I feel like every time I sit down to write these blogs another couple of months have gone by, and there has been so much going on! These last couple of months have been very focused on progressing the horses out and about. Some of you may know that I have been working away at getting my confidence back in different situations after my head injury last year, and this month has really been a culmination of testing it in many different situations.
I knew during the last lockdown that I had defiantly improved leaps and bounds, particularly hacking the horses out on the farm, but I also knew that the time had come to test Dotty out away from home. Our partnership this year has really improved, she can be very enthusiastic when she is away from home, and I was keen to make sure that I could cope with this confidently. So we attended a BD camp in September where we had a group pole work session, an individual session and then a pairs session over 3 days. It was the perfect opportunity to give her some life experience away from home, in a controlled situation, and I have to say she was brilliant!! I was very conscious of making sure I continued to progress with my confidence, and only stretch the comfort zone bit by bit so as not to have a set back. It was a hugely positive experience, and great to be back in a training environment.
The camp set us up brilliantly as we have now been out to 2 competitions and she is half qualified for regionals at Elementary. However after loosing a month of qualification time with the second lockdown we will now be kicking on to get a couple more under our belt to finish the qualification by the end of December!
Boris has also been super busy but in a slightly different way! I have said many times in the past that Boris is teaching me so many new things! I have never had a horse of his size and its like learning to ride again!! However there are a couple of other things we struggle with, one being his confidence in other places and the other being my patience when he isn't feeling confident. When Boris is having a 'mouse' moment as I like to describe them, he goes from feeling very good to going nowhere, this is a situation where less is the more, but I often have to remind myself of this!
So as he has been going so well as home, it was time to tackle this! We headed out to Wellington to do a test riding clinic, and true to form Boris the Mouse returned! However it was super productive, because I could train him through it without the pressure of competition, and he did manage to get through an elementary test with minimal mistakes. Boris is very much a horse that you have to let things sink in, and he will often process it, then come out better next time. So although I was exhausted, I was very pleased! With a quick shuffle round and a bit of planning, only a week later we headed out to another test riding clinic at The Croft, and he was amazing!! Boris was confident and showed the work he does at home, I also managed to sit still and let it happen (mostly!!).
In the ideal world he would have then quite quickly gone out to a competition, to build on his new found confidence. However lockdown then happened!
But COVID has brought us some good news in that his points from a competition earlier in the year (my first competition back!) have been carried forwards to this qualification period! So he is now half qualified for Pet Plan at Novice level, it wasn't part of the plan to do more novice tests on him, however I think that it could be the perfect way to build his confidence out and about, at a level he is now pretty secure at.
December is looking to be a crazy month, with clinics back on and a packed competition schedule, I will be looking forwards to a few days off over Christmas!!
Keep your eyes peeled for some Christmas Gift ideas coming out including the launch of my new Spring Online Course to get you ready for the competition season!