So this Royal Highland Show, not only did we have sheepies there (check out our Bryland Hebrideans Facebook page) but I also decided to finally tick off Sideyways at the RHS off my bucket list.
You may not know but in 2014 I had entered the side saddle with my friends lovely pony Fresco, with a loaned saddle from Shirley Justice Vose we had been to two local shows, finishing in the top two in every class and even coming home with silverware! Fresco was super awesome and we had high hopes that we would have a blast at the RHS. Sadly the day before when travelling back after sheep showing we had a car accident and instead of sideways on a horse I was sideyways in hospital vomiting and waiting for spinal surgery!
Roll on a few years and the opportunity never really presented itself until this year when the lovely Careth loaned me her side saddle for Classy. Off we pootled to a local show to practice and he won veteran horse champion!
Bathed, clipped, preened and fluffed within an inch of our lives we headed off to the RHS at 5am for our classes. The only time I ever look elegant is riding sideways and Classy was just perfect (in my opinion). We finished both classes in 7th place, which wasn't at the top, nor was it at the bottom so thats good enough for me with a 23yo superstar!
We may do it next year depending, but now our sights are set on a wee trip up to Blair for their veteran classes and another sideyways class - he will be kept well away from the XC however as he LOVES Blair and it will send him crazy!!
Follow, follow, follow, follow the orangey road!
Ok folks so here's the thing. We all have long term ambitions and short term goals and I'd like to take this opportunity to let you know my ambitions. The ones I've had and the ones I now have. I'd love it if you could follow me journey along the way.
When I started eventing ten years ago I really wanted to compete at a three day event. I considered the pre novice ones but never got the chance to do them - work/life/money got in the way - and my ultimate ambition was to one day, compete at Blair in the CCI1*. Thanks to the amazing Classy I was able to achieve this and had such an amazing time. In the run up to this I also competed at Intermediate too - a level which always used to give me the heebie jeebies (look at the height of the fences!) but Classy showed me that it was actually the level that I really enjoyed being at and, as such, has opened my eyes to new goals!
Now semi retired it would be wrong of me to ask for any more of him and at the perfect time, I spotted the advert for the lovely Dwina. Went to meet her and even managed to convince John I'd like to buy her! So last season has been about getting to know her and building a partnership that I hope we will have for a few years. And perhaps she and I might be able to work towards my new ambition...
It's a big one for me.
I'm aiming for the European CIC2* Eventing teams! Yes I know it's a massive ambition and I only really realised it was something I could aim for after watching a very talented rider recently be selected! I'm super chuffed for them and I wondered what I'd need to do to be considered....and so my new ambition was born!
Basically I need to step up with Dweens to Intermediate and 2* this year and hopefully if I can demonstrate consistency then I can put my name forward at the end of the year. Obviously all being well and we are both sound and fit it would be an absolute dream to be in the running for this.
There are several huge goals to hit before then though! The main ones are that I need to be consistently achieving a 70% dressage score at Intermediate and 2* and I need to be regularly inside the time or near to it XC. Both of which will be challenging but I will work hard at hitting them and maybe, if all the luck, gods, moons and stars are aligned we might just be able to put our hat in the ring and make it.
Who knows. Please follow my journey and we will see! Its exciting to have a goal, even if we don't get there I am sure the journey will be fun and enjoyable anyway and you just never know....
If you are interested in being more involved in my journey, please do get in touch. I have some wonderful supporters, and can promise fun times. You don't have to like orange, but it helps!
I have been on the lookout for an excellent pair of cold boots for ages now. Studies show that cold running water, or ice are the best ways to reduce the temperature of the horses legs, so I've been looking for an excellent pair of something that will work well when at an event post cross country.
I have tried everything! A hose of water is impossible out in a field in the middle of nowhere and I've tried boots that you dunk in water, bandages that you freeze and other things designed to work. Sadly none have been really what I wanted, due to being awkward, time consuming or just basically not working! It's been frustrating......Until I tried Cryochaps!
That's it I'm now sorted!! These boots are absolutely perfect! They are so easy to apply and use. They stay cold at events and the best bit....THEY WORK!! Thank heavens!!
I pop them in the freezer and on the morning of an event I pop them in a cold box where they stay until I need them. They stay cold all day and are very quick to use.
To look at they have a gel pad, and attached to this is a soft material section that has straps and Velcro. They will wrap around any size of leg, they are long enough to cover the WHOLE length of the leg! And they fit all my horses really well, not only providing cold therapy but compression too. I love them!
So we are midway through the season and I thought it might be a good time to post an update on my season plans.
Classy bear is loving his short holiday. He still looks amazing but we are giving him a bit of time to let his check ligament sort itself out. He will then return to doing dressage and a bit of Trec.
Evie is currently growing up nicely in the field with Classy. Hopefully he is passing his tales of eventing onto her and getting her excited about her future career! Evie will be started again in September to work over the winter and come out next year. :)
Jack has returned to us. He is retired and living out with Classy and Evie - although I think The Bay Team have decided there is no room for a grey so he is currently on the edge of their gang!
Dwinababes has now been to four events with me in the three months I've owned her. We completed three double clear and placed in the top 6 in two of them.
Our next event is Burgham International where I have entered the CIC1*. I'm really looking forward to it and can't wait to don my tailcoat again! Just need to improve my sitting trot to be able to do her justice!
All being well I hope we can do the Intermediate Novice at Hendersyde then pack the lorry for a week holiday to Blair International Horse Trials for the CCI1*! Cannot wait to have another run at Blair. It was the most amazing experience last year I look forward to having another go this year with Miss Dweens :)
as well as eventing, Dweens and I have a few other outings planned - Trec, gallops and other trips with fitness and Blair prep in mind. I hope we are both ready for those hills of Blair Atholl!
Anyway that's really it! I'll keep you all posted along the way. Please do follow us along the way!
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.
Having finally got round to creating an updated website I have now got somewhere else I can blether away to you on! I am hoping to create regular blog posts of my journey as an amateur event rider who hopes that she can do her fabulous horses justice! Please follow me along the way, I will also be updating my Orange Fox Eventing Facebook page too so please 'Like' and 'Follow' me!