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Tam’s Latest Blog – Hot, hot, hot!

August 2016

It’s lovely to be able to write about how hot July was!  There were a few days mid-month when Beau was sweating in the field, so I just made sure the water was topped up and left him to it.  He owes me nothing and would not have thanked me for schooling session in 38 degrees.  One day I did decide to bathe him and cool him down a little – it’s the only bath he has not strongly objected to!

Side-saddle

We have done a little practice, though not as much as I’d have liked because I seem to be trying to learn how to do everything all at the same time.  We did go for an early morning hack at the height of the heatwave, so I chose to go ‘wonky’ (side-saddle) as there would be few cyclists and little traffic on the roads should I experience wobbles or loss of steering.  Actually, that particular day a large cycling event was advertised on the internet, with the route going past the end of Mrs Whipcracker’s drive so we planned to be back before they set off.  In the end we saw about 10 cyclists over the whole day!  Maybe not as successful as they’d hoped – or lots of them got lost!

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In other news – even when they reach their forties, sisters should probably not be allowed to play out together, especially when one of them has a very long pokey-stick and the other is ticklish…

‘Jumpies’

I am still in search of my brave pants, BUT I am getting better through practice by using the jumps set out in Mrs Whipcracker’s field.  I have to surprise myself into it though by deciding as I walk past them (on Beau, obviously) that we’re going to jump round.  Feeling brave (and having been persuaded by my friend to enter), in early August we went to Rugby Riding Club show and I entered the working hunter class to test myself…

 ‘Showing’

My nerves the night before were quite bad, but I was also a little excited at the prospect of more ‘jumpies’.  Thing is, Beau does like it more than I do and, boy oh boy, did he show it!  Batmananna, Tory and Simon came with me for a day out, and we all had a lovely time.  We got there far too early, so to start the day we did the In-hand Veteran class.  I do not envy the judge because you would never know that the horses in the ring were veterans!  It was such a friendly class with some gorgeous horses and ponies, and a very cute mule.  We came a creditable 4th in that class, though the spectators told me that had I put pedal to the metal a bit more in the trot away, we’d have done better.  I don’t do running so was quite pleased that I’d managed to go fast enough for Beau to trot at all!

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Next we entered the Small Working Hunter class and he warmed up beautifully.  Nice and steady into fence 1, then confusion into fence 2 because he had locked onto a cross-country fence in the tree line, and not (2ft) fence 2 which had not come into view yet.  When it did appear he dropped a shoulder, and I almost fell off . A couple of years back (when all I wanted to do was get on a horse again, but even the thought terrified me) I went on a rider confidence course with the Centre of Horseback Combat, and their words rang in my ears as the last bit of my knee slipped over the saddle – ‘Grab ANYTHING but stay on!’.  So I did, and we completed the course

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Because of our mis-communication we got a stop.  I did pull him up in front of the fence so I could climb back on so completely fair (though unbelievable because if there’s one thing Beau doesn’t do, it’s stop at jumpies!)  By the time we got to the go-round Beau was being a very naughty boy and our individual show was appalling!  But as luck would have it for me, only one rider went clear so despite our 0 individual show score we came 3rd!

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Training

Dressage judges may disagree, but I feel that we have started to make some real progress now.  Alison has such an encouraging style and just seems to get Beau and me.  In fact her coaching was assessed by an Olympic synchronised swimming coach during our last session.  A lovely lady who must have been a bit bemused by all the horsey gobbledegook that we all forget we talk!

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Team Quest

By my calculations, Cherwell Valley Charlatans will move up to 5th on the leaderboard because the last two goes out we have won!  Sadly no pics from the first one, as Tory and I travelled together and met up with Ruth travelling alone, hence there was no one to take pics.  But here’s the super-team at the Vale View competition in early August.  I am very proud of them all, but especially Tory – second time out after 12 weeks’ box rest for her pony; and Mrs Whipcracker who had to manage a very distracted and excitable pony for her test!:  I won’t be troubling the leaders in my Quest though, having done one (rubbish) test and currently in 56th (equal last) place on the leaderboard

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Twitter

@BeauBayou has been picking up followers over the weeks, which is fun!  I must try and think of something interesting to say!

Quadrille

Getting excited now.  I have checked and entries are full for the competition at Bury Farm on the 1st October.  There has been no loss of interest with the final not being at Olympia.  In fact I see it as an advantage for several reasons.  Off the top of my head:  no need to travel into London, a bigger warm-up arena, the same big riders and big names in the competition, we will have been there before, it’s not actually that far from us in Northampton, it’s a very nice venue with good stabling, the café food is delish.  That about covers it!  Last practice we swapped ponies, Tor and Beau had a nice sleep, whilst Seamus and I stopped off for coffee . We have some good moves in the routine now, and the costume ideas are finalised, so we can start to build.

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Royal International Horse Show

As mentioned in my last blog, I was given two tickets to the RIHS by British Riding Clubs as an award for volunteering over the years at many Championship competitions.  I took Tory with me and we had a truly wonderful day!  The BRC team were as friendly and welcoming as ever, and the staff in the British Horse Society box couldn’t have been nicer – and the same can be said of the food which was marvellous.  Even the four hour journey to Hickstead with a fallen over tipper on the M25 and a burned out car on the M23 didn’t spoil it.  We had a fantastic view of the main arena, which is smaller than it looks on TV!  We saw some beautiful show horses, miniatures, top class show jumping and scurry driving and wandered round the shops whilst they changed the course between classes.

I would like to publicly and sincerely thank BRC for taking us, particularly Rachael who it was lovely to meet, and Jennie who missed out herself in the end!  I would also like to sincerely encourage anyone to volunteer as much as you can.  As I have said, you will be very well looked after, and our sport could not survive without volunteers – we simply wouldn’t be able to run competitions.

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Shopping

None.  My overdraft (and probably my bank manager) has gone off for therapy!

Goals: Updated for August:

  • Dressage:  The main focus is now to get 70% in a prelim test unaffiliated.  Wishing I’d never written that down!
  • Team Quest:  This goal now has to be updated to be qualify for the regionals.  *have run out of fingernails to bite*
  • Side saddle: Lots of hacking to be done I think.  It’s surprisingly comfortable on hacks
  • Quadrille: Costume building and routine tweaking is the order of the day now
  • Jumping: I jumped half a course in canter.  Progress is gradual but definitely there
  • Posh dressage: Tracy to compete with Beau at Elementary (and maybe me next year if I ever understand the movements)
  • New goal:  To not make an idiot of myself at Team Quest Regionals!

Much love, Tam and Beau x