Happy New Year

On January 14, 2013 by Sarah Lewis

On 28th December I spent a very rewarding morning teaching at an Old Surrey & Burstow Pony Club Show Jumping rally at Ardingly. It was the most filthy day, so teaching in an indoor school was not a bad option. I had about six in each of the two rides and we worked on making good corners and straightness, and then jumping a course. Nobody fell off – my biggest concern, the riding was all of a good standard, everyone tried hard and all the horses and ponies finished off with a clear round over quite a spooky course. I think a couple of the ponies were quite surprised at how much they enjoyed themselves.

Biscuit and Emma have now been to two shows. Double clears each time out, and a very impressive rodeo from Emma at Royal Leisure if you like that sort of thing. Personally I am getting a bit old for spinning round holding the neck-strap while she amuses herself. Luckily she jumped really well, and was much better behaved second time around at Patchetts. Ferro also jumped well and just had a pole in the jump-off of the 1.20 at Patchetts – too much excitement from the rider.On New Year’s Eve Sophie and I went hunting at Fletching. It is our nearest village so we hacked down to the meet with the hounds and several other mounted followers. Sophie had ridden Homer every day she was home and had a very impressive jump in the school, and I decided to take Ferro as it is always a long meet at the Griffin and she is better at standing still than Biscuit. As always the Griffin gave us an excellent meet – full of Christmas cheer and rousing speeches and in spite of the horrible weather and soggy we had a very jolly few hours. My sister, Polly, and her two little girls, Eliane and Nina, arrived from Normandy just before we set off, so they came to the meet too, hence the mad waving! Ferro definitely has her retirement plan in order as she was mad about the hounds, and sometime there was a bit of the “loose horse with a woman on it” about us as she set off after them. We jumped one decent rail: as I set off over it Sophie was busy talking herself out of jumping it – but she soon sailed over. We went home just as the rain was soaking through our coats. A happy morning and hopefully Sophie will come again if she can.

I had a wonderful afternoon’s dragging with the Mid-Surrey Farmers Draghounds at Hickstead on Homer. Pouring rain and very wet ground and the biggest hedges Homer has tackled yet. Hickstead is the Nirvana of drag hunting and it was thirteen years since I had last dragged there. There were only 20 of us out which made life relatively easy, and after three excellent lines I took the sensible option of quitting while I was ahead. After a couple of hairy moments in the first line he got better and better finishing jumping a big drop and a big hedge with a ditch towards in excellent style. There is always next time for more heroics, and I have a hunting trip to Ireland planned for the end of the month. Something I have longed to do and thought I might never get the chance to. The flights are booked – so hopefully no falling off for the next 10 days – I am so excited.

Sophie on Homer and me on Ferro hunting in Fletching

Sophie on Homer and me on Ferro hunting in Fletching