As I write this, I have had Phyllis, my new pony for five weeks. Don’t you just love the name Phyllis?!
I know I need to try and get out as much as possible over the winter so we can work on developing our partnership. She loves to jump but is really forward going so I need to keep reminding myself to sit up.
At the start of the month, we travelled to Wittering for arena eventing. This was our first competition in an arena together so I was quite excited but nervous too. I competed in the 80cm and 90cm classes. Unfortunately, Phyllis was very strong and the pelham just wasn’t working so I was going far too fast and out of control so retired at the end of the show jumping section. In the 90cm, we borrowed a cartwheel type bit from my sister’s pony and did better. I definitely had more control. Although I had two poles, I was pleased as we got round and had something to work on for the next time.
On Remembrance Sunday, we were quite busy! In the morning we went to the remembrance service in our village before going off training with my favourite instructor, Trisha Price. In the lesson, we worked on straight lines and control between the fences and at the end of it, Phyllis and I were going very well with smooth turns and straight lines to the jumps. A couple hours later, and we were at the Woodland Pytchley showjumping competition which was a Dengie qualifier at Moulton College in Northampton. We competed as a team in the 90cm but didn’t get there in time to walk the course. Annoyingly, I forgot the course as I got so focused on one jump and forgot which way to turn afterwards so crossed my line and then had a pole down. Although my sister won, there were only three of us in the team so no team success for us.
Over the weekend of the 17th and 18th November, we were at the NSEA Plate Championships at Keysoe. We were competing in the 85cm Showjumping on the Saturday, the 90cm Royal Windsor Qualifier Showjumping and the 80cm Eventer Challenge Arena Eventing on the Sunday. In the 85cm Showjumping, I had three poles down near the end of the course as I got faster and faster and Phyllis got flatter and flatter. As a team, we had further poles meaning we didn’t get placed. The following day, we were part of the Kimbolton School teams again for both events. In the Eventer Challenge I had much more control but sadly we tipped one of the poles when Phyllis added an extra stride. I was much happier with this round though as we had more control and did some super turns. In the Royal Windsor Qualifier, I got a little too fast again and knocked a couple of poles. Altogether as a team, we placed 6th.
After school a week later, I had a Jumping lesson with Milla Lanni. We worked a lot on control and square turns and did a lot of flatwork, gaining control, before we even started jumping. Phyllis hadn’t been ridden for a week and was very excited but she improved throughout the lesson.
It was a good job we had the lesson the previous night, as the next day we took part in another Royal Windsor Qualifier and 80cm Showjumping at Forrest Edge Equestrian Centre near Swaffham. In the 80cm Showjumping, I was thrilled as we did a tremendous clear round and a very tight turn into one fence. In the Windsor qualifier, we had two poles down as having done one round, Phyllis got very energetic and fast. Our team was 3rd, and JUST missed qualifying as the top two teams get the ticket to the Royal Windsor Horse Show in May.
Just before the 90cm round at Forrest Edge, I met Alexia Mackley, the other bursary winner in the age category above. It was really interesting talking to her and hearing about her pony, Felix. We are hoping we will get to do some training together in January.
This month we have had a lot of poles down, but are looking forward to more training in the winter to be ready for events in the spring. Phyllis and I are working towards control and striding as when jumping, a lot of the time when we knock down fences, it is because we either add an extra stride, or are going too fast.
Good luck to anyone with upcoming events.
Until next month,
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