After a busy few weeks Beamish has had an easier time the last few weeks. First up was the pony club young instructors course. This is for people who have passed their A test in the last couple of years and I’m very lucky that the course is only 10 minutes up the road! It started on a good note with it taking me about 20 mins to get Beamish in his stable!
The first day we had a flat work session with instruction from others on the course working on position. Then the next day came the fun bit – we swapped horses and again gave each other lessons and we also had a lesson from Corinne Bracken which was very interesting, we also took it in turns to take lessons as groups with help from Corinne. It was very interesting to see different people in Beamish and to get fresh ideas on how to improve him and help him with his left canter. I also got to watch him jump and It was so nice to see how clever he was and what a nice shape he can make when he gets it right! It’s not so great when he thinks he’s Pegasus or a racehorse!
After this we headed to Chepstow the day after the BE event to have a training session with Sarah Spencer-Williams organised by BE. It’s the first time we’ve been XC schooling straight in to a full up 80cm course. This involved a suspicious look at pretty much every fence, not what I was hoping for but he did get the hang of it about half way round and flew up and down steps and straight in to both the waters – so much so in to the second water I lost my stirrup but he stayed straight and out over the 90cm house.
Then as they say “go out with a bang” (this was not what I had in mind but I was very glad to be wearing my air jacket) as I landed at the base of the last fence after Beamish did a stop that any western reining horse would have been proud of – naughty! I got back on cautiously as I didn’t realise how much safer the air jacket makes me feel going XC and jumped over the first again and then back in to the last where he happily jumped it – I need to explain to him his life might be easier if he jumped things first time!
And then some dressage tests – we headed off to our local hunt dressage again to do a walk and trot test and a long arena prelim. We warmed up a little wildly for his first test as he had a friend in tow this time, Show off!! He did a nice test in the walk and trot but nothing special then went straight in to the prelim. I was a little under prepared as my brain can’t cope with remembering two test so I hadn’t looked that the second but had it called, would have also helped if I knew the letter of the long arena as I went wrong! But the good points are that he cantered on the left leg first time and stayed straight for a whole 60m centre line twice!! We came 1st in the W&T and somewhere near the bottom. I think next time out we might have to try two prelims and see how that goes.
Next up on our quest to be an eventer was some more SJ practice which then turned in to some XC schooling as well. Again as last time we set up an 80cm course and popped around, he did have a look at one or two but on the whole he’s getting a lot more confident about the whole thing, a little too confident at times which in turn is causing more problems. He’s starting to rush at the easier fences and this is causing him to have some fences down in front when he’s normally very careful. Then we tried some XC schooling at a new venue for Beamish. He was great and we had a lot of fun, again jumping very nearly everything first time and even some of the open fences, only the nice ones but still very pleasing. He even jumped the ditch first time, and second then decided that twice was enough and then refused the ditch the third time. I didn’t want to leave on this note as I don’t want him to think he can get away with things like this. I took us 30 minutes but we did get him over it, twice! And then decided I wasn’t going to push my luck for a third time!
After him rushing and being a bit rude I decided to put a loose fitting flash and a loose running martingale on him to try and stop him. He used to wear a flash every now and again at work when he got a bit strong and after a few days it came back off so this might be the case with him jumping but I will see how he progresses.
There is still a good lot of work to do but I think he’s starting to look and jump more like a event horse than a race horse now. Next up: actually trying to be an eventer!!