The Sand Arena Ballerina – 2018 Come at me!!

Well 2018 has started with a bang! A clinic with super coach Dani Keogh, learning how to use trot poles properly, a hack show that nearly resulted in drowning and an EquiMind competition.

After a short trial of going barefoot, Nonie had her shoes put back on at the beginning of January and we were able to get back to training. A few days later we attended the Summer School run by our local pony club where our regular coach Dani was teaching. Because it was the middle of summer and stinking hot I requested early lesson times. This meant three days in a row of 4.30am starts. Have I mentioned I’m not a morning person?



The early morning starts did allow me to avoid the worst of the heat and it was totally worthwhile. We continued working on the halfpass, flying changes, medium trot and short steps. Nonie even showed us that she can string a few changes together, the next step will be to get these happening together in a row! You can read more about what we worked on during these lessons you can check out my full post

You can also see some of our work from these lessons here

Following on from this I was lucky enough to have lessons from Francisco Campeo on trot poles. Francisco has recently relocated from Portugal to Australia and comes from a background of show jumping and horse ball, but he also has strong foundational horsemanship skills. Over the course of three lessons we worked through a number of exercises on straight and curved lines to help Nonie bend laterally through her body, but also to bend her hocks and engage more. Within this work I could feel Nonie thinking and adjusting her own body to find the right place to step between poles. It’s been great being able to add these into our regular training sessions, after all if it’s good enough for Ingrid Klimke it’s good enough for me!

During this time my grey and ice teal super stick breeches have been getting a thorough workout and are holding up to the wear well. I am absolutely loving the new silicone belts which are awesome for adding a pop of colour to outfit.

Having had limited competition outings last year I was itching to get back in the ring. My friend Tash was also moving her horse into Champion C meaning I now have a competition travel buddy – Steve your co-pilot skills may get a little rusty.

Tash and I decided to make the relatively short trip to the nearby town of Nebo for a twilight hack show. It should have been a lovely relaxing outing but my forgetfulness, combined with my tendency towards disorganisation and Nonie’s large personal space bubble meant that it took us much longer to just get the ponies loaded and on the road. Nevertheless we made it. Due to time restraints I decided to use my Quick Knots to plait up. And boy are they quick and I have to say that the finish is as good as the traditional sewing method. We were soon on our ponies and ready to compete until the rain began! After hiding under a shed we were soon able to get underway.

We were fortunate enough to win our two working horse classes and were Supreme Champion Hunter. We were about one quarter of the way through the program and the skies opened up once more. Tash and I decided we’d had enough, there is something about riding in torrential rain that I find just a little unappealing. Before we made it back to the our float my Wilson Equestrian super stick breeches were soaked through. It was at this moment I remembered that I hadn’t worn white underwear, not something you normally need to worry about in these breeches.

The following two weekend we filmed tests for the February Equimind competition. We won both the elementary and medium tests, with some positive feedback and constructive criticism.

Since then we have been training madly, and over the last month I’ve felt huge improvements in Nonie’s strength, the collected work is becoming easier, the counter canter more balanced and the lateral work more wrapped. This is the part of riding that I genuinely love, feeling the changes over time.

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