Happy New Year

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.

A very rare sunny day and Emma's huge ears!

A very rare sunny day and Emma's huge ears!

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.

Luendi looking very grown up having a jump at home.

Luendi looking very grown up having a jump at home.

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.


Happy Christmas

Christmas Tree 2013.JPG

 

 

Amazingly, I am really nearly ready for Christmas, all the presents are wrapped, we have had the Watt (my family) Christmas, and we are not hosting the Lewis family Christmas. Mark might think this was an excellent opportunity to do my tax return, but I think I would rather update my blog and watch Olympia.

Luendi and Espirito Santo continue to be excellent babies and have now been to shows at Felbridge, Royal Leisure, Addington and Patchetts and we no longer need to do the clear round and have even graduated to jumping Discoveries.  Luendi has scored the first double clear to be 2nd in the British Novice at Patchetts, but Espirito Santo won't be far behind.

Emma is now really back up to speed. She has been to several shows, the first at Royal Leisure where she just did a very speedy (not entirely intentionally) round in the 1.05, I then took her on her own to Crofton Manor where they have a 1.10 open which is a better level to start her at.  The working in area at Crofton is big which is much easier on Emma, and was slightly less wild for double clears in both the 1.10 and Foxhunter. However, when I tried my luck back at Royal Leisure she was a nightmare, running me to the fences and crashing two down. This left me feeling very low and rather missing Wayfer and Biscuit. Shane is still away at shows a lot, so very kindly David Simpson agreed to give me a hand to identify what was going wrong.

Shane, David and I have all agreed that this is a good idea, and it works particularly well as David and I are both trained by Shane. The problem was an old one: if I don't have a big enough rhythm round the corner Emma tends to panic and try and run to the fence meaning that I don't have much choice over the distance we go on and have to push her on what we have got making the problem progressively worse. When I am stronger into the corner I can then hold the impulsion to the fence letting Emma's hocks come underneath her and getting a really good distance to the fence. I took Luendi and Espirito Santo to David as well, giving them the opportunity to see another place and some more new jumps, and having the first input on how I am getting on with producing them. They both jumped well, if greenly, and were judged ready to go to Addington.

Luendi schooling at home.

Luendi schooling at home.

After a three and half hour journey round the M25 Espirito Santo and Luendi both went straight round the British Novice and Discovery, for a few faults when they got in a muddle.  Emma was very difficult in the working in, but jumped a really good round in the 1.15 to be just out of the money.

The following Monday saw me tackling the M25 again en route to Patchetts. Emma jumped really well in both the 1.10 and the Foxhunter, she is still tense in the warm-up, but seems to be settling much more quickly in the ring. Espirito Santo and Luendi both jumped straight round the British Novice, Luendi coming second with her double clear and Espirito Santo just getting a bit close to once fence.

Emma Schooling at home. December

We have been back to David for another lesson, this time in the pouring rain, and all the horses jumped really well. The babies are sufficiently forward now that I can concentrate on keeping a big rhythm and a good distance to the fence, rather than wondering whether we are going over the fence at all. Emma jumped brilliantly too, but by then I was so wet and the saddle so slippery that I was shooting around like a piece of soap and we had to quit before I shot off.

Luendi

Luendi

Another year over: I never seem to make quite as much progress as I would like, and am not very good at looking back positively. One of my aims for 2013 was to feel more competent at 1.30 and I think I probably got there with Wayfer in Auvers. Emma jumped several six year old classes at 1.30, so hopefully 2014 might actually bring some more 1.30 placings. Luendi and Espirito Santo are off the starting blocks now, they are easy and fun to ride at home and very well behaved at shows, so we can now concentrate on our technique as the jumps start to get bigger.

Hungry retires.

Hungry retires.

The lovely Mossfort (Hungry) who gave me my first taste of international competition retired at the end of the eventing season. He was a wonderful servant to me, and later to both Helen Dunning, with whom he was successful at CCI3* level, and Hayley Wright with whom he was placed in a very hot OI section at his last event.

Happy Christmas and Happy New Year to everybody.

Goodbye to 2013

Goodbye to 2013

Kindergarten

It has been a fairly intense month of work for Espirito Santo (Rabbit) and Luendi, but they have been really rewarding pupils.  They both have lovely temperaments and seem to improve almost every day. I have hit the deck twice, once when Rabbit did a couple of big bucks after a jump and then skidded to a halt when he got to the end of the school - my triple salko was so neat that I never even touched him as I flew over his head, and on the second occasion Rabbit just slid over on a muddy path and lay on me! They have been clipped and had their manes pulled and look really grown up. Trying to take Luendi's temperature was sufficiently exciting that we won't be doing it again unless she is unconscious - but apart from that she has been delightful.

This week has been especially busy with all the Breen four year olds, including mine, schooling at Felbridge and Royal Leisure and then competing in the last outdoor show at Felbridge. They still have the odd knock-down when they get disorganised or distracted, but now they have been to their first show we are ready for the fun to begin.

Espirito Santo - British Novice Felbridge

Espirito Santo - British Novice Felbridge

Luendi - Felbridge - British Novice

Luendi - Felbridge - British Novice

Biscuit has now gone to her new home, with Helen Cruden, and I hope she is going to be a great success. I had one last show with her at Felbridge in mid-October, and she jumped really well and was very pleased to be at a show.  We have also heard from Homer's new owner that he is fantastic - which we really did know - and that he is thrilled with him.

Emma has now been back in work for a few weeks and had her first jump today - she has gone from youngest to eldest in a matter of weeks, but it is lovely to have one to ride that knows exactly what she is supposed to be doing and she can go to a show in the next couple of weeks.

Luendi - British Novice Felbridge 23/11/2013

Espirito Santo - British Novice Felbridge 23/11/2013