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Tam’s Latest Blog – July

Summer is now well underway.  OMG!

All bets are now off.  We have been mentioned in Horse and Hound – albeit only on Twitter.  Thanks Mollichaff!

http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/544994-544994

Tams Blog July 2016

Side saddle

Quite the most exciting load my car has carried for a while is this gorgeous Champion and Wilton side saddle!

Tams Blog July 2016

I was put in touch with the lady selling it by our fabulous (dahhhhhling) instructor Ginny, and we tried it out with her to check for fit and suitability.  So exciting – and it fits!

Tams Blog JULY 2016

It just needs some tweaking in the flocking to be perfect for him.  The only downside is that I’ve been saving like mad and only managed to squirrel enough money away for either a side saddle OR some basic living in our truck.  I am sure Simon would prefer the latter but I figured that because this saddle will fit Beau so well I can’t miss it.  They’re all unique so it could be a while before another one pops up.  I have given it some love and can’t wait for the rain to stop so I can go out and play at home…  The next crazy scheme is to get out and do some wonky-ways Intro level dressage.  In the meantime Simon and I will have to work on our leg-up technique.  It took several go’s and ended with me sprawled over Beau with cramp in both hips!

Tams Blog July 2016

Parker 

Parker’s jabs were due this month, so Simon booked Mike the vet and took the day off.  Vets are always either late or early, depending on how their previous patients have been, so Simon caught Parker up early and rode, then tied him up ready on the yard.  Mike was a few minutes late, so by the time he got there, Parker had been washed and groomed and trimmed and primped and sprayed and oiled and shined.  He had had a lovely time and was relaaaaaaaaaxing…

Simon then asked if Mike would please check his back for pain, so Mike gave Parker a nice massage too (whilst he was feeling for trouble – and found none).

By this time 18 hand juggernaut, Parker, was very relaxed and falling fast asleep, so imagine his surprise when Mike stuck a needle in him…

Then try to imagine Mike’s surprise at Parker’s reaction – described as all four feet up in the air together and backwards at 90mph at the same time!  He only broke one needle though.  He was a good boy for attempt two!

Parker

Post-ride Entertainment

Tams Blog July 2016After a ride, the ponies have a nice brush and get to go and play out in the field.  We decided we should have some fun too, so we played over the jumps and the bank in the field:

Beau cleared the gate – it started out at an angle

Tams Blog July 2016

Hi-viz

I think it’s pretty clear that me, Tory and Mrs Whipcracker take visibility on the roads very seriously.  When hacking it’s easy to think that you’re easy to see, but it just takes a glint of low sun, or a driver who is not 100% on the ball for a horse and rider to disappear into the hedge.  My advice: You may look daft in hi viz but you and your horse will still be in one piece to laugh about it afterwards.

Tams Blog July 2016

Tams Blog July 2016

When the ponies are back in their fields and we have a mug of tea on the go, we also like to entertain ourselves ;)

Tams Blog July 2016

Tams Blog July 2016

Training – New faces

In my last blog you may remember I got to play out at camp on Indie, owned by Rachel.  Her coach is a very talented lady called Alison Kenward and, having got talking with her at camp, Beau and I had our first session on 29th June.

Tams Blog July 2016

It had been absolutely howling all day and the rain didn’t stop, so I was not looking forward to it!  I confess to being a total fair-weather rider; I’m too old for driving home in soggy underclothes these days.  Beau was as muddy as you’d expect for a June evening so he had to be hosed off before I could even tell that he is bay.  Up the ramp he went and off we set.  Rachel’s yard was the venue and luckily it is only about five miles from us.  It was still a stretch though, to get from work in Coventry, to home in Northampton, change into jodhs, stuff a soggy Beau and his tack into the back of the lorry, and be five miles away, tacked up and ready by 7pm.  Curse you Camelot!

You can see from the photo that Alison’s words had an effect (thank you to super-supportive little sister, Tory for the pic).  I am looking forward to the next session to try and remember what I learned, and perhaps add in being able to do left canter without asking for changes every other stride.  The next day though, even sitting at my desk hurt my legs…

We had a repeat session at the beginning of July and true to form – I could hardly walk the next day!  Some good work achieved but we are still missing the ever-elusive connection – both through my hands, and through his body.  I suspect if I sort the former, the latter will happen.

