With the eternal heatwave shining on England, Tilly and I have been out often and have faced lots of challenges.
We began the month on a real high, winning our Area Pony Club Minimus Girls Tetrathlon, with a great cross country on Tilly round Aylesford Cross Country. The course held many challenges including a water complex, gate, slip rails, skinny fences and jumps with drops below them.
After the thrills of the tetrathlon, on my parents wedding anniversary, we trekked all the way down to Holkam for a dip in the sea for the ponies. After much swimming and plenty of gallops, we thought it was about time for Dad to have his Annual Ride. This is our family tradition that once a year Dad will have a ride on one of our ponies. Clinging on to Tilly’s mane, he started to walk and trot by accident (with the help of mum’s leading skills). To our great entertainment, but not so funny at the time, mum let go of Tilly’s reins, which were wet and slippy from the sea despite the grips. With arms wrapped around Tilly’s neck and body flailing around the saddle, Tilly started to canter obviously thinking it was another gallop but before that could happen Dad jumped off. That might be his last Annual Ride for a while!
The Area Horse Trials took place just a couple of days after the beach ride and Tilly and I entered the 90cm which was always going to be ambitious at a pony club area event. Although it wasn’t our best day, I was so pleased with our results. In the dressage (not our strong point!) we started off with a 36.5 but in my defence, my sister’s pony, Gracie, was doing it in another ring at the same time so there was much distraction for Tilly with the constant neighs. The showjumping phase had the fences raised to 95cm. We incurred two refusals but with a big spoon of determination we got to the cross country phase. Not gonna lie, I was nervous. Many people, including my mum, queried whether I would get past fence five. We proved them wrong. Needless to say, it did take a LOT of riding. We were going clear until we got to the water jump. There was a boat jump into the dark, the approach was downhill and twisty and then there was a sharp left hand turn, a stride after the jump into the water which was covered in lily pads. After two refusals at the boat, we amazingly got over and carried on over the course. Leaping and bounding the next 5 fences, I was amazed we had progressed so far. With six fences to go we could only afford one more refusal before being eliminated. At feeder/brush fence we had that one refusal. A brush fence can apparently have an extra 10cm added on to the height which made the jump a metre high! We got over on the second attempt. I knew we mustn’t have any more refusals. Not sure how, but with an AWFUL lot of kicking we got to the end of the course. I was over the moon to complete the course and prove everyone wrong. From now on though, I’m just going to stick to 80cm/85cm classes on Tilly! I want to be fair to my little 13hh black pony
After that competition, I went to France for a week on a school trip. But the trip was really fun and helped my French and I saw a pony which was identical to my first pony, Ellie. We did loads of activities including canoeing, mud assault course, fencing and day trips to the beach, town and market.
A few days after the trip and once I’d recovered, I volunteered at my Pony Club Mini Camp, which I did when I was younger. I led a boy named George who had a little tricolour/roan pony named Popstar but Poppy for short. I led him for the full three days which made me very sweaty due to Poppy being very strong and fast!
Now that July has come to a close, I have reflected that although this month didn’t include many rosettes, I had so much fun and I think Tilly can agree! Our targets for future months have included going down a level so that we can compete at a height which Tilly would prefer to do and be with ponies that are roughly her height and also to have some dressage lessons! Good luck to anyone with a upcoming events. Until next month,
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