Merry Christmas! (and Boxing Day Hunting)

Christmas time is finally here after a long and tricky year. I am always exceptionally grateful this time of year for everyone and everything I am lucky enough to have in my life. Ponies of course included!

Christmas Eve all 3 horses had a ‘Christmas Jump’. Myself and a couple of friends built a small jumping course and practiced over it on our various lovely horses. Jazzy stuck to the simple lines as he is not quite straight enough to try tight corners and doubles yet. Still, he sprung up and over a 1.05m upright with lots of scope and grace tucking his knees right up to hasten and folding himself up tight in order to clear the fence. He is a clever and talented boy! I really enjoy jumping him and he is a pleasure to teach.

Storm was a live wire jumping! He has been so fresh recently, he misses the event season as much as I do I think. He is very agile and bounced over a 1.00m upright to finish the day.

Dice had his second rider on him today, he was LOVING it. He didn’t jump too high as his second rider isn’t used to jumping bigger fences but he still enjoyed himself and didn’t have any poles down at all. In fact only Jazz had a couple down as he got a touch close but he is a baby so I really don’t mind. They all were FANTASTIC. I tend not to jump them too much at home as I like them to keep their enthusiasm for it. Plus I do not want any lame or tired legs.

Jazzy is the only one who let me put a Santa hat on him 🙂 Storm was terrified and Dice decided it wasn’t going on his head! 

My jumping position could do with a bit of work! But Jazz was definitely showing off his scope on Christmas Eve. 

Boxing Day. I WENT HUNTING! I haven’t been Hunting for 2 years or so when my ex-hunter started becoming far too strong and out of control out on the field. I lost my nerve with it a bit and haven’t been since. However, my friends at the yard hunt regularly with the Rockwood Harriers (as I used to also) and I have been very tempted as they have been going out this season.

Storm is such a wonderful, calm and safe pony – I was sure he would be my best option. (Dice is a complete no go! If we hack out with a small group he starts attempting wheelies down the lane! He’s too over-excitable). I am still getting to know Jazz and as I am rusty at best, Storm is the one.

AND IT WAS FANTASTIC!!!!!!!

I have my good friends down at the farm who run the place to thank as not only did they wash him and get him ready for me on Christmas Day when the farm was shut but they took me in their trailer also. I am constantly overwhelmed at the kindness and selflessness of my yard friends. They are my second family. I do not know where I would be without them.

Anyway, Storm was immense! I was a little apprehensive and nervous as we set off but after a good trot up the road Storm settled well and walked nicely to the fields. Then we were off! It was my perfect type of hunting day. I do not enjoy hedges very much as my previous pony was bold and jumped fully over them instead of brushing through them. It unnerved me and I haven’t refund my confidence with them since. However, yesterday it was perfect. All walls and post-and-rails jumping. And I LOVE wall jumping! Dry stone wall country is my favourite. They were good fences, medium sized and very jumpable with just the odd one towards the end of the day slightly bigger. And my darling pony who also has not hunted before to my knowledge loved it too.

He jumped everything all day long. He stood when we needed to stand on the buckle end of my reins, he was fast and kept up when we needed to keep up and he jumped like a stag all day long. Fresh and keen. I was grateful for his knee boots as he is used to pampered British Eventing courses where there are no uneven lines on the tops of fences. He was booted up to the nines but his legs are like rods of solid gold to me.

I had my long-time, great friend Leah with me who goes weekly and helped me along a little bit when I needed a little confidence nudge. But I loved it. I am definitely going to go along more and drop it in to our routines a little bit. So much fun! My riding wasn’t a total atrocity either which is excellent and I only really ballsed up one fence for him, and because he is Saint Storm; he jumped it anyway. I got some FANTASTIC pictures too! So proud and so happy.

***Quick Disclaimer – The Rockwood Harriers are a drag hunt. The hounds go after an artificial scent. I do not support killing of animals, I go because myself and my horses like to have a good time jumping across the country.***

Hope everybody had a very merry Christmas! xxx

Merry Christmas – Love Jodie x

Storm admiring the hunting field in the afternoon winter sunshine.

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WonderPony on his first day out Hunting and loving it 

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Knees up, look sharp over the rails!

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More of my favourite dry stone walls. Fab day!

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