Friday, 4 December 2009

ooo...Scary tiger...

My latest scheme to prepare fly for anything he might come across at a show, giant tigers! =)

He was very unconvinced about it to start with, and gave it a very wide berth when we first saw it, but very bravely took on the tiger after that!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Back on Track

Finally, we're getting back to where we were =)

I took fly to a clinic a couple of weekends back with the riding club. He was brilliant, he did everything we asked, we jumped all the spreads first time (even the ones with scary fillers) and even did some of them with a bit of style as well! He's been doing really well at home, jumping spreads without hesitation and flying over everything else. He's also somehow learnt to go in an outline consistently, which he's never been able (or felt neccessary) to before; which I think is mostly down to a girl who works at the yard who's really worked with him and brought his dressage on.

With this in mind, I decided to take him to a show, and go right back to the basics. We entered a 2'3" class (we'd been jumping about 3'-3'6 at home). He went brilliantly, we jumped everything clear (a little fast though, he thinks small jumps are pointless and there to be galloped at!), really relaxed and just enjoyed it for once! We got eliminated though, not through any fault of fly's, I jumped the wrong course! But he doesn't know that, so we still achieved what we meant to; to build our comnfidence back up and enjoy it. After the class I schooled him in the warm up for the next class for a while, and he was great there as well. I was more relaxed than usual as I knew I wasn't competing, which meant that he relaxed as well and listened to me. I made a point of jumping the spread in there quite a few times, as we always have problems in the warm up, and he did it perfectly. We're just going to build it up slowly from here, we're going to a show next weekend and do a 2'6" and possibly a 2'9" as well.

I've finally got back on Blue again, I haven't had a lot of time for him recently (and I'll admit, I've been pretty scared of him since I fell). We've just been working on his flatwork, for some reason he acts like a totally different horse with me than with my instructor or the the girl I mentioned earlier, he just won't go forward for them. It's funny how horses are like that sometimes, I will never understand this one lol. I've been working on getting him settled and relaxed as quickly as possible in a session; he has a tendency to tense up and ride around with his head in the air for the first 10 minutes, before relaxing into an outline, but he's getting better. I'm aiming to get back jumping him soon (again, a combination of not having much time, and being a bit scared of him), just starting over poles and tiny jumps. We're definately making progress, and he's so sweet in his box, I still just have to go over and cuddle him as soon as I get to the yard! He's so affectionate, and reaches round to try and groom me back whenever I'm brushing him down. I really will miss this horse when he goes (but probably have a lot more carrots in my bag!)

Monday, 5 October 2009

madness, but brilliance

I thought it was about time I posted about my instructor. She's by far the best I've ever had, and I owe everything to her. She's been an inspiration to me since day one, when my old instructor walked out, claiming that my Dad's new horse was unrideable and he should sell it. She owned the yard that we were on at the time, and got straight on to the horse, and spent the next year doing all she could to make something of him. Since then she's been amazing. She's helped me so much with my riding, and has taught me to fall off, laugh and get back on again (something which should never be underestimated!). She's so laid back, never panics or shouts if I get it wrong, just laughs and makes sure I know how to do it right next time.

Onto the madness =) After seeing my fear of spreads come into play, she started working on it with me in our next lesson. Last week, after we'd just about cracked jumping little oxers, she put up a double in the school. By the end of the lesson, she had it up to about 3' (with the second element as a spread) and had me jumping down it with hands on my head, out to the side, holding my whip out in front of me like a tap dancing cane and even doing the YMCA at one point (much to the amusement of my friend watching me). And even more amazing, by the end I was laughing so hard going over the fences (which I thought were terrifying at the beginning) laughing so hard that I could only just keep my position straight! Genius!

I've found that instructors like her are like gold dust, and she has that rare gift of being able to push me to improve, but also to enjoy it at the same time =)

Monday, 28 September 2009


Just got round to transferring all my old posts from my non horsey blog, so they're all a bit outdated now, so here are some updates for you =)

My arms better now, back to riding normally again. Took blue through some (very) simple gridwork a few weeks back to give him time to get his little racehorse brain around it, and we succesfully went down a very small triple without panicing, knocking down poles or getting our legs in a muddle. I'm working on his leg yield at the moment which is coming on great, our flatwork's really begginning to come together, and I'm almost starting to enjoy dressage! I haven't been able to ride him much recently, too much college work but I'm going to have to do more over the weekend as he's only got a few weeks before he's up for sale.

Me and flyball are working on our issues with spreads (or rather, I am, fly's just going along with it) and I think (hope!) that we're getting there! I put up a double with the second part as a spread and we went down it a few times. I found myself concentrating so hard on my position (I knew my dad was taking photos so I wanted them to look good!) that I relaxed totally over the spread and felt great! I'm so proud of us both!

slight hiccup

Well, in any sport I guess you have to take the highs and lows (in this case, in very quick succesion, one minute I was very high above the ground, and then crashing down onto it the next lol). This particular low landed me firstly on the floor, and then in A+E (or 'emergency department' as I'm told it's now called).

