Just another amateur showjumper – Spring has sprung
Spring is in the air and early morning rides before work are much more pleasant (ie I can
actually feel my fingers and toes and am not questioning my sanity every stride). The
negative is that dust seems to stick to my face quite easily, and I have shown up to work
multiple times with a dirt beard. It would be remiss of me to talk about spring and not talk
about the joys having two mares in full work. Let’s just say I am super glad they can’t talk,
because I am pretty sure I would cop a mouthful.
Since my previous blog, I spent a week feeling sooky over my performance at the NSW State Titles. However the universe put my issues into perspective after a close friend and a family
member have faced/are facing some really serious health related issues. So after giving
myself a much needed kick up the bum, I readjusted my attitude and got on with it.
Mid November I took the mares to the local jump club.
I jumped Narnia her around the 1m and the 1.10m class as a way of continuing to get her
confidence back to where it was pre-titles. One of my biggest lessons I have learnt jumping
horses is that you should never worry about stepping them back. I have seen many a horse be
ruined by people who continue to step their horses up or give their horses less than adequate
rides without some form of consolidation (then wonder why their horses are dogging it “all of
a sudden”). Anyway, thankfully a month of going well and truly back to basics has paid off
and Narnia was back to her normal self. Bless her, she genuinely loves her job, which makes
training a lot easier. So next event all going well I’ll step her back up to her 1.20ms.
I also think I am finally starting to click with Celeste (the mare that I ride but don’t own).
She is a quirky mare who I have grown to really enjoy. I call myself a bit of a ‘slow burn’
kind of rider, and she is an example of a horse that I have taken along slowly.
I have seen footage of Sam Lyle jumping Celeste around the 1.20m mark, but I have been
sticking to low heights. Some would say I am being too cautious or not using her to the best
of her ability (or maybe just a crap rider). However in my opinion, until I can get her mind
where I want it, there is no point asking her to jump higher. Plus being a mum has definitely
brought some caution into what I do.
It is no longer just me that I have to think about. Sure she can jump 1.20m but just because a horse “can” do something, it doesn’t automatically mean it should. Sam Lyle has more talent in his little toe than I have in my entire existence,
so it would be mighty presumptuous to think just because the horse jumped the height with
him, that I would be able to do it right away.
So I have focused on getting the basics right with her first. To me I would rather do a nice
round at 90cms, than have an absolute shocker at a higher height. In any case, Celeste jumped
well and did two clear rounds. She is still getting a little strong, but it is a manageable kind of
strong which I am ok with. I expect the more we do the better she will get. She just needs to
be more consistent in her rhythm at this stage, and I need to trust myself more and keep my
shoulders up (as my coach yelled at me from across the field).
Other news is that my young gelding Nifty just turned 3. He is the first horse that I have bred
and I am excited to finish breaking him in. He is out of my mare Statford Narnia (Statford
Novalis) by Glenara Gold Dust (Balou Du Rouet). The plan for the next 12 months is to
continue his education and finish breaking him in over summer, spell him through
autumn/winter, and bring him back into work as a 4 year old.
So watch this space for some serious training in the next few blogs.
Fiona is wearing the Tallow Breeches in Black