So the schedule for Blair International Horse Trials is now out and entries open in the next couple of weeks (yay!)
Blair is one of my all time favourite venues. When the weather is good its a magical place to be, but not so much when it bad, however its still pretty special even when its lashing with rain!
For me, the planning for Blair has already begun, we are now 8 weeks away so fitness prep has been increased with the plan to head to the gallops a few times before we head north to the Atholl estate.
Since Dwina arrived my season has been planned around getting her to Blair as a short term goal and to have given us the best chance to complete and hopefully with a good competent score.
Blair has always been an ambition of mine since taking up Eventing and I was so lucky to compete there last year with the amazing Classy Bear. We finished 37th out of 67 competitors and although that doesn't sound amazing, it was a fantastic achievement and experience for me. I'm not going to lie, I'd be daft if I didn't want to better my score for 2017 with Dwina and so my plans are set to try and make this possible.
Firstly we are reviewing bitting. Dwina doesn't particularly like having a bit, and after winning the awesome Neue Schule #NSNextTopJockey sponsorship I have been working with them to find the right one for her. Firstly it was important to make sure that she doesn't have any discomfort so she received a light sedation and full examination to see if there are signs of abnormalities. She has great teeth and only a slight point at the front premolar (I don't think this was causing any issues) and no redness of gums or signs of ulcers anywhere. She does have an unerupted canine on one side and although we can't feel any wolf teeth, we will now be doing a quick radiograph to see if there is anything underlying. I'm sure there won't be anything wrong, but it is worth getting her jaw x-rayed just in case.
At the moment I compete Dwina in the dressage phase in a Neue Schule trans angled lozenge fulmar. She seems to like this bit although not as much as the turtle top which is fantastic.
For showjumping and cross country I currently jump in a hackmore with TurtleTop snaffle. She has previously been competed in a hackamore and snaffle so I felt I wanted to keep it the same until we had got to know each other more. After our last run XC I must say I need more brakes!! So I will now discuss with Neue Schule and take advice from their bitting expert so we can work together and find out what is the best for her. As you can imagine it is absolutely fantastic to be able to get this advice and assistance. This service is available for anyone to use, simply complete an advice request on the NSbits.com website and they will be in touch.
I will keep you posted on our progress. Our next eventing outing is to Burgham International, where we have entered the short format (CIC) 1* so I will need to dig out my tailcoat! (Why did I say dig out, like its been stuffed in the back of a cupboad!! As its such a beautiful jacket its currently hanging up, in a cover, keeping it pristine!!). I do also need to practice my sitting trot as she is so bouncy so have several lessons planned so I can be suitably shouted at!
In between eventing, I am also taking part in an endurance ride to allow me to work on Dwinas fitness and stamina. The ride is 20km long and there should be a few places to have some good canter work included. This is the first endurance ride I have entered and I can't see its something I will do frequently, however it is a chance to see new sights, work on fitness, and have a vet assessment. Oh and have a bit of a laugh along the way!
As Classy is currently off games, I am also taking Dwina along to the summer Trec competition being held locally in a few weeks time. Its another opportunity to work on fitness and stamina (and our map reading) as well as have a go with Dwina as she may be the horse I am riding at the GB championships at the end of the year!
A few trips to the gallops in between and I hope that, by Blair, we are suitably fit enough for those hills!
Alongside Dwina's fitness is my own. unfortunately for various reasons I haven't been able to keep up with my usual Metafit, but that now has to start again as I can feel that my fitness levels have dropped. Its very easy as a rider to think that riding fitness just comes from being in the saddle and a bit of mucking out, but its never quite enough. I struggle to maintain cardiovascular fitness so need to add this into my week and metafit has been a fantastic class to work on this. Half an hour a week has made a huge difference to me so its now planned to start again (urgh!). I can't say its easy or enjoyable but its essential and must be done (unfortunately!).
And then there is the plan for packing, how much stuff to take, and what items do we need for the week we are camping. The gazebo needs to be checked, and the list of items is being compiled! its not so bad as I use a checklist app on my phone and have various different checklists created so now have a new 'three day event' one!
Oh and then there is the trot up outfit.......
Anyway, catch up soon with an update on our progress, keep fingers crossed for us!
Happy orangefoxyness to all.