Finally back in action again!

So, I’ve been MIA for quite a while, but I’m finally getting myself motivated again. Jumped the three horses for the most of last summer, then retired Tizzy the end of last year, she’s 20 now so thought it was time to give her a break! Also gave Stuart & Elvis a break over the winter, so we’re just getting back into the swing of things again!

Yesterday we had the Riding Club Regional Qualifiers for the Team Show Jumping Championships which will be held at the RDS in August. There were 20 teams taking part representing Riding Clubs from all over the region.

I was jumping Elvis and he jumped two lovely clear rounds for me, although he was a bit overenthusiastic at some of the fences!  Our team finished on a total of 4 faults and in 2nd place, so we now have to jump in a Wild Card competition at the Riding Clubs Festival in Stradbally in June to see if we can get the last qualifying spot.

Elvis does Dressage!

On Sunday I took Elvis to his first show, which happened to be a Dressage show. It was his first time to do Dressage so we entered in the Intro class. My main aim was to keep him inside the arena as I find him quite awkward to turn compared to Tizzy & Stuart who are much smaller & more compact.
Anyway he went quite well & we achieved our aim of staying inside the confines of the arena, I remembered the test and managed to walk & trot in the correct places, so was quite pleased with our performance. When we came out a few people commented about his lovely paces & how our test flowed nicely. I have to admit it didn’t feel like it was flowing to me, it felt more like trying to turn a bus in a very enclosed space, but I just smiled & thanked them for their comments figured I may as well pretend that I knew what I was at!
Watched a few of the tests that were after mine & 2 in particular looked very nice. Was hoping to score maybe 58 – 60% as I thought we’d been pretty accurate throughout. So when the results were announced & we’d won the class with 67.39% I was in total shock, the woman giving out the results says ‘you seem surprised’ I must have looked totally gob-smacked! To say I was thrilled was an understatement. The judges comments were ‘ Lovely active horse, very obedient throughout but needs to be rounder & on the bit more.’ Given that he’s had no flatwork training whatsoever & he’s not even remotely round I was happy enough with that, if roundness & getting on the bit is all we need to work on he has definite potential, I think I can see myself turning into a Dressage Diva from now on!

Introducing Elvis

So we’ve added another horse to the ever growing collection, my husband spotted this guy & took a fancy to him and bought him for himself to hack out on & for me to compete. He’s 17.1hh so slightly bigger than what I’m used to so not sure how we’ll get on, but we’ll give it a go and see what happens. He’s an Irish Sports Horse with pretty good breeding (Clover Hill on his sire’s side & Cruising on the Dam’s side) and he’s 7 this year, but has nothing done so very green but a total gentle giant if slightly clumsy, but has heaps of jumping ability so hopefully we’ll gel when I start riding him. I’m hoping to do an Intro Dressage test with him next weekend, everything going to plan so we’ll see how that goes.

A look back at 2013

So 2013 has come to an end, so I’m going to take a brief look back over my year.
January was a pretty quiet month, apart from doing a bit of riding at home I didn’t do any competing and the highlight of the month was the Riding Club Regional Dinner Dance which is always a lot of fun & I came joint 2nd in the awards for ‘Leading Show-jumper’ so was delighted!

February seen a return to competition with myself & Stuart taking part in a Derby League, for the experience rather than actually expecting to win anything and he put in some lovely clear rounds over the course of the league so I was pleased with him.

February also seen us go on a woodland hack with some friends, which was very enjoyable if a tad chilly.

March again was rather quiet, the Derby League finished up & not a lot else was going on, but April was a bit busier. Myself & Stu went to our first actual Dressage show where we got a score of 61%

We also had a show-jumping show on a very wet Sunday in April, the rain was unreal although it had stopped before we went in to jump, but the arena had huge puddles all over it that Stuart hated. We managed to finish a respectable 5th though.
Collecting our prize on a very wet day!

Collecting our prize on a very wet day!

In May things started to get a bit busier & Tizzy came back in & returned to competition. Her first competition was the Masters qualifiers on May 5th, she wasn’t near fit but managed to jump a lovely double clear round & finished 5th qualifying for the Masters Final in September. Stu knocked a pole in the jump-off so wasn’t placed.

Then we had a show-jumping league, I missed the 1st leg of it but had the 2 horses at the 2nd leg, it was another wet & miserable day but they both jumped double clear rounds & Tizzy finished 2nd while Stu was a bit slower against the clock & didn’t make the ribbons.

We also jumped at the 3rd leg of the league but I had poles down with both of them so was out of the prizes. However I also jumped in the pairs class with Tizzy and my friend D & her horse Maisie and we won that.
Then on May 26th we had the Western Region Team Qualifiers for the RDS, I was jumping on Team 2 for our club with Tizzy and after a nail biting jump-off our team won & qualified for the RDS.

June was another busy month with the Beach Show on the bank holiday weekend, I just took Tizzy to that & we won our SJ class and I also managed to loose a button out of my jacket!

Then on the 8th & 9th of June was the biggest event of the year – The Riding Club Festival, a 2 day extravaganza of Jumping, Dressage & Showing. Took the 2 with me to this, so had a pretty hectic weekend, but loved every minute of it! Competed in Showing, Prix Caprilli & Show-Jumping. Came 7th with Tizzy in the Power & Speed Show-jumping and 2nd in the Intermediate Team Show-jumping competition.

On June 15th there was a Mini-Show & Rideout in the next village, I took Stuart & my OH took Gordon for the experience. I won best turned out horse with Stuart & we then went on a very enjoyable ride followed by refreshments afterwards.

