Can we see the light at the end of the tunnel??

Hello there! I hope that you’re all holding up well and have managed to start making some semi-normal plans. It’s so lovely to be able to think that very soon we might be able to pop out for dinner or to the local pub for a drink or two.

I am very pleased to report that we made it out of our village and to a show! We made the journey to Chard in Somerset for their BS show on Wednesday, but sadly the weather didn’t mirror our excitement. It’s certainly days like that which make you rethink your wet weather wardrobe and reach for the Vanish when you get home to try and get your breeches looking vaguely presentable again! I am very excited to very soon be the proud owner of a Stierna waterproof jacket that is meant to be the best of the best when it comes to keeping you dry and comfortable. I have also heard that as soon as you have an item of the Stierna waterproof range, it won’t rain for forty days and forty nights, so you can thank me all for the heatwave that I’ve created!!

Anyway – our show report. We took seven horses from Julian Mincher’s yard in total, and two of which were for me to ride. Of course Mary was included in that, and she felt very happy to be at her first show in several months! My first ride was a lovely mare called Pepper (Ismira VI) who I have been riding a little at home. She jumped around the 1.05m for just the lightest touch on a vertical where I got her a fraction close, and then followed that up with a beautiful double clear in the Newcomers, and ended up with the fastest time and a red rosette! I had instructions from Julian to not race Mary around the Newcomers, as we’ve been working really hard on improving the shape of her jump, and slowing her down in the air. Even though she seemed to spend more time looking outside the arena than concentrating on the job at hand, she jumped a lovely double clear and ended up coming fourth.

I was entered for the Foxhunter, but after talking with Julian, we decided that I would withdraw from it. This isn’t something that I would normally do, but Chard has a reputation for building very strong courses, and I didn’t want to undo all of our hard work and not ride my best. It just shows how having an experienced trainer to help you and guide at competitions as well as at home can be so beneficial. If I had gone to the show on my own, I’d probably have jumped the Foxhunter as well and potentially wouldn’t have finished on a good note. It looks like we’ll be heading to Dorset in a couple of weeks’ time to have another crack at it, so I’ll be looking to step back up there.

I’ve also got some very exciting news in that I am now sponsored by FreeJump Systems! They sent me a beautiful pair of their new Soft’Up Pro Plus stirrups which I used at the show for the first time, and I couldn’t believe how comfortable and cushioning they were. With 11mm of shock absorption and a 30% wider footbed, they are without doubt one of the leading stirrups in terms of safety, comfort and aesthetics.

I have to say that I am certainly enjoying the new warm-up format at post Covid-19 shows. The team at Chard did an incredible job of ensuring that the classes ran smoothly and to time, and no one was rushed through their warm up. When we take the four year olds out for their first show, it is lovely to know that they won’t have to deal with dangerous and over-crowded warm-up arenas. It will certainly be interesting to see if we can make warm-ups a safer place for everyone! ​ Well, that’s all from me for now! I hope that your first outings aren’t full of too many fresh and spooky horses and that all your hard work during lockdown is rewarded. Take care!

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