On Friday we headed through for a lesson with his old owner Olivia Wilmot. Olivia was the one who initially got me interested in eventing when I bought Corky from her in 2013. Since then we have tried to keep visiting her for lessons. She is super busy prepping for the start of her own season and also coaching the U18 Scotland squad but make time to put us through our paces.
We met at Thronhill Livery in Stewartson which is about an hour and a half from me. They had a huge outdoor school with lots of room for flatwork and jumping. For our flatwork we concentrated on our canter and transitions, especially trot to halt. Our left canter is greatly improved but things are still not going well with the right canter. Turns out it is due to my injured shoulder – I am hanging onto the left rein really tightly which is causing problems. By shaking my whole arm the contact improved – strange but true! We then moved onto some jumping exercises which Corky thought were way too much fun and bombed about for a while, until he understood they were meant to slow him down and get him working from behind! Lots of fun and lots of homework too!
Sunday was spent at the British Show Jumping which was help at the beautiful Ingilston Country Club – super fancy! Lucas was feeling thankfully feeing super fancy too and jumped a great double clear in the 80 for 4th place and took an unlucky pole in the 85 as I failed to collect him back up between jumps one and two #tookeen
Arrived and started in their school with three poles on a curve and had to ride it on the inside line. It was 3 strides but I was putting in 4 as had been doing that work with Olivia on getting a shorter bouncier canter. Then I had to open him up for the 3 strides as the middle pole became a jump. David was saying three jumps on a curve is the new thing for course builders as people will run out at the third element, they get to break up the field in a safe way as people will just canter past and limited chance of falls etc.
We then headed out onto the course, I didn’t jump much I hadn’t jumped before as I didn’t want to push things as it was our first XC school of the year. To start with Corky was chipping in as I was messing too much with the speed. I was slowing too much, killing the canter and getting flat. I was told to use my seat to steady the canter and let him jump in his own rhythm. It was hard to relax and let him go when all he wanted to do was fly at the jumps but it seemed to work!
We are also going to Hendersyde and Strathearn XC schooling and have entered two local hunter trails before Forgandenny so we have lots of time to put it into practice. I think hunter trials are a great way to make sure your horse is fit enough for the start of the season. We have started some stamina and fast work at home but nothing compares to galloping round a full course of jumps for Corky and me!!
Unfortunately for Corky we can’t go XC all the time, so this weekend sees us competing at the BRC Intermediate Dressage Qualifier for the South East Scotland Dressage Group. Fingers crossed for a good score for the team!