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July 2014

Cassie’s Column – July 2014

The month started off very nicely with both Simon and I having two weeks off. We decided to stay at home and get some jobs done around the house and yard and also the garden which we struggle to find time for. I have also painted the stables which the horses all had a good snort at!

Patch the Dressage King!

PatchPatch has been on good form. He was placed fourth at combined training, where he did a lovely dressage test and went clear show jumping. He then picked up another fourth at dressage the following weekend. The week after that we did our first BE100 dressage together and he got some great marks and lovely comments including ‘What a super horse!’ which I was chuffed with. We have also qualified for the Midland Association of Riding Clubs (MIDARC) Summer Dressage Championships. (Oh my goodness – I have qualified for a DRESSAGE championship!!!)

Patch

Rupert’s First BE90

Rupert show jumping

Rupert show jumping

Rupert and I ventured off to Stafford Horse Trials to attempt his first BE90. We had a ridiculously early 5am start which he wasn’t too impressed with, which he made clear by standing at the bottom of the ramp pulling a face and demanding an extra strong mint for his effort! I really have learnt that this horse does not like to leave his stable before 8am! His dressage was much better since I fitted him with a nose net as he is sensitive to pollen. Horses that are sensitive to pollen can react in many ways and often it can be painful for them, causing inflammation in the nasal passage called allergic rhinitis. Rupert had started shaking his head and wanting to rub his nose a lot on high pollen days which was being picked up in his dressage scores. We use a nose net in the hope that it will filter out any pollen he inhales.  I felt fairly ok with the dressage – Stafford had a collection of fairly poor scores which many people were putting down to the flies and heat, so for once we were not the worst!

The cross country course for the BE90 looked huge and very challenging for Rupert who does still have fairly green moments, with a tricky skinny combination right at the start on fence four, another two combinations and a trakehner, as well as a combination with a tight turn to a step, and an up-to-height corner. I knew we were prepared and we had schooled over as many fences that I could predict would be included in the run up.  I was nervous and excited to see how he would cope. However at no point did I predict what was to happen….

In the show jumping warm up, he seemed different – not concentrating and not listening to me at all. I put it down to the atmosphere and in the back of my mind I hoped once he was in the ring he’d do his job. After getting the best out of him in the warm up that I could, I went into the ring, picked up a nice strong canter and then – Ahhh! – He stopped at the first fence – what! Rupert never stops! I came again and he went straight over. As we continued around the course I felt as though I  was having to use way more leg than usual with little response.  Then at fence five we had another stop. Then at fence eight, he stopped again. I couldn’t believe it, eliminated. I instantly felt bad – why was my reliable jumper stopping? Something must be up.

Rupert show jumping

Rupert show jumping

So as you can imagine, Simon gave him the once over which included testing his blood and checking him for any pain-related issues once we were home. We couldn’t find anything and he appeared to perk up. So we’ve put it down to an off-day – maybe it was the early start, maybe it was the heat or maybe he picked up that I was worried about the cross country – who knows? At the end of the day they aren’t machines and it’s all good experience. I gave him some time off and then did some lunge work and hacking. I took him show jumping to regain our confidence and he picked up a nice second place. Although it was a quiet show, it was good to see him out having fun again! We also once again qualified for the MIDARC Summer Championships so he will join Patch on the August Bank Holiday weekend which will be exciting!

Poppy the Diva

Poppy enjoying the summer

Poppy enjoying the summer

Poppy is ticking over nicely, still enjoying the quieter life but still as spoilt as ever. She’s decided that once it’s 3pm, she wants to come in every day and if I don’t get her in, she stands at the gate, pawing, digging and pulling faces! She doesn’t really like warm weather and prefers to sleep in her cool stable away from the terrible twosome! So, as and when I can, I have been getting her in a little earlier to get her out of the sun and flies. She also enjoys a quick spray with the hose – I don’t even have to hold her for this as she enjoys it so much!

What’s Next…

Rupert has a quieter month lined up. He’s due to go to Oswestry Show to enter the Lightweight Hunter class, his first ever ‘big’ show and it is a ridden class in the main ring. He will then just keep working on the dressage before his next event at Sapey Horse Trials. Patch will continue to work on his show jumping before his next event at Bold Heath Horse Trials at the beginning of August. Poppy will just continue to do what she does best, go for lovely evening hacks and get pampered.

Our Top Tip for Flies!

There is a really great product called EquiSalve that you can buy online or from your vets. It’s a citronella antibacterial jelly that is great for use on wounds to protect from flies but also fantastic for ears! We rub a thin layer in their ears and a line along their abdomen to keep the flies and midges off those hard to reach areas. I also put it on the top of Poppy’s tail as it’s also fantastic and soothing for sweet itch. But don’t use on a grey before a show as it has a bright pink tinge! The good thing is an application lasts about a couple of days and a little goes a long way!