Tuesday, 25 July 2017

RDA Nationals - Showjumping

This year I had entered the Level 3 jumping competition with Rolo and I was looking forward just to having a bit of fun - Rolo is great fun to ride and even more fun to jump! We had plenty of time to warm up in the collecting ring, although it was a bit irritating that both jumps that were up had to be tackled from the right rein. Rolo was feeling unusually calm so we just had plenty of time to feel loose and free but also sharp and on the ball. Those things sound mutually exclusive but aren't - it's vital to be a bundle of potential energy not just nervous energy!
Walking into the indoor school with Rolo brought back memories of doing the same thing two years before, when a lovely but overzealous official leapt up from a chair on the inside of the (very dark) barn just as we came in from the (very bright) outside world. Rolo nearly had a fit and it wasn't a calm way to enter our dressage test!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

RDA Nationals - Showing

It's not a secret that I really didn't feel very prepared for the showing class at the RDA National Championships. Along with Eleanor and Olivia from my RDA group, I'd been put forward to it on the basis that we'd be there anyway so we may as well give it a go. I didn't really think it was my thing but I never say no to having a ride so we went for it!

We had a practice session at RDA where the three of us and Chris went in the outdoor arena and Gillian did her best to explain what was likely to happen and what we would be required to do. Suffice to say we had a lot to learn about showing etiquette!

Monday, 17 July 2017

Left shoulder

Many of you will be aware that I have various problems going on with my left shoulder. These are longstanding and date back several years, although a few falls in the last two or three years have caused particular problems. The joint is very unstable and also pretty damn painful! It's caused and/or exacerbated weaknesses in my hand. Watching this video has been really weird - a lot of it was filmed on my webcam so it's a mirror image, which means I get to see what my left hand would look like if it worked properly (the fast forward speed neatly disguises my shaky hands!).

After two years of riding one-handed and letting the left arm flop about, we decided about a year ago that I needed to keep it as motionless as possible whilst riding, because having the arm yanking around was causing more and more damage to my shoulder.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Interview for 'Totally Horse and Pony'

A few weeks ago I was contacted by a lovely lady called Julia who asked to write a feature on me and para vaulting more widely in the magazine she edits, Totally Horse and Pony. The finished product is now live and can be read here!

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Getting used to sitting aside

The day after the RDA lunch I made an exciting new acquisition - my first ever side saddle habit! I managed to find a (relatively) inexpensive one online that was within driving distance so, on probably the wettest day in the year, I drove for an hour along tiny country roads to a little yard to try it on and (yay!) take it home.
About this wet, but not as cross!
I've had one side saddle lesson since then which was an opportunity not only to get some more practice in but also to learn how to tack up and how to arrange the apron (skirt bit). Putting on a side saddle is rather more complicated than putting on a regular saddle. The steps are:

Sunday, 2 July 2017

Head above water

Over the last few weeks it feels as if I've just about been able to keep my head above the water just by thrashing wildly around and trying not to drown. I've had a lot of commitments to keep but problems with my neck have made everything about fifty times harder. It's made it difficult to keep up with updating this blog, so the next few posts will be fairly brief and just deal with one thing at a time.
Flowers for sale at the RDA lunch
First off, the RDA fundraiser lunch!