I was riding blue in the school yesterday, doing some work over jumps to improve his technique. He was going really well, but panicked as the grid got slightly more difficult, so leapt huge over the second jump and then stopped dead and bucked (again huge lol). Needless to say, I fell (from about 6/7 feet in the air, considering that we went up before falling down). Landed heavily (thinking 'this is going to hurt!' as I fell), rolled across the ground (under blue's feet at one point), and managed to get up and straight back on remarkably unscathed.

I put the jumps down a little and tried again, thinking that he wouldn't do the same thing twice as he knew what to do over the jumps now. But no, something had short cicuited in his little racehorse brain and he did exactly the same again, just bigger. This time I wasn't so lucky and crashed down to the ground with my arm outstretched. Got back on yet again to make sure that he did something right before we finished, and then got off and went to hospital.

I've managed to strain ligaments, tendons, nerves, muscles and god knows what else in my left elbow, and strain my right wrist. Not allowed to ride for a while, which sucks, but I'm sure I can find a way to get back on a horse soon.

Blue again

A few more pictures of blue, 1 week later :) And I know I'm totally left behind on the last one, he jumped bigger than I was expecting lol, still, can't blame him for trying, I'll just have to give him a bigger jump next time :D

New horse on the yard :)

This is Blue, he's an ex racehorse, and at the yard for a short while to be sold on.

I rode him for the first time the other day, and totally fell in love with him. We just seemed to click with each other almost instantly. (I want to point out here that I don't believe we have a 'speshal magikal connection', he probabaly just likes my style of riding or something) Anyway, I took him into the school with Gemma and her other greenie, with the intention of just jumping a small crosspole a couple of times while she took her horse over a course, as he's never really jumped much, and had never shown any aptitude for it. Well, I cantered him up to the first jump and he absoloutely flew. It took me totally by suprise and he almost jumped me out of the saddle. I think we cleared the 1'6" jump by at least another foot and a half, if not more. After that we decided to try him round the course (about 2'3"/2'6") which was bigger than he'd ever jumped before, with fillers and spreads in it. He went like a total dream and cleared everything by miles, even though he'd never seen a filler before, let alone jumped one. Gemma said that she'd never seen him jump as well as he did that day for anyone, and that he was looking better than ever before. Now I've always wanted to own an ex racehorse and bring it on to have a useful second career. Right now, Blue is still green, so unlikely to find anyone who wants to spend the time with him to make him into the great horse he could be, he's likely to end up as a quiet hack, which would be such a waste. I just wish I could buy him, bring him on a bit and give him a chance to show what he can really do, he's got so much untapped potential at the moment, he just needs someone to channel it. A few photos for you, he's such a handsome boy!

First time ever over 2'9"

First time over a water tray

low patches...

Right now, me and fly are in one of those spectacular low patches that get us all down sometime. I've just registered us BSJA, as we've been winning at 3' unaffiliated classes and he has more than enough scope to go on.

The only problem is, It's been months and months since we jumped a double clear at a show.It's my problem more than his, I started being terrified of jumping spreads after doing my first couple of affiliated courses where they started getting bigger and wider. As soon as we approached one I just froze up and stopped riding, getting more and more annoyed with myself all the time. This made him as nervous as I was, and it all spiralled downhill from there, we'd get to a competition and refuse at the first spread we came to. Sometimes we'd have a better day and get over the first few, but once they went up in the jump off it'd be back to the same story. Occasionally we have good days, a few weeks back I thought we had it sorted, we went round a 3' course clear, but refused at the last (upright) because the ground was bad and he slipped, but next show we went to we got eliminated again. Right now I'm doing everything I can to fix this, and working as hard as I can at home to get us back to where we were, but it's just so frustrating sometimes to see people jumping spreads at shows, and getting totally left behind with awful technique, but knowing that they can do it, and yet somehow, even though I'm almost certain that I'm a better rider than they are, I still can't make myself do it.

My boy =)

I thought I'd start this blog by introducing my horse =)

Fly is an 11 year old gelding, came over from Ireland as a youngster and is your standard, run of the mill non-descript horse. As far as i know he is a thoroughbred x connemara but I haven't got a clue about his breeding. But, he is far more special than his breeding would imply. While he's not a posh well bred expensive horse, he has far more ability than it looks. It really is the best feeling in the world to go into a jumping class full of posh snobby, stuck up girls (of which there are a lot) on expensive horses looking down at my scruffy little horse, and then beat them. He is quite literally my life, and means everything to me. I do everything with him (except dressage, it's not our thing to be honest!). When we're on a good day (more about this later) he's unbeatable in a jump off, and has a huge amount of scope. He's amazing cross country, so bold and can get himself out of anything. We've played gymkhana games, jumped bridleless, jumped as many scary objects/fillers that I can think of to bombproof him (my favourite so far is shiny helium balloons under a fence) and hacked everywhere. He really is one in a million =)