On August 15, 2012 by Sarah Lewis
Having not ridden the horses for five days during the Royal International Horse Show it was full speed ahead to prepare for Farnham Town Show the following weekend. This is a great showground at Farnham owned and run by Tessa and Grant Talbot. They have great going and lovely courses, although sadly they have lost several shows this year due to the dreadful weather – the showground is beside a river which has flooded several times, sufficiently badly that some of the jump cups have been washed away! I got there very early as Nicky Boulter and Nick Charles had two Old Lodge Horses in the British Novice, which Prince Torki came to watch. They both went really well – it is exciting watching these babies getting going even though they aren’t mine.
I took the opportunity to have a lesson on all four horses with Shane on one of the few days he was home before going to Ireland for Millstreet and Dublin shows. I started with Emma who as normal tried to run me to a little line of poles and a cross-pole, so Shane decided that he would show me that if she got ridden properly she wouldn’t do that. Emma then ran him to the little line of poles and cross-pole, and was incredibly rude when told not to do that, which resulted in a fairly lengthy argument - at the time I wasn’t quite sure who won, as she has the most terrible temper and hadn’t really recovered when I got back on, but she has been much easier in the ring since, so it was propbably Shane. The others all jumped really well, especially Homer who is coming on so well now. His canter has improved so much and he is so much more relaxed in his jump now he realises he isn’t literally jumping for his life.As I started warming Homer up for the Discovery when the heavens opened, turning the ground from good to slippery, sloppy hunting ground in about two minutes. This resulted in having the wrong studs and poor Homer slipping about the place. I managed to put the right studs in for the 1.05 and he jumped a lovely double clear. Down came the rain again for the Newcomers, but Biscuit and Emma jumped two lovely brave rounds each to be 2nd and 3rd. The decision was then made to cancel the 1.30, so Ferro just jumped a careful double clear to complete her double clears for 2013, by which time it was more like hunting than show jumping. The video of Biscuit at the bottom of the page shows just what the weather was like!
This is a really great show, on fairly flat grass, with three jumping rings, tent-pegging, a fun-fair, craft fair and lots of trade stands, which really gives tremendous experience to young horses. It is invaluable to take them to these busy shows while they are still jumping relatively small fences so that any little lapses of concentration don’t result in huge disasters. I was a bit dispondent that I had made such a mistake with Ferro, but as Malcolm Pyrah reminded me that if, as an amateur, you go to a fairly serious show and win a class you probably should think you have had a good day! I was thrilled with Emma and Biscuit and I think Ferro just reminded me that I need to ride so much better to compete at the next level.All the horses jumped well at the Pyecombe Summer show, although Ferro did have a horrible slip on a corner in the Ladies Championship which with such a careful horse I should have probably taken into account when chosing which class to enter her in at Bicester and Finmere show. When I arrived at Bicester and Finmere this Sunday and walked the course for the 1.30 I thought it was pretty huge, but that Ferro should be OK. Although they had the open water with a 1.30 upright over it, which I thought might be a problem. She jumped very well until the water where she had her brakes firmly on, she did go second time, but with a real helicopter jump and rather frightened herself. You live and learn, although in my case the learning bit is sometimes incredibly slow. Hopefully no real harm will have been done and I am about to take her schooling to make sure she feels confident. On the plus side both Emma and Biscuit went really well in the Newcomers, Biscuit just dropping a pole while she was looking at something else, and Emma winning quite easily.
Apart from giving Ferro a school the horses are up for a quiet week as I have four days of working at Addington where Old Lodge have eight smart young horses competing at the Young Horse Championships. It will be a great experience to see just what the top young horses are expected to jump, and I will be in my best photo and video taking form.