While its been a while since I last posted, it’s not been a quiet 10 days for Abbey and I.

Since Trailblazers I’ve been avoiding the school. The nights are already drawing in and soon we’ll be confined to it 5 days out of 7.

Immediately after Trailblazers I had a jumping lesson.  We’d not jumped for a while and I was delighted that Abbey came out and popped over a cross pole as if she was well practiced and it was nothing exciting.

As we’re working on Abbey’s spookiness with fences, my instructor quickly upped the anti and started popping anything and everything she could find under the fences and changing the course.  During the half hour we jump road barriers, tarpaulins, flower pots, banners, barrels and traditional jump fillers.  It was a great session and showed how the flat work was translating to our jumping too.

For the first time I “got” the feeling building the energy (not speed) and using it to give us the momentum to carry us over the scary stuff.

Shortly after that we went to Solihull Riding Club and did the boundary ride with a friend. Abbey behaved beautifully – even when my friend’s horse got strong.  We saw trains and we led the way through the river.

We did have some xc schooling practice planned but day-long torrential rain made me change my plans.

I should have done the same yesterday but I didn’t and we had a very soggy hack around the big block with 5 other (equally crazy) equestrians. Again Abbey behaved herself beautifully – it’s biggest group we’ve hacked out with and with all the passing cars creating spray and bow waves in the rivers running down the road – so I was really pleased.

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With harvest nearing an end our YO have opened up the fields on the opposite side of the road. It seemed like a good opportunity to venture out on our own in a safe and contained environment. Abbey walked passed a bonfire and managed to contain her nerves in the maize field which definitely feels rather enclosed.

Another first for us has been the trailer practice we’ve been doing.  Abbey’s still nervous in the van so I’ve borrowed a jeep and a trailer and have been loading and standing Abbey in it regularly.  So far so good- first day Abbey walked through happy as Larry, day two I put up the breast bars and she stood quietly and calmly.  She still tries to look behind her when there’s another horse coming but I guess that is natural.

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Today we did the Ullenhall Fun Ride.  It was a great event,really well organised and lots of fun.  Over the 8 miles we crossed a streams, jumped tyres, barrels and other xc fences,  got lost in some beautiful woodland and cantered across fields and up the gallops. I’ll definitely be up for doing this one again next year.

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Doing the fun ride has got me thinking about what I’d like to achieve with Abbey in the coming year.  The jumping and canter work was really fun and she’s proved that she can behave herself in company so I’m thinking about going out with the Farmers’ Bloodhound on hound exercise.

I’ve been once before and while it was undoubtedly fast and furious they was a ‘non-jumping’ group, routes around all the fences (in case your horse really takes a dislike to something) and they were really friendly. They were plenty of people on foot and a quad bike following with first aid ‘just in case’.

A colleague at work team chases and if I’m feeling very brave the smallest one is in October……..would definitely need some brave pants for that one!

The Wobbleberry Challenge has also caught my eye – I think a BE80 by next autumn is achievable and it would be good to do something for a great cause too and with support too! Applications close soon…..