows, he is more relaxed and easier to handle. Thanks Blue Chip- Its definitely  making a difference!

We had two horses competing at Vale View High Profile Show. I had been there once before for BEF Excel Talent Programme training but I had never competed there.
The show was efficient and very well run ...  One thing Vale View couldn't control was the howling wind... which was a real wake up call when doing early arena walks!! 
The horses were a little unsettled at the start of their night away thanks to high winds and noisy generators...a Munch Block from Equilibrium Products Quickly settled them down and gave then something to do.
(Watch our latest Advert promoting Vitamunch and the benefits of using them when clipping) 

Day one Merri warmed up beautifully but unfortunately got very tense in the arena... so day two we made sure we did the arena walk and she felt a lot happier about the spooky arena.
Her test was fluent, harmonious and expressive. The half passes in trot were real highlights for me and we scored 67% to finished 7th.

Finn also produced a blip free test and finished 6th- clever horses!

With Autumn in full swing and Winter drawing in we have the perfect opportunity to increase training as the competition season gets quieter.

This month I have been lucky enough to train with Stephen Clarke, Judy Harvey, Ian Woodhead and started to train in hand work with Diane Thurman Baker.

It hasn't all been training though...

At the end of October I was invited to the British Show Jumping Awards Ball with Blue Chip Feed- We had a great evening and got to brush shoulders with the BS stars and Olympians... I even got a #SKELFIE (a selfie with Nick Skelton). 
Some things just have to be done....