 

Tams Blog July 2016

Tams Blog July 2016

 

Royal International

In last month’s blog I told of how much fun it is to volunteer for BRC, and how well it looks after its volunteers.  Well, I had a lovely email from Jennie at BRC HQ to invite me to join them ringside at Hickstead for the Royal International Horse Show!  How cool is that!!  It’s a fair trek from Northampton to Brighton, and all the local motels are booked up (first thing I checked!).  Luckily Tory wants to come too so we can share the driving.  I can’t wait!

Olympics

My call up hasn’t arrived yet and I see posts all over Twitter from other people who have had theirs.  I am assuming we’re not going to Rio.  We are not overly worried about mosquitos – I’d have taken a fly sheet and some spray for Beau – so that can’t be the problem…;-)

Progress?

Our dressage scores seem to have taken a dive.  It’s interesting because it feels like it’s coming together more than ever.  When it’s good, it’s now very good, but when it’s bad it’s worse!

Tams Blog July 2016

We did the BRC Area 5 dressage qualifier at Princethorpe.  A lovely day out and very well-organised – it’s a shame the judge was paying attention!  You can see from the pics that it was a test of two halves – we started well and ended badly.  Needless to say we’re not going to the BRC Championships this year.

Tams Blog July 2016 Beau Princethorpe

Tams Blog July 2016

Tams Blog July 2016

Team Quest

In early June we played out with the Questers at Glebe Farm.  Beau was having none of it this time and, very unusually for him, was verging on naughty!  When we got him back to the lorry I realised his riser pads were in the wrong end, so instead of alleviating pressure it was making all the weight of saddle and rider dig into his shoulders.  No wonder he was stroppy.  Lesson learned!  Simon was coming to take photos for this blog, but for reasons known only to himself, he went to Bury Farm instead!  He was quite worried when he couldn’t see Buxton the truck parked up there!  We also played at Swallowfield and got some lovely work in the warm-up but dreadful scores in the tests!  The sheets didn’t give me any clues as to why though.  Dressage judges have such a hard time, comparing everybody fairly and writing motivational words at the end whilst trying to be honest and subjective.  I wish they’d also say “Try X to achieve what you need to for better scores”.  Overall our scores have not improved and have indeed been going down.  I haven’t given up though – we’re still aiming for 70%!

Twitter

Follow @BeauBayou to catch up with what we’re up to between blogs.  By ‘we’ I mean me, Beau, Parker, Simon, Tory, the cat, Mrs Whipcracker (which is a new promotion from Mrs Motivator) and the rest of the gang at Happy Acres.

Quadrille

What with GCSEs, beach trips and dressage competitions we have only practiced once this month, but we have pretty much built the routine, mixed the music and put together the human costumes.  I know what we need to do for horse costumes too – we just need to do it!  If you are free and near Bury Farm come and see the evening performance on 1st October – it’s very entertaining.

Shopping

The right side saddle turned up!  :D :D (see above).  This means that there will be no living conversion on the truck now until next year at the earliest.  We will only need it for a stay-away show twice more now this year (Veteran Championships and Quadrille), so a blow up bed and baby wipes will just have to do.

Goals: updated for June:

  • Dressage:  The main focus is now to get 70% in a prelim test unaffiliated.  Hard!  In fact see above for achievement of PW (Personal Worst) score and not much improvement from there!
  • Team Quest:  This goal now has to be updated to be ‘qualify for the regionals’  *bites fingernails*
  • Side saddle: I just want to get better – maybe enter a show if I can find a suitable saddle and habit.  The saddle needs properly fitting to Beau, so that’s the next mission.  Also I think I will have to make the habit.  Perhaps a winter project.
  • Quadrille: To play out at Bury Farm again in 2016 for Cherwell Valley RC.  It would be awesome to qualify but Quadrille is such immense fun it doesn’t matter if we don’t.  So excited to see the judges’ faces when our entrance music comes on.  There will not be another team using our tunes (or even the same music genre) – that is for definite!
  • Jumping: To jump a whole course in canter.  See above for brave pants installed at the end of our hack – getting there..
  • Former goal: To get into Horse and Hound (for the right reasons) which is the only way I can top the Village News – Achieved :D – only on Twitter but nevertheless, we are named!
  • New goal: Tracy to compete with Beau at Elementary (and maybe me next year if I ever understand the movements)

Much love, Tam and Beau x