So… This year I have finally managed to not only have one riding lesson with Toff but two!! We have actually managed to get something done! On Sunday afternoon Sam Whyley a local dressage rider and trainer came out to see us for the second time.
Now I will admit that the first lesson (around 3 weeks ago) was more to have someone in the middle telling me that I could do it, that I wasn’t completely useless and I just needed to get on with it! Its amazing what you can pay people to do these days!!!! But Sunday meant work because the last 3 weeks I have spent telling myself (with the help of Head Groom aka my Mum) that I can in fact do it and I need to put my brave pants on and get cantering…
Now, to clear up any confusion about the Janet Jackson reference Sam likes to use a ear piece and microphone headset when he is teaching so that if it is windy or the conditions are bad I can hear him all the time without having to look back or shout over my shoulder! Its a great way of teaching because I often miss what an instructor is saying when I am being carted around! That said… You do feel a little self conscious when you start out with it and it does stop you swearing and muttering under your breath!!!
Sam seemed to be very happy with our progress so we started working on suppling and strengthening exercises. As you will be aware since all of our stop start training this season Toff has lost a lot of condition, a lot of muscle, a lot of balance and with that a lot of confidence in his abilities. He has therefore reverted back to “racehorse mode” and like to charge around everywhere either with his head in the air or entirely on the forehand.
Sunday saw us working on our “on and back” which according to Sam I should be doing in my sleep. “On and back” is the idea of riding your horse between a more forward pace and a more collected pace within a gait enabling a more rideable horse. Using this method we managed some lovely collected work but we even hit extended trot a couple of times… ON PURPOSE!!!
We then added in flexing the neck towards the outside and the inside on circles and on the track! I know all of this inside out but when you have lost a bit of confidence in your ability it is great to run through it all with someone sympathetic and understanding!!
Unfortunately due to work comittments this was the last time I got to ride Toff before my holiday and my time away was lengthened by the Beast From The East so I only got to sit on him again on Sunday!! A whole 2 weeks later….. But…. The boy was a dream and actually went really well which was a bit of a shock as I was expecting to be back at square one especially with the consideration that he had been on extremely limited turnout due to the awful weather conditions!!
Sorry the piccies aren’t great quality but they are all stills from rather shaky videos! These were pictures from our first ride back after my holiday and all the disruption with the weather!!
On Wednesday I am getting back to club lessons. I am a member of Southerndown Riding Club and we have great facilities at the local college to ride in a beautiful indoor arena. Now the horse is back on track and the lorry *fingers crossed* is back on track too there really are no excuses!! First ODE of our season… We’re coming for you!!
2017 saw WW & I start our BE campaign… Chepstow BE80(T) was a dream come true & so of course the occasion had to be marked with the purchase of a professional photograph… Or two!!
As you can see they are gorgeous but… Our season had only just begun & WW was only going to get more handsome & our photos were (or at least we hoped) going to go from strength to strength!!
As predicted the photos from Calmsden were incredible!! I could have bought them all as were so many of the others at our other events but alas, it was not to be!! As much as I loved the pictures there was no way I could be forking out an extra £50+ per event on top of all the other costs!
I did happen to find that some photographers do do image downloads for a fiver…
Eureka!!! I thought! Problem solved but no… Most photographers want £15+ for a downloadable version!! No, at fiver I would have bought so so many more over the past year. I think they’re missing the trick! More photos at lower prices for downloads would be amazing.
I feel like I really missed a part of each event now having to peer at the photos through the watermarks on photographers websites to see what fun we were having and I have to be honest… I can’t afford to buy them and it really does take some of the fun away!
One last point… Bravo to those that do have a more affordable option! You will definitely have returning custom 👏🏻👏🏻
So… this winter has not been so great! 😦 it all began with an injury to Toff’s back at the beginning of October! Some lunatic that he was turned out with decided to leap on him and has left him with what looks to be a permanent scar and resulting in us withdrawing from all of our riding club qualifiers. Nevertheless, he is sound and now ready to roll.
Well, that is despite us then moving yards at the beginning of December only to be told 5 days following the move that the yard we had come from was then on lock down for strangles!! NIGHTMARE!! So, poor ponies in for a week following bloods that thankfully came out clear… PHEW!!
I couldn’t wait.. We were back on track… Training with my fabulous trainer Tom Rowlands was then meant to be the fabulous start to what I hope to be a fabulous year! Sunday morning, en route to his place in my new horse box and… we lost all power, on the M4!! Another end to another day out.
All this time off over winter and all this time in as you can imagine left my already slightly mad and over energetic and enthusiastic ex racehorse even madder and even more energetic!! A large part of me started to lose my nerve. I did start to feel like I wasn’t cut out for this anymore. Maybe these were all signs that it was time to leave the pony-ing to other people?
Now Sarah without horses is like Sooty without Sweep or Batman without Robin! It was just an unbearable future to look at so I decided.. It was time for the brave pants. I am now re-living my youth when I was gung-ho and nothing phased me. “Bring it on!” I say and I’m bloody well enjoying it!
This season wasn’t looking too sharp from where I was sat 2 months ago but now my horsebox is up and running, so is my horse and I have actually got a plan for 2018!!
Okay, so hi guys!! I am entirely new to the world of blogging so please bare with me!
I thought I would just give a little introduction… I’m Sarah and for the best part of this blog my super duper star of a horse Woody Whisper aka Toff will be featuring 🙂
We are already on IG as @toff_eventing so if you’re not already following it would be great if you could join us on our adventures there too!
As the name suggests we’re eventers!! Or at least trying to be. I promise to post the good, the bad and the down right awful (which there is a lot of!!) Anyway, I hope you enjoy our stories and our journey.