This Year Is Running Away With Me – September Already!

I’m sure lots has happened since I last posted but as per usual I am now struggling to recollect everything! Warning it may be long…

In my last post I had recently fractured my hand and I’m glad to report that it healed wonderfully, in fact I’ve given it very little thought since. We often forget as riders just how dangerous our sport can be, and receiving the odd break now and then is a gentle reminder that two brains/souls are involved in this game, and horses are not robots ;)

Luckily of all my rides Dino is a perfect gentleman and so he did not get the same break off work the slightly tricker boys and girls had. A good job too as we had the Summer Regional Championships at Keysoe planned for the beginning of August, and I was feeling confident we were on good form. This was to be our last Elementary test together (or so I thought) and I was grateful as I often find I have too much time to dwell on the negative in the lower level tests, something that does not occur in medium and above as movements come quick and fast. Anyway we had a few good scores before the show so I kept our routine as normal as possible.

On the day Keysoe was warm and sunny. I met Nikki Crisp (trainer extraordinaire) there as she had agreed to warm us up. This was the first time Nikki had seen me compete and I’m not sure she expected what she got lol! In the warm up I was having a panic, not something I normally suffer with, but it had been over a year since I’d competed at a Regional thanks to Dino’s WEG campaign. I hadn’t realised just how much pressure I was putting on myself until I finished my test. In fairness as soon as the bell rang it was a case of “getting down to business” and I just rode the test, but my mind kept picking at all the things I wasn’t doing so well. I came out of the test deflated and frustrated that I hadn’t given my all, which poor Nikki had to deal with. Dino of course received his normal pats and mints so did not think anything of it but I kept going over the not so good bits of my test in my head. I prepared everyone for a 64% score, thinking that I would be lucky with any higher. Everyone else thought I was mental as it looked good to them lol! Well they were right, and I know nothing! We scored over 71% and won the class with ease, so Dino became the Keysoe Summer Elementary Regional Champ, good boy Dino. This of course meant the Nationals, and yet one more Elementary test beckoned.

Aside from Dino’s competing we sent the girls off to our vets for that all important AI, hoping that we would have two Debonair babies brewing for next summer. Both girls were textbook cases (or so the vets said) but after several attempts we were left disappointed with no foals brewing at all. A very negative experience as first time breeders for us but we may try again next year with Boo, but this time we will send her to Woodlander Stud.

With no babies this meant that Glam could continue to be a dressage diva, much to her dismay I’m sure, so I’ve upped her work load again and once I feel she’s fit enough we shall try a few music tests with her over the winter months. With the new BD structure coming into effect in December it seems silly to take her out before hand. She has no points currently which will make knowing where she fits into the new structure much easier. Boo of course can not be ridden due to her injury and after her failed AI we had her foot re-xrayed to see how it as looking. The x-ray was not good at all, which astounded us all as she’s sound as a pound, with no hint of discomfort. It showed her pedal bone has rotated even further so I was worried about her future, however from watching her bounce around in her round pen you would think she was 110% ok. We will keep an eye on it over winter and if she still seems happy to move the way she is (it has the most amazing passage) then I will have no qualms about putting her in foal.

Datum came back into work sweetly after his cheeky behaviour earn’t him that time off! I was feeling really good about him, even though he went through yet another growing phase which saw his back end towering over his front, then disaster struck once again. He was turned out in his field as per normal one day whilst mum and I were poo picking in the back fields behind the hedge. We made several trips up to the muck heap, passing him as we did, and he was as settled as he usually is (loves his field time). On our last trip he was standing in the corner looking a bit twitchy so I went over to investigate. His field fencing was a mess and the electric rope that divides it was all over the place. He himself didn’t look too bad until closer inspection, which revealed a nice long gash down his near fore, but more worryingly several nasty rope burns around his neck and throat. Although we do not know exactly what happen I can only surmise that he spooked at something, ran and then slipped under his fencing, coming back up underneath it and wrapped the electric rope (which was on) around his neck. This then understandably made him panic further and caused him to tighten the rope round his neck. Poor mite, but he really is the most accident prone youngster I have ever had! Any way we kept and eye on him and I treated his foreleg (who needs a vet)! Once the rope burns had healed I decided that it was unfair to do any work until I’d had my chiropractor Nicky Jennings check him out. Structurally he was a bit of a mess but he was quite happy in himself and his range of movement seemed completely normal, so she gave us the go ahead to start again…….until his next suicide attempt!

Back to Dino…..The Nationals came up fast and as we set off for Stoneleigh I felt ok, certainly less neurotic than the Regionals which makes no sense at all. The BD programme had us down as the ones to watch in our class, but I knew that our class was going to be fiercely competitive with some brilliant combinations heading down the centreline. We arrived in good time on the Wednesday and took Dino for a stroll around the warmup and competition arena, saving me a job the next morning (lie in – whoop). We warmed up brilliantly on the Thursday and he felt on good form around the arena before the bell. He looked amazing and I was wearing my lovely new jacket from Sporting Colours, all was going to plan. I meant business with the first centreline (scoring 8′s) but after the halt I felt him start to retreat into himself. This is not new for Dino, and unfortunately for us it happened last time at Stoneleigh too. The atmosphere just gets to him and as he’s not one of those explosive spooky types he simply gets slower and slower until you feel like you could get off and carry him around for better marks. So I put on a smile and flapped until the last halt, and that was the end of our bid to become National Champs lol. You win some and you lose some, that is what sport is all about. Of course I beat myself up in the lorry, but you know sometimes you just have to go with it :)

So now I’ve written my essay and bored everybody to death I’m off back out to get the inmates in from the fields. This weekend sees Dino and I heading to Sheepgate for the Area Festival, a weekend I always thoroughly enjoy as the venue is first class and the show has a fab atmosphere. See you soon…..

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