January has gone by so quickly in spite of the fact that it just goes it goes on and on raining. I think I have had wet feet since November - and we have only been able to walk, rather than wade, down the garden path twice since Christmas. However, I am constantly grateful that we live at the top of a hill, and feel so sorry for those who have had their houses and yards repeatedly flooded - I really can't think of anything worse.
All the horses are making good progress. Luendi has been placed in one British Novice and two Discoveries, and Espirito Santo has done his first double clear. He is just a little bit more babyish than Luendi and finds it harder to concentrate in the ring. Emma is jumping fantastically well, and I am so nearly there with getting her to go in a calmer way in the ring.
Anna Beck arranged a clinic with John and Laura Renwick at Crofton Manor which attended with all three horses. John and Laura took it in turns to teach so I had John for Emma and Espirito Santo and Laura for Luendi. I found the whole day really interesting, and in spite of managing to have a crashing fall off Emma I came away feeling much more confident about jumping her round bigger courses. I found them both very intuitive coaches, they were very quick establish a connection with every rider and to pin point ways of improving performance. Their day of teaching started at 7am and didn't finish until after 8pm - a pretty good indication of how dedicated true professionals are.
I have had another, drier lesson with David Simpson who was really pleased with the way the horses were coming on, and finally I had the chance to have a lesson with Shane, who was not so pleased! I was back to my old trick of not enough leg and too much hand, so we all had an extremely good work out. We were also under his watchful eye the next day at Royal Leisure - the terror of getting it wrong certainly concentrates the mind in the ring! Luendi and Espirito Santo jumped their best ever rounds and Emma went really well, just suffering from one pilot error. Hopefully we will have a chance of some more training with Shane this month to try and hammer home the good habits.
A large amount of time and energy this month has gone into taking, failing and eventually passing my HGV test. I had no idea it would be so exacting, and so hard to take a driving test after so many years. I am thrilled to have passed it, and now the hunt is on for a lorry with some nice living so I don't need my bicycle anymore.