Originally Posted 15th January, 2012
The surprise event of this week has been the arrival of Ruby, my brother’s 4 year old golden labrador. Andy and his family moved to London from New York at the beginning of September, and find that Ruby is not enjoying London and is missing Andy’s children who are now at boarding school. They therefore appealed to somebody in the family to adopt Ruby, and so she arrived here on Sunday. A very sad day for Andy and his family. Twiglet is absolutely thrilled to have a new friend, and although Ruby seems pleased to know Twiglet and Mark and I, she is finding country life a bit different. As a city dog her life has had to be closely supervised with most exercise on a lead, so she has found her first few days here, where you are just supposed to pootle around and find your own entertainment, a bit of a challenge. She seems to be settling in though, is very good around the horses, is very obedient – great compared to a terrier, and so far hasn’t upset the cat. She had a wonderful day on Saturday when Anna came home and she and Mark took her for a lovely walk and a swim.
The beautiful weather this week has made the start of the outdoor jumping season seem closer. With plans to try and go to some bigger shows this year it has been all systems go preparing for the season ahead. On Wednesday morning Anki Sederholm, from Sederholm Selected came to look at my saddles, to make sure they are fitting everyone, including me. I use Butet single flap, close contact saddles with flat seats, which allow me to find my own balance whilst having the minimum amount of saddle between me and the horse. Whilst I don’t think having a swanky saddle will make me a better rider, trying to do a sport to the best of your ability with less than optimum equipment certainly doesn’t make it easier.
On Thursday afternoon I took Biscuit and Ferro for a lesson with Shane. We had a wonderful afternoon. Taking Biscuit hunting has certainly made her very forward going and confident about jumping, but has made her a little bit silly and sometimes resentful if I try to shorten her stride. We worked hard on straightness and my riding round corners, and as often happens more discipline from me about corners and approach meant I was able to be more relaxed in the last few strides and let Biscuit get on with the jumping. She jumped absolutely brilliantly. She was so babyish when I got her at the end of September, and now she seems to be rapidly catching up to where one might expect a six year old to be, so I am thrilled with her. Ferro continued the good work of last week’s lesson, more discipline from the rider, more work on straightness -after the fence as well as before, keeping my leg on through the corner, and riding proper lines – not helped by a very blonde moment, and I felt some serious confidence creeping back. Ferro also felt confident and jumped fantastically, Last year I sometimes didn’t feel very confident about the way I was riding, and any lack of confidence is so easily transmitted to the horses. Having regular lessons at the start of the season before Shane starts competing abroad really helps my confidence, and then hopefully I can consolidate this at competitions.
To end the week, and maybe test the theory, I took Emma, Biscuit and Ferro to a show at Sand’s Farm at Horsham. It was Emma’s first show since Hickstead in September, and although she was very fresh and excited she jumped double clear in the British Novice and Discovery getting better with each round. Biscuit started at Discovery for the first time and jumped a lovely double clear, followed by a double clear in the 1.05, and Ferro won the 1.10, by which time it was 6 pm and I decided that any more classes could keep for another day. What lovely horses, they all went so well, and apart from Biscuit escaping in the lorry park, behaved so well. Day off for everyone tomorrow!