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NSEA Jenna's February Blog - You Win Some, You Lose Some

February has been a long, cold, wet, windy, busy month.

On the 1st February, I was allowed to take George hunting again and we had a great day jumping ditches, large fences and even going through a stream that came up to George’s chest! Aggie, George’s owner was going on holiday so she asked if we could take care of him while she was away, so lucky for me we ended up coming back with another pony! George settled in very well, became best friends with Sparkle and I rode him nearly every day for the whole 3 weeks we had him. We hacked, schooled, had a couple of side saddle lessons and jumped 90cm bareback! I had a great time with George and luckily the school holidays fell right in the middle of having George.

I have been lucky enough to be offered the ride on Darcy, by Shirley and Emma Didlick which was a real honour this month. We are planning to do a few shows and see how we get on as the season unfolds. I am booked into a few clinics and I'm really looking forward to riding him in the ring. Darcy is a dark grey Part bred arab, with beautiful dapples and typically would show well in the Hacks classes. Unfortunately, I'm not old enough to take him into the Hacks qualifying classes this year, so we are hoping to do some intermediates and part-bred arab classes. Darcy is incredibly beautiful and he knows it! I have ridden him 3 times and each time it gets better and better, I absolutely love his extended trot, it is the best! He is very well schooled and so wonderful to ride and I can't wait to get in the ring on him. I still get to ride Cash, he came over too with Darcy and he enjoyed himself. He is a crazy little pony, who pretends to be scared of everything, but he really isn't and he loves jumping, something he didn't know until I showed him!

In half term, I rode Tess and Stitch at the PC Dengie dressage qualifier and did the PC Intermediate test. Tess was a very good girl and I think that was the best test we had done which put us into 1st place! My only improvement would be to work on the medium trot, I know she can easily do it; I just didn't set her up properly to show how well she can do it. I would have liked her stretch down more on the free rein at trot but I was still very pleased with her. Stitch also did the same test and it was the best test he had done and I was so proud of him which put us into second place which means I have qualified them both for the next area rounds for the Dengie Winter League. Unfortunately, this falls on the same day as one of my first shows on Darcy, so unless something changes, I don't think we can go.

The half-term was really busy and we got out and about most days. I went cross country schooling with Faith and Tara at Stratford Hills and Stitch was jumping some of the Novice fences! He really has so much talent and a massive jump. We have definitely conquered our ditch fear as he wasn't hesitating at all.

I had two side saddle lessons on George with Amelia Bevan and he was really good. I learnt that with George I have to give and take with the hand that he is leaning on and hold the other hand still and it worked! He isn't easy or straight forward, much like Stitch I have to ride perfectly to get the best out of him. Thankfully, Amelia is a great teacher and knows exactly what I need to do. She moaned at me a lot for letting my reins get too long, which really is something I need to stop doing. I also had two side saddle lessons on Stitch and in the first one, we had a jumping breakthrough! I wasn't being bounced around after the jump and we stayed balanced, such a good feeling! On my second, lesson I rode him side saddle in a snaffle and we had a dressage breakthrough! His canter was so good and we were working on shortening and lengthening his stride and finding his medium trot.

On the 19th February, I rode Stitch and George at the PC Dengie showjumping qualifiers where I rode the 90cm on George and we had 2 poles down because I didn't keep him balanced or steady enough, so the round was a little too fast. Stitch was also really fast and was clear in the 90cm but I was confused in the jump-off as I was told only to jump fence 8a, not b which was the final jump.  The 8b wings were still in place so I thought I shouldn't go through them, but I didn't realise that the timer was on either side of the wings and I had to go through them.  I was then given 4 faults for turning a circle to get back through them when I passed them on the outside. I was really disappointed as I would have qualified for the next round. We still got placed 6th and I finished off a great day with doing the 1m class, where I got 2nd on Stitch and 3rd on George.

I took my mistakes onboard and we then went to Forest Edge for the Sunshine Tour qualifier a few days later. I rode the 80cm on Tess and went clear in a speedy time to come 1st and rode the 90cm on George keeping him balanced and we were the only clear so also won that class! I was so pleased with them and we have qualified for the Sunshine Tour at Hickstead. I guess you win some and you lose some and that's how you get better and better. George went home with his owners who were also at the show, so although I was sad to see him go, we parted on a good note.

Let's hope it drys up soon and all the shows stop getting cancelled!

Take care