Sunday, April 22, 2007

Frensham Sponsored Ride

On 22nd April – having had a few days of nervousness, we set off from the farm at about 7am for a trip across to Guildford for the annual Frensham Sponsored Ride. I rode this about 10 years ago whilst still a novice and whilst I enjoyed it immensely I was nervous about doing the ride on Herbs too soon as it can easily been seen as a bit of a party for horses and I'm too old to want completely looney rides these days!

Well the drive was 2 hours and the boys were as good as gold during the journey, despite there being diversions to the route we had planned and the last 30 minutes being lots of windy roads and low branches.

The ride was well organised and we parked on a lovely flat field with lots of tie up space but we were a little late – what’s new there then? Our start time was 9:05am but the stewards weren’t bothered and we were able to set off when we were ready.

The ride has over 40 optional jumps, some of which are right at the beginning so it’s impressive when people jump them because the horses aren’t even warmed up at that stage, needless to say we didn’t attempt them!

The ride was lovely; sandy tracks and a wide variety of jumps but we stuck to flat riding so as not to excite the horses too much on such a big ride. Maybe next year they will have grown up even more and we can trust them not to get too silly.

Sadly the photo jump was a rather large uninviting (for newcomers anyway) hedge with nice bright flowers by the side so not only could the horses not see over it but it was altogether rather colourful and scary so we had to leave that one too.

Both horses were very well behaved since there were over 600 taking part and whilst Herbs insisted on getting up the bums of whoever was in front on the first part of the ride he settled down nicely after the refreshment stop about two thirds of the way round.

The ride off from the stop was rather amusing as it started with a steep up hill canter which Coy decided to run up sideways resulting in his heading off in completely the opposite direction to where he was supposed to go and Herbs getting rather confused and leaning that way too! Once successfully corrected we headed to the top of the hill, arriving with two rather puffed out horses.

The rest of the ride was quieter, the ride having spaced out quite nicely and our boys were very good when other riders cantered up behind us and jumped whilst we rode alongside.
All in all we couldn’t ask for more and arrived at the finish in one piece and confident that the boys will take any ride of this kind in the future in their stride.

Here are a couple of pictures that John kindly took after we’d finished.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Prelim 1 & 10

Fickleshole – Prelim 1 & 10 - 8th April 2007

Oh why do we do it? Not only do you have to plait up and look gorgeous you have to learn the test too. Well stuff that, call on the services of dearest Chris to call for you and as long as you have a rough idea of what you’re doing you can’t go far wrong – ahem, read on to Prelim 10 and you’ll know that’s crap!

Prelim 1 came first and Herbs warmed up quite nicely. I was pleased to receive comments from a couple of friends that hadn’t seen Herbs in a while who said that I was riding much better and that Herbs had changed and grown up an awful lot – all that flat work is paying off!

The test went ok and apart from nearly nipping out of the arena on one part when the plastic markers got a little scary and doing the banana dance a bit in the corners we rode the test quite respectably and were awarded 3rd place – behind, I must say, two very good horses.

Prelim 10 involved a canter across the diagonal which we proudly achieved (outside rein, outside rein!) and I must admit I thought I had done ok as there was so much that could have gone wrong but the points on the board didn’t reflect how well I thought we had gone and I was quite disappointed. I felt better though, when despite Chris’s brilliant calling I realised I had gone wrong and returned to the wrong marker after a movement so it was quite justified that we came 7th.

If I had a decent memory and could rely on myself to remember the test before, and during riding it I think I would do more dressage, but so much effort has to be put in and with only 2 or 3 minutes to impress the judge I think the whole thing is a bit of a lottery really.

Which means… all credit to those who do it and perform consistently well. I know what’s involved!

Here are some pics of the event, courtesy of my camera, and the exceptionally photography of dear Alex who is being dragged to these events quite regularly by Jo!

First, here are some pics of the training we did the day before....

and here are some taken on the day itself....

finally, here is Mr Curly Tops after the hard work, bless xx