The following day was the Final of the Show Jumping Mini-League, I just took Tizzy to this & we came 3rd in the Intermediate Class, which seen us finish 2nd in the league and we also came 3rd in the pairs jumping class where we paired up with a nice man we hadn’t met before.

Then on 23rd of June I took both of them to a Dressage Show where Stu came 3rd with 66% & Tizzy was 4th with 64%. After that I let Stuart out on his holidays for the rest of the year.
And to finish off the month I took Tizzy to a Derby show in Letterkenny where she jumped the only clear round of the class to win.

July was another pretty quiet month with just a fun mini, midi, maxi show in the Riding Club on July 23rd which I took Tizzy to.

Then August seen us head to the RDS for the AIRC Team Show Jumping Championships, Tizzy jumped a lovely double clear round but unfortunately the rest of our team had faults, but we still finished a very respectable 4th.

I also went for a quiet hack with my sister, who hasn’t ridden in a while during August as she wanted to get back in the saddle.

And then on August 25th I went to a X-Jump competition with my husband, this was his first competition in about 20 years and we jumped in the pairs class and came 2nd. I also came 2nd in the Individual class with Tizzy.

On September 8th I went to some non competitive Hunter Trials with my husband & we had a pop around the pairs class together and then I jumped in the individual with Tizzy, she jumped a lovely clear, but it was just for schooling & no prizes were on offer.
September 15th seen the Masters Series Show Jumping Final take place, I had qualified with Tizzy earlier in the year so headed off to Mullingar in torrential rain to compete. The weather was awful, cold, wet & windy but we battled on & although just outside the ribbons in all classes we secured enough points to finish 6th overall.

Little did I know, but this was to be the end of my horsey pursuits for the year as on September 19th I pulled my sacroiliac ligament which then caused 2 bulging discs (L1 & L2) in my back and I’ve been out of action since, but plan to return to the saddle in the new year.
In December we had the annual Riding Club Mini, Midi, Maxi Fancy Dress Show I wasn’t competing, but dressed up anyway for the craic & my poor husband dressed up as ‘Christmas Knight’ and won best costume.

30 Day Equestrian Challenge – Day 30

Day 30 – Your Future With Horses

I have no idea what the future holds, but I hope to keep competing for the foreseeable future. Horses will always play a big role in my life, even if I’m not riding and I’m pretty sure I’ll always have a few horses, but out from that I have no idea what I’ll be doing with them! Que Sera, Sera!

30 Day Equestrian Challenge – Day 29

Day 29 – A style/trend in tack etc that you don’t like

I’m not a huge fan of the current trend in show jumping of combining a Grackle Noseband with a Dutch Gag, its all well and good if you need it to control a horse that can get a bit strong while jumping, but a lot of people just have them because it looks cool. I know one particular girl whose horse was going perfectly well in an Eggbutt Snaffle & plain Cavesson but she had to go and buy a Grackle & Dutch Gag purely because she thought it looked cool, that to me is just stupid, but who am I to judge I guess. It’s not for me though!

30 Day Equestrian Challenge – Day 28

Day 28 – Helmet or no helmet?

Definitely Helmet, never get on a horse without one, apart from if I’m taking them in swimming in the sea. I fractured my skull in an accident a few years ago and would rather not have a repeat performance if I can help it. My husband used to be very bad for wearing a helmet but I have him converted, although he’s still not a fan of chinstraps.
I think competing & doing Pony Club from a young age got me into the habit of always wearing a helmet and its something that has stayed with me, I have a variety of helmets for all occasions & plenty of silks for my skull cap so I can always be coordinated!

30 Day Equestrian Challenge – Day 27

Day 27 – You know you’re an equestrian when…… (Give 5 original ones)

1.When you poke your friends (or random strangers) in the ribs & say ‘over’ when you want them to move.

2. You can turn yourself out immaculately for Dressage or Showing, with your hair tied back in a neat bun, clothes spotless & not a hair out of place & yet you haven’t a clue what to wear or do with your hair on a night out.

3. You wonder why people are giving you a wide berth in the supermarket & then realise you’re still in your manky yard gear i.e. dirty jodhs & muckers and you have hay/shavings in your hair.

4. Your pockets are full of polo’s & baler twine.

5. You can memorise a jumping course/dressage test no problem but struggle to remember the simplest things your friends/partner ask you to do.


30 Day Equestrian Challenge – Day 26

Day 26 – Your grooming routine

Depends on the time of year & how dirty the horse is, but the following is a rough guide.

If they’e been out & have mud on them or have a lot of loose hairs I start with the rubber curry comb & give them a good going over with that, then give them a going over with the dandy brush to get the dirt off. Next I use the body brush to get the dust off & to do the face and legs. Then I comb the mane with a mane comb & brush the tail with a tail brush & apply anti-tangle spray if needed. Next I sponge the eyes, nostrils & dock. Then I pick out the feet & scrub the mud of the hooves with a brush if needs be, then apply hoof oil.

Brushing Tizzy's Tail

Brushing Tizzy’s Tail

Some of my collection of grooming kits!

If we’re going anywhere, Stuart usually gets a bath as he always manages to get his white patches dirty.

Stu after a bath

Stu after a bath


30 Day Equestrian Challenge – Day 25

Day 25 – Your dream trailer

Given the choice I’d buy a nice shiny lorry, but if I had to buy a trailer I think I’d go for a nice Titan 3 horse trailer with living.

But what I’d really like is a lorry like this

With fancy living, tack lockers etc.