Anyway – back to building confidence last weekend - I took Lucas to Rockrose and he popped round the 70 and 80 double clear. He made the 70 feel so easy I have decided to move him up again. It’s hard after spending so long bringing him back after his ligament injury and worrying his leg will not hold but after 2 and a half years I have to try. He is such a fabulous horse and he is loving being back out jumping, I need to give it a proper go.
On Sunday I took Corky to the arena eventing at the Royal Highland show ground. After some advice from Henny at the XC schooling I decided to try him in a running gag in an attempt to add in a bit of extra control while lifting him up, rather than letting him tuck his head in which is what happens If I put him in a universal, pelham or three ring gag. I found it quite hard to get the right balance in the warm up, he felt like he was backing off too much but the area was very small and there was a father/daughter warming up over huge jumps which didn’t help. I never understand why people want to jump so much bigger in the warm up than the actual class? We ended up having a lovely round – I could push him on and hardly needed to touch the reins the whole way round. Typically the only time I did mess with the contact (in front of a skinny double) we took the front pole. It didn’t matter though as I actually enjoyed jumping, the canter felt good so not awkward strides. The sun also came out which made riding in such a fabulous arena even better. The photos below are taken by Jim Crichton.
Before then saw me facing my XC fears again – we set off for Foresterseat early on Saturday morning through rain and high winds. I did have a moment when I thought ‘what the hell am I doing – I could still be at home in my cosy bed!’ but I’m glad I went. The course walked well, nice mix of jumps including a skinny double, drop into water, new chunky corner. I used the new bit again, channelled David G in my head (sit quietly 5 strides out and gently press – don’t push him out of his natural rhythm) and we flew round. I tried to keep the same rhythm, not chasing too much and not worrying about time. It turns out that this actually worked out well as we were close to the optimum (just over) and came in 4th! The hardest bit of the day was getting my lorry out of the field! I lovely chap in a tractor was having to tow everyone out – he got me to the top of the hill above the gate – said ‘whatever you do, don’t stop at the gate or you’ll get stuck again’…..so down to the gate I went and had to stop to let a car past. Stuck again – oops!