Busy November Weekend

Whirlwind weekend! I feel like I have managed to pack quite a lot in. Jazz ended up doing the same thing both days. Longer and more intensively on Saturday and a short session on Sunday. We continued working on straightness and turning correctly in walk. He did quite well and grasped this idea quickly, carrying on from the days previously. As this went well, I began to introduce the idea in trot. I realised quickly I needed to use and awful lot of core strength to ensure he didn’t pull me forwards or tip me forwards as he was carrying his head very long and low. I didn’t want to make him wrong for this so just raised my hands to lift him up and carry himself better which seemed to do the job quite well.

We also had a go at canter but did not particularly work on anything except keeping him in a relatively consistent shape. I just want to get the feel of him first before I start work on that, but that is a few weeks off yet. As I said yesterday we are starting and the bottom row of the pyramid. But he went lovely and I felt really pleased with his work. I had an offer of a good friend who lives on a neighbouring farm of her accompanying me on some rides out to get him sweeter and calmer riding out too as he is very nervous on his own and I want him to build confidence whilst not creating bad habits such as napping/spinning. So very pleased. Brilliant weekend for Jazz.

Storm has been desperate for some exercise this weekend. He is really feeling his feet and as I am physically more capable of going faster than walk I put it to good use. He did some jumping. We kept the fences small (75cm – 80cm) for the majority of the session as we both needed to refresh our technique and he hasn’t jumped properly since our last event. I do not see a problem with jumping smaller fences. Particularly while building back up after some time off. Now at the peak of his/our fitness a course of 75/80cm is far too small. But his muscles need to get back into shape and my confidence always needs a little nudge when we start again. It is not that I do not absolutely love it, but when I get out the habit of jumping larger fences frequently. I do tend to under ride a bit which is of no use to anybody. We jumped a single fence at 90cm to finish we he bounced over happily so I was very satisfied with him. We will probably jump again in another 2 weeks time. I am a complete stickler for over jumping and tend to do as little as possible as most of the time, an established jumper needs working on the flat more than over fences.

We skipped round a short ride out today too and Storm – being a true cross country star – loves getting out of the arena. He was very forward off my leg and I think I will try to build up to longer hacks again in between flatwork time. We saw the very best of the end of autumn. The fog was dense on one day but clear and crisp the following.

Dice had a good exercise weekend too with his second rider. Canter work was the name of the game, which he thoroughly needed. He has a lot of energy and is a little too fat at the moment but he is fresh and keen as ever. He in particular feels very hard done by not being turned out every day and leans over the stable door like mad wanting me to do something with him.  All my horses need these rides out really. It just takes lots of time and I need to arrange my days better to give each of them adequate time out riding.

I also had the bonus of riding mum’s horse Jack today. Jack was my horse up until 18 months ago. He was a cracking hunting pony and we had some incredible days out with the Rockwood Harriers. However, he went very lame despite before this never having had a lame, sick or sorry day in his life. He is a very hardy, 14.3hh, Connemara pony and it happened practically over night. Anyway, cut a long story short, he had inflamed peddle bones in both front feet. He is extremely high energy and jog a lot and is a fast walker everywhere. I was mortified. However the vets were kind and said it was unlikely the work he did. Unfortunately he was not going to stay sound if he was to continue as a hunter or as a second-string event pony (which was my plan for him at the time). He would enjoy life as a happy hacker. Which is exactly what my mum does. She has no interest in competing but is a confidant and fun person to ride out with.

So, I threw myself back into the saddle and of faithful old pony and took him out riding too. So all in all, it has been a very full, final weekend of November. I hope the ice and snow stays away with December just around the corner…

Storm really enjoys his jumping, he is such a star. Picking it up again after a number of weeks is a complete pleasure.

The autumn colours on the lane are so pretty. Featuring Storm again!

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