Some of you may be wondering why I only decided to event Beamish this season after having him 2 years as mentioned last week and I thought I better bring everyone up to speed! His last race was on 6th May 2011 at Aintree and unfortunately he sustained a tendon injury so was retired. A few days later I was asked if I would like to have him, so after his initial box rest at work he came home to have 9 months out in the field with one of my others. He then spent last summer showing as I wanted to give the leg every chance and not do too much with it on hard ground or jump him. So that brings us to now.
The week started with going to a local equestrian centre to do some show jumping. The aim of this outing was to see fillers. To start with we had set a course of small cross poles with the fillers just out to the sides, he popped around happily with the exception of the planks – they were definitely going to eat us! So we put them on to the floor & gotmy helper to walk over them and over he went – put them back up to a cross and voila – over he went! With Beamish I think the key is to let him look, process and then get on with it. After the cross pole course we put them back to uprights at about 50/60cm and pulled the fillers in so that just the small middle coloured part of the pole was showing and once again he just popped round, again a look at the planks but he happily popped then next time round even if his knees were round his chin!
On Monday we had our first dressage lesson of the season with my long suffering dressage trainer Sally Newcomb. He warmed up well but our main problems on the flat is to take a proper contact and he tries to carry his head to low, so the two ways we came up with to try and solve these were to really ride him forward, and for me then to try and sit on that trot, even rising is hard enough – hes very springy! The other was to nearly walk so he came up in front and then to ride him forward and try to keep him there. Our left canter problems also seem to have not gone away after his winter break – after a few attempts a few tantrums, which for him are to refuse to trot and just bounce in canter. When he does this I just have to take a big breath, chill, don’t get angry with him, he will trot and we try again, He does canter in the end and then if he breaks in to trot will always pick up left canter straight away! So if anyone has any helpful tips for me to improve out left canter strike off my ears are open – so far I have tried leg yielding in to the transition, small circles in trot and then canter & if he does canter on his right leg, canter a small circle on the right rein and try to force him to change (he doesn’t, he’s far too balanced for his own good!) At the end of the lesson Sally suggested we entered some local dressage on the Wednesday.
After a quiet day on Tuesday we headed off to our local dressage on grass. I had entered a walk and trot test and prelim 13, we arrived and warmed up and he was lovely and quiet for him, his outline was not quite as good as it had been on Monday but I think it will be a while until we can translate what we have at home to a competition. First up was the walk and trot, he did a sweet, all be it quite a green test but we came away with 2nd out if 15 – our score of 86.96% included two 10s!! Next up was prelim 13, I decided not to practise our left canter in the warm up as this can be hit and miss and I didn’t want to have a battle with him in the warm up. Off we went in to the test and our warm up hadn’t paid off it took us two 20 meter circles to get it but he did and the rest of the test was about the level we are at. We came 5th in this one again out of 15. So a very happy outing.
Next up was some more XC schooling – this time at Lincombe Equestrian. We started off over some very small fences without a lead and although he had a good look at some they were all at a height he could step over. It took him about 5 fences until we could trot or canter over a fence but he was quite happy after an initial look at them. After this we moved in to the bigger field with more normal sized jumps. He never ceases to amaze me – he jumped pretty much everything I asked him to first time including water, steps up and down (something hes never done before), his first corner and some skinnies – he even did a skinny after a step down. We still had a look at ditches but it was good to have Song with us again to give us a lead when we needed.
Another easy day followed and then it was off to Tack Farm to do some more showjumping. We started off warming up over some X poles and upright and then set off to do a course at 80cm. He jumped some very spooky fillers, a double and a treble. He had a good look at some before he did jump them but if I come in on a more forward stride he seems to think there’s nothing wrong with them so quite happily pops over!
This is when I realise this weeks blog is pretty much an “I love my pony week”, but hey this is what they’re for, isn’t it??