The beginning of May kicked off with the start of my weekly side saddle lessons with Amelia Bevan. We are working hard as I’m entering the Side Saddle Nationals in August where I’ll be competing for Junior Rider of the Year 2019 on my new pony Stitch. Things have been going really well with Stitch despite being unsure if he would be happy ridden sideways! Up until last week side saddle lessons have all been on the flat and he has become more consistent, really surprising my instructor as to how well he has taken to side saddle. I was really looking forward to jumping him side-saddle as he has an amazing jump and has been a fabulous show jumper with my friend Jade Gemmill who has kindly loaned him to me. I was so keen to jump him and really thought it would be amazing as he can jump so well. At the end of my lesson on 23rd May Amelia decided we could have a small jump to finish off the lesson which I was really pleased about. However, the first go was not quite as easy as I was hoping! Stitch jumps very differently from my pony Tess and he is very powerful and really jumps with lots of excitement and power. This is a fabulous feeling astride but not so comfortable sideways! I really felt that I was almost jumped right out of the saddle and it really hurt my back as I felt jolted and uncomfortable landing. Amelia kept the jumps low but Stitch was jumping them huge! It’s funny as I always thought the flat work side saddle would prove a problem for us, but instead, the one thing I thought would be easy didn’t go so well. However, Amelia reassured me that we have lots of time to practice and she left her side saddle with me and told me to practice at home at least 2 or 3 times hacking out and having the odd jump. Amelia left instructions with me that I must really grip around the leaping head with my right leg and try and fold more over the jump. Mum spoke to Jade’s mum and sent her a video of us jumping and she said to get him going more forward to and over the jump like I would astride and hopefully it will feel smoother. Mum changed Stitch’s bit to see if he felt happier and I’ve practised 4 times now and I can definitely feel the difference. Yesterday felt so much more comfortable, so now I’m looking forward to seeing Amelia again for my lesson on Tuesday to show her that I’ve improved. Mum has sent her videos and Amelia has given me a big thumbs up!
Competitions this month have been amazing, I was lucky enough to be selected for the 80 & 90 showjumping team to represent Suffolk Hunt PC at Houghton International Horse Trials on 26th May on my ponies Tess and Stitch. It was a really great place to jump and was completely different from any other place I’ve jumped and I felt really important. In the 80cm on Tess, the team came 4th out of 19 teams and I got an individual place of 8th out of 78 competitors which I was so pleased with. In the 90 cm on Stitch we got 6th out of 18 teams which I was really happy about. Stitch did a lovely clear round, but we got 1 time fault for being too slow which was really annoying for me as it was my fault. It’s not an excuse, but the course changed and I got lost half way around and I went the long way to the next fence. Alison Barber was our PC team coach and she said she would help me find Stitch’s stride for a faster round at our next PC rally which was great as I had a rally booked with her on Tuesday 28th May.
The rally was a bit damp but great fun as usual. We did showjumping in the morning where we were told to take and count certain canter strides in between two poles and then jumped the course depending on what Alison wanted us to do. Stitch jumped amazing and then we did stable management followed by dressage and then cross country which was brilliant.
On the 19th May, I rode my friend’s pony Hardwick Cashman at the Norfolk & Suffolk AHS show in the ridden part bred and the Amateur ridden. Cash is a cheeky pony who is owned by Emma Jayne Didlick and she asked me to show him last year. He is quite nervous and sharp, but he has learnt to trust me and we are now having a fabulous time in the ring! We won both our classes and then we took Amateur Ridden Supreme of Show and then also went overall Supreme of Show! I was totally focused on making sure the judge could see Cash at his best and showing off his amazing floating trot! I got so many rosettes and a beautiful sash.
On the 12th May, we went to the East Essex Hunt pony club hunter trial at Stratford Hills. I took Tess and Stitch as both have never jumped at Stratford Hills before. Two fabulous clear rounds in the 70cm and 85cm got us a 5th individuality on Stitch but unfortunately, I was too
fast on Tess and got a few time penalties to be placed. I also did the 85cm pairs with Issy on her pony Pluto and we got 4th out of 24 pairs. I did the 70cm pairs with Tess and Issy’s mum Emma on Star and we also got a 4th out of 25 pairs. I need to work on my cross country pace as I went too fast on Tess but I was only 3 seconds over the time on Stitch, so I’m getting better! I’m really proud of Tess as this was only her second time doing a 70cm course and we have never been to Stratford Hills before, so I’m so pleased she went clear.
I’m looking forward to June as I have 2 side saddle equitation competitions to do as I need to gain 10 points to compete at the side saddle nationals so I really need to work hard to get myself and Stitch going perfectly. Amelia will be giving me more lessons and I’m hoping our side-saddle jumping will get better and better as I will need to complete a course of jumps at 70cms in the equitation class to compete for junior open rider of the year in August.
KBIS are one of the largest independent horse insurance providers, offering all types of insurance for the equestrian. Our products include horsebox and trailer insurance, breakdown insurance, personal accident cover, liability insurance and horse insurance – including a wide variety of veterinary fee options. You can get a horse insurance quote online or call 0345 230 2323.