Phew is the Word!
Phew is probably the best word to describe the last few weeks and months. My horses all enjoyed their week winding down after their three day events, with increasing time in the field and a few hacks, followed by a month of 24/7 turnout. They all continued to have a handful of Alfa or Hi Fi per day whilst out (plus balancer).
Those lucky enough to begin their holidays before the really wet weather set in, enjoyed their first month of happy hacking whilst still living out. The others came in at night and the long slow road to next season begins. 80% of them have wintered on Hi-Fi and balancer, the others Alfa-A and balancer and only two have concentrates added!
After a month of hacking we introduced a little flat work, building that up just before Christmas so that the first gang had their first jump at home. Since Christmas the fun has really begun. We have enjoyed two two-day clinics with Andrew Fletcher, the dressage guru and the third begins tomorrow. We took 5 horses to our first BS show at Addington in mid January, only one class each, but they LOVED IT! With Bosun aiming for Badminton, he has begun some BD shows, and a very chilly trip to Carl Hester’s. It was -5°C, I was staying in the lorry and to make matters worse there was a power cut, so we had no heating and the duvets were cleverly left in my attic for the winter to stay dry!
Its fair to say that being over half way through the winter is a huge relief. Having promised Harry, my racing/hunting mad other half, that I would only winter around 5 or 6 horses this year, I have over shot the mark slightly with 19! Emelia and I have enjoyed having young rider, Bert Bolton with his 4 horses join us and we are all eagerly awaiting March – the start of the ‘actual eventing’ calendar. Before then we have a raft of Andrew Fletcher training, a couple of days with the wonderful Luis Alvarez over from Spain to train the kiwi team and our resident jumping pro, Robert Snaddon. I have four more dressage shows and a similar number of jumping outings.
I remain a huge hacking advocate, so despite the school work beginning all my horses have at least 5 hacks per week, I find it’s good for both the body and brain. The ‘big boys’ begin their canter work at Edgecote Gallops next week, just steadily and the younger horses will probably just have a couple of outings there before they compete. We are incredibly lucky with wonderful hills here, so I am hoping my ponies will be fit as fleas and ready to win!
I received a huge compliment from a new owner the other day, who remarked just how happy all our horses are. I know Dengie plays a huge part in that and here’s hoping happy horses win plenty of prizes!