The celebrations have come to an end……….

Well Christmas has come and gone and we have welcomed in the New Year. The Celebration tin is nearly finished with only the last few stragglers left rattling around in the bottom, mainly bounty’s! My mind has turned to booking in training, competition’s and getting us both fit after the festivities! 

January is already full of dates in the diary and we have already been out competing at Merrist Wood College, taking part in the BE Jump & Style (JAS) BE90 class. I’ve never done this competition before so was slightly unsure on how to go about it. Basically you jump 7 show jumps and then carry on into arena Xc fences which are timed, whilst being marked on style at the same time. 

Its really hard to leave home, in the lorry, when it’s dark and cold but I was looking forward to being out competing again. I left at 6am, so that I could walk the course before the class which started at 8.30, my time was 9.05 so I had to get a move on! I arrived at Merrist Wood just after 8, I quickly walked the course looking at the turns I thought I could make without looking too scrappy, grabbed my numbers and headed back to the lorry via the obligatory loo visit to get Blue ready. 

Luckily for me she is not the sort of horse that needs to be warmed up for ages before competing, I did how ever warm up thinking about what Eric Smilley had taught us, in our recent lesson, with regards to getting the horse really concentrating and listening to aids in the warm up. I did this and she warmed up really well. It was my turn, although this was really only training, I’m quite competitive and like to do my best at every competition. The bell went and we were off, again I was thinking of really trying to keep my canter rhythm and let the fences come to us, she did a beauty of a round and was double clear. I however obviously hadn’t taken a breath the whole round and couldn’t speak for the need of oxygen, something I need to work on! 

JAS BE90 Merrist Wood

We recieved a style mark of 13, which I was pretty pleased with and 9 time faults. So ended up on a final score of 22 and a 13th place out of 50. After watching the rest of the class I realised I needed to go a tad faster in Xc section and risk looking not so pretty to get the time. But I was really pleased with her for just getting on with the job and not looking at anything in the arena.

About three days before the JAS competition, whilst out in the field, Blue managed to get herself bitten on the side of her face by one of her field mates! She had removed some of the hair and scratched the skin, so I gave it a clean up and went to apply some “cracked nipple cream” which I have found works really well on minor scratches and sores. The tube I had in the tack room had gone hard and was of no use, so I popped down to our local village to the chemist to buy some more. 

In the chemist I couldn’t find it out on the shelves so I quietly asked the lady behind the counter if she had any “crack nipple cream”?  She promptly shouted back across the room to the pharmacist my request! They found some in the back of the chemist and asked if it was for me, to which I replied “no its actually for my horse” She quickly withdrew it and said that she couldn’t let me have any product that was for the treatment of animals not humans. So I quickly left thinking I’ll go to the other chemist and this time I’ll tell them it’s for me! 

Whilst walking to the chemist I was trying to think of explanations as to why I wanted “cracked nipple cream” incase they asked me. When I entered the chemist to my horror there was a very young man behind the counter and two men sat on the chairs waiting for prescriptions! I managed to find a tube of it on the shelve and headed for the counter, waiting for the question of “Is this for you?” I’m not sure if he was too embarrassed or could see that I was looking rather awkward, but he quickly put the tube in a brown bag and asked me for £5.20. The thing we do for horses!!!!

Thankfully her scratch is all healed up now and back to normal and after a visit from my farrier Ben to fit Blue with a new set of shoes, complete with stud holes, in preparation for some XC training I have booked in it was onto preparing for British Dressage later in the week at West Wilts Equestrian. I had two tests to learn a Prelim & Novice, I prefer to learn my tests as it distracts me having them called. Having said that, in the past, I have really struggled to remember two tests on the same day but after persevering and repition i am now a lot better (90% of the time!) However since I started doing BD alot more last year I am still getting to grips with the extra letters in the long arenas, I think it’s my age!!!!!!


BD West Wilts – Photo Credit: Charles Teton

It was awful weather, with the threat of heavy showers and snow! Thankfully for me I had finished before the weather arrived. Both tests went well and we were accurate, in places we lacked suppleness and consistency. But we came away with two 1st place rosettes 70% in the prelim and 65.7 % in the Novice. On reflection I don’t think I warmed up long enough, partly because it was so cold and I perhaps needed an outing at Dressage to get back into a routine. Plenty to work on and with a flat lesson booked in with Nicola Buchanan next week, I’m sure we can improve on those marks.

Blue sporting her legendary rope halter with her Rosettes

So whilst clearing up the last bounty celebrations, it’s back to the calendar to work out which BE Events we will enter in the build up to Badminton and more training to look forward too. 


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