Is it Spring yet?
It’s been a roller coaster of a few months. I was so incredibly lucky to have had a fantastic 2017 season with the most amazing ponies- of course competing at Badminton on Arkmire Mr Slipper being the serious highlight and having produced Hillgarth Rachelian (Elle) from scratch to her exceeding all my expectations and her winning both her first and second event off the trot.
But as horses go, with the highs you get the lows and it all ended quite quickly. Sadly due to a change of the owners circumstances Arkmire Mr Slipper was sold in the Summer and I then decided to turn my attention to 4yo Hillgarth Golden Opportunity (Dram) and just enjoy some down time doing some local shows and gaining vital experience for him. It made quite a nice change not to have the silly o’clock starts and not to have as much of the stress, although trying to keep a palomino youngster clean actually proved to be more stressful than I imagined!
The stress sadly didn’t end there, coming into winter Elle just felt a little different to ride- I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, nor see anything which was just making me worry more! About 6 weeks prior to that she had just come 7th at the BD Native Pony Championships and she felt absolutely fantastic and I couldn’t have been any more impressed with how she handled her first big test atmosphere and stay away show as a 5yo. To cut a long story short, a fragment was found in her fetlock and she went in for surgery a week before Christmas.
So 2018 immediately started with a horse on strict box rest, not the most ideal of starts.. And since the new year it’s just been, wet, wet, WET! All the horses have had multiple short breaks due to the weather and Dram deserving a well deserved 5/6 week holiday over February and March, timed perfectly for the Beast from the East. In a way its a blessing in disguise not planning to event this season (or at least the first half of it anyway), as even if I had a horse to event due to how wet our hacking has been I don’t honestly think I could have got a horse fit enough in time.
As a result I’ve turned my attention to BD. We’ve had Cefncoch Crusader out numerous times to Alnwick Ford as due to his spooky character it seems to be taking some time to get him used to the judges shed at C, as in June he has PetPlan first rounds where there will be three judges, so three sheds, three times the spooking(!) He’s had a fab start by winning all but one of his tests so far this year. We are now fast approaching May and are really cracking down on any fine tuning and may try to get in some Novice qualifications too.
Dram has been doing a bit of everything, he completed his first working hunter, he has been XC schooling for the first time, he did his first arena event which surprisingly to us he won and we did our first show of the season the other week where he won both his classes and qualified for Equifest. He has a busy few weeks lined up with his first two big shows with NPS qualifiers and his first one day event. He really seems to enjoy jumping so we are seeing how things go as I would love if he could do the odd BE80/90.
Four and a half months post surgery, Elle finally has turnout which is a big weight off my shoulders and I have a much happier pony for it. During her last vet check they were extremely pleased with how she’s looking. We are now starting to introduce canter work and starting to incorporate short schooling sessions, so hopefully it won’t be too long before we can start going out and doing a bit of dressage again. We are just taking each day as it comes.