In my case, my horse Max was out of action with a tweaked muscle, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to go Cross Country schooling when I knew I would be on another horse anyway. After a few weeks of rest for Max and planning for me, we were back on board. I’d been able to take advantage of the enforced rest period by playing a concert back in Blackburn to earn something to offset the cost of my fun-but-expensive hobby, and we were back on board gearing up for half term.
Trying to fit my riding around my job is a challenge (mainly due to odd hours involved), so half term was a perfect opportunity to book in some clinics for detailed work, particularly looking at jumping and polework. Max and I went to two sessions, one local and another up in Suffolk and gained a great deal out of both. There are lots of things to work on, but Max loves his work and enjoys jumping, so issues can usually be overcome quite quickly. At our second SJ clinic we had a bit of a disagreement about the first fence of a related distance – when we finally cleared it we did achieve the required six strides to the second fence, as shown by the very straight trail of horse poo from one to another! One really important thing that I took from that lesson was to be more confident in myself and what I’m doing: something that I’m not always good at (like the bravery mentioned in my previous blog), but the encouragement of those who’ve coached me so far is so very valuable and certainly helps to instil some confidence!
Just before the second SJ clinic, we were in a flatwork clinic with Sharon Hunt, who gave us some really useful tips about my position in the saddle and we had a really enjoyable session working on it. Luckily in the current situation of Max being in light work we can work on this, as jumping is out of the question for the next month. Instead of as much schooling sessions as I’d hope we’d be doing, we’ll be using the time for more planning and improving my core strength and hope to be out and about again at the beginning of April – meanwhile the Eventing season has begun, so I’ll be off to cheer on the competitors at Poplar Park Horse Trials on Saturday and pick up a few tips for our own #80by40 challenge!