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Feeling fit and raring to go - Alice Goring's pre-season training has started
I am counting down the days now until my first event on the 6th March, where The Little Frenchman (Finley) will be doing the ON! The pre-season training has been going really well and the horses are all feeling fit and raring to go.
A Cornish Adventure
Just after writing my last blog, we went on a big adventure to Cornwall where we competed in a three day BSJA competition at Colraine Equestrian Centre. My family all live in Cornwall and so it seemed like the perfect time to combine a trip. Teddy my little 6 month old miniature shetland mascot tagged along too and we had a brilliant time. Finley won two classes against some tough competition, which was great. The arena was much more cramped than the big open fields that you showjump in at horse trials, so the thought of jumping classes up to Foxhunter height in there definitely felt quite daunting on the first day. But we soon got the hang of it and Finley really was pinging. I also fulfilled my lifelong dream of riding on the beach on my own horse. The weather definitely wasn’t on our side that day; there was heavy hail and we got absolutely drenched!! But it was one of those experiences where it didn’t really matter at all and I was smiling from ear to ear galloping along the 5 miles of sand. Finley was a bit unsure of the waves at first, snorting and growing a few feet in height but after the initial shock he thought that the whole thing was amazing. We also introduced Teddy to the sand and waves and took him for a beach walk every day, which he really loved. We walked him through the town to get there and he met loads of lovely new human friends on the way who couldn’t believe that he was real! When he is a bit older I would love him to be a therapy pony, so the fact that he is so relaxed in this kind of environment is really promising.
I have also had some good training sessions back at home, with lessons from Justin Clubley and Ernest Dillon proving very valuable. We are in the process of trying to teach Finley how to do a proper flying change, which has taken some convincing as he finds counter canter far too easy! He also has a massive sense of humour and I think that he thinks it is all pretty hilarious doing his own moves. We have been using poles on the diagonal and going over them in a figure of eight shape so that he clearly understands what we are asking of him. He is slowly coming round and hopefully before long should have got the hang of it. Jumping wise he really is on top form and I am always amazed at how easy he finds the big fences. He had his first cross country training session at Tweseldown last Sunday and felt fab. We didn’t do too much but I always make sure that I pop him over a corner, ditch, skinny, water and step combination before the season starts. I think that this is more for my piece of mind than his! He is doing his an unafilliated 1.10m ODE on the surface at Aston le Walls this Sunday so that should be fun and will be good preparation for Isleham.
My rising 5 year old Joey came in from his holiday in mid January and seems to have grown a lot in the few months that he was turned away for. He definitely isn’t 15.3hh anymore and was measured a few days ago at around 16.1hh! He really was very easy to restart and we have pretty much been able to carry on where we left off, after gradually building up his workload. I had my first jump on him since his break last weekend and he is feeling really up for it. His paces and balance are really developing too and he is able to really use himself now that he has had a bit of a growth spurt. Hopefully he should be out there eventing in the next few months, although we will take it slowly with him as I am very excited about his future.
We got an exciting delivery in the post from Equilibrium today and are really looking forward to trialing simplyboost RECOVERY, ENERGY and RESILIENCE. I am really interested in trying simplyboost RECOVERY in particular as Finley is only 15hh, so is very small in comparison to the height of fences he jumps and his muscles probably work doubly as hard as a result. Using these new products and regular massages with his equilibrium massage pad, will hopefully give him the best chance to be at the top of his game.