The next best thing to going eventing would be training and January has been full of training! We have had some brilliant sessions and I feel that in particular our jumping has been going from strength to strength and I seriously cannot wait to get out eventing in March. I began January on holiday and had a lovely birthday away in the Alps in France. After a relaxing break I was looking forward to seeing the ponies and get cracking!
We headed to a BE 12-21 training evening with Micheal Pavely where we practiced keeping our eyes up and looking for the next fence in tricky combinations, as well as turning our bodies in the air to allow the horse to turn their shoulders too. It was brilliant to have some local training in a warm indoor school even though it was dark. Often winter outings in the dark aren’t always too enjoyable but the great facilities at Writtle College, combined with top class training meant that mum and I came home smiling and keen to do more.
The following weekend, we drove to Aston Le Walls for a lesson in the KBIS arena with Georgie Strang, very kindly thanks organised by KBIS. I felt lucky to be at such a brilliant venue with Georgie and was so excited for the lesson. Felix was an absolute super star for our first XC since last season and showed his class through some tough Novice combinations. With the incredible guidance from Georgie we worked on getting Felix to relax and soften so he isn’t as strong for me on the XC, and we also did lots of skinny and arrowhead practice too which will help us lots as we come into the eventing season. After my lesson, I did some filming for KBIS (a completely new experience but a super fun one!), so keep your eyes peeled for a video soon. It was lovely to meet Emma from the KBIS team who has made all of this happen!
In this school term, I have been fortunate enough to be allowed to have Thursday afternoons off to come home and ride the ponies, which has been a god send so far, as I have been able to begin fitness work in the daylight hours. I think Felix appreciates it too, but considering that Thursday ‘s are now my allotted ‘flatwork/polework’ sessions, I am not sure that he is too impressed- he would rather be jumping or hacking with mum!
On the 26th of January, following a very enjoyable and social evening at our Pony Club Ball and less than 5 hours sleep, mum and I headed to Topthorn Equestrian Centre for our next training session- a day with National U18 coach, Caroline Moore. The morning session was a flatwork and polework lesson where we focused on improving straightness in our riding and balance in counter canter. Felix was a little tense to begin with but I think he just wanted to get on with the jumping- especially since he saw some big brushes outside the arena! At lunchtime, Caroline gave an interesting presentation on the BE squads, skills needed by horse and rider to succeed, and demanding perfection during all sessions. This made me think about everything I do in my riding routine; from getting Felix in from the field to washing him off and putting him away, and making sure that everything I do is done to the highest standard possible. In the afternoon, it was jumping time and Felix was super keen after eyeing up the jumps earlier. We worked on holding a line throughout combinations and keeping rhythm around a course. Felix was jumping his socks off and flew some very difficult exercises- I have to say, I was chuffed with how he went!
Next month we are hoping to work hard on our flatwork and fitness to ensure that we are prepared for our first event at Isleham on the 2-3rd of March. I also am hoping to XC school on grass and perfect my riding routine to make sure that we perform to the best of our ability this season.
Until the next time,
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