While the blog may have been quite quiet for a month or so, Abbey & I haven’t been. We’ve been doing more loading and lorry practice, working on our fitness, had physio, restarted schooling and showjumping practice, enjoyed some long hacks and Abbey’s had her 4th clip.

She got a little nervous travelling again so we’ve gone back a fair few steps and been loading and standing on the van regularly at home.  I’m pleased to report that she’ll now stand happily for half an hour munching hay so we’re making strides in getting back out and about again.

During September the nights started to draw in so it’s been our last chance to interval train after work and to go round the fields with friends (well, at least I am friends with them, Abbey isn’t so sure!).

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I’ve started running and downloaded the Map My Run app to track my progress. In the past 6 weeks I’ve worked up to running 4.5km.  I got curious and tracked Abbey’s interval training too. I had no idea that our regular ‘work out field’ is 0.5 miles around the perimeter. Doing one lap of trot, two in canter and another in trot on both reins means we were regularly clocking up 4miles. And as I can’t resist temptation, I measured her top speed too -18mph!!

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As it’s more or less pitch black when I get to the yard after work we’re increasingly confined to the school during the week.  This means that we’ve returned to ‘proper’ schooling and showjump training.  I was surprised how quickly Abbey had forgotten how to do correct transitions and stay balanced on a circle! Thank goodness she’s remembered as quickly as she’d forgotten.

We’re now back to where we were and improving almost daily.  We’ve started introducing shoulder-ins, which Abbey is getting the hang of, are working on our trot-canter transitions and teaching Abbey to ‘sit’ a little more.

I’ve ambitions to move up to novice in dressage, which means Abbey needs to be able to do a medium trot and that means she needs to really use that back end.  The shoulder-ins are great for engaging her inside hind legs and we’re regularly practicing small (15m) circles in canter with half halts asking her to ‘sit’.

Showjumping wise, we’re still practicing ‘spooky’ fences. My RI’s ability to create new and interesting fences from our limited kit never ceases to amaze me and tonight was no exception.  We’re entered for our first ODE on 22nd October so we practiced corners and skinny’s and on the whole Abbey was (as usual!) a superstar.

The poor pony doesn’t have the most experienced rider and as she’s a novice (and slightly spooky) too, it can be tricky to ensure that we don’t have refusals. Tonight’s lesson definitely tested us and I’m delighted to report that she jumped almost everything first time!

I still find watching videos back such a useful exercise. I still haven’t got the knack of telling Abbey which way we are going to go after the fence , especially when it’s a bit tight. As a result she doesn’t also land on the lead I need and she can get unbalanced.

The way I ride the last fence the second time is much more positive.  I think I got over confident and wasn’t sitting back, ready to drive when Abbey had second thoughts.  Given it was a pallet, there was plenty of scope for her to run out and I should have been more ready for that.

My position has improved….I’m sitting up much straighter (although I could unfurl my shoulders even more).  Watching the video makes me want to work on giving with my hands and I also need to stop gripping with my knees and letting my lower leg slip back as I jump…it unbalances me a little and doesn’t help Abbey.