So.....start of the year, mojo found, brave pants fitted nicely, and off we go....challenge completed by May....easy peasy?!
I've even managed to make it through to April with breaking anything ( either bones in my body, or one of the ponies), and what happens............ the coldest, wettest & longest wintery start to the year I can remember since having horses. I definitely cannot be described as a fair weather rider, but the elements so far this year have had me beaten on more than one occasion.
Its not just been the lack of motivation in trying to ride outdoors in torrential rain, its been the amount of snow & ice. Even tonight as I'm writing this on 4th April, the snow is blowing sideways outside the kitchen window.... "Ne'er cast a clout till May be out" is a phrase to follow this year!
So what have a been doing this month when weather has stopped play? The start of the month wasn't great, as the Andrew Hoy clinic I'd been looking forward to with other Wobbleberries had to be cancelled due to the Beast from the East making an appearance. Lessons have been cancelled, and more often than not during March even just regular schooling or hacking was off because of ice/frozen arena/snow drifts or flooding.
I managed to book an indoor jumping lesson with Charlotte Ridley at Parkend Equestrian Centre....which was always going to be interesting, as Paddy hadn't been ridden for two weeks. I couldn't use that as an excuse, so put the brave pants on, & went for it. And after some great tips off Charlotte, we found our brakes, sat well to the bucks & had a complete blast. Charlotte has this great trick of being able to put the jumps up without you seeing until youre committed and heading towards it, but what a confidence boost to come out of that lesson jumping 80cm. One lesson and back on track time wise with the plan.
The following week, as still undecided who I'm going to compete on, took both boys to Angerton Steads Training Arena, for two show jumping lessons with Pauline (Patience of a saint) Wakefield. Pauline has been helping me with my bit issues, and had brought another to try. I decided to go on Paddy first, & we started off at 80cm, and jumped that all the way through. Another first for us. I was buzzing! Great advice with the change of bit, both horse & rider happy. Quick change of horse, & in my head, Id already told myself that I wouldn't enjoy it, Oscar would jump too big, be too strong, take off with me around the arena....etc etc. How wrong could I be? He was an absolute saint, to the point of looking after me and chucking me back in the saddle when I was about to bail out in the first og a double. We ended the lesson on a high, jumping a fence at 90cm, him making it feel like we were jumping 50cm....he is such a dude...but still giving me a headache over what to do?
I've booked both for a XC schooling lesson with Charlotte at Parkend, so will leave any decisions until after then.
My training kit from Bidfood arrived this week....& it looks fantastic...I feel like a real sponsored rider.... but Im still a bit "all the gear & no idea!!"
This week is all about Stressage, as me & Oscar are off to the Winter Championships at Hartpury. I don't know if this happens to anyone else, but now the nerves are kicking in, I've completely lost the ability to ride? Everything has gone to pot, so its very much a case of going for the experience and to get some nice photos! Once we get this out of the way, dressage is being parked, & the plan is to focus on getting to 90cm comfortably at home before we put our Wobbleberry entry in.
Hopefully back next week for a positive update!