The excitement of Spring was fresh in the air, anticipation of warmer weather, naked ponies and maybe even riding in one layer as opposed to ten. British weather had other plans! The start of March saw the Beast from the East and a heavy downpour of snow, unheard of in Hampshire! After one day of being trapped I managed to get to the yard to ride both horses and continue as normal, however due to the snow it meant a lack of turnout and an incredibly hot Zeta. In the meantime Woody had developed a new party trick that he couldn’t resist showing every couple of strides. We had figured out one single one time change. The first time he offered it I scanned around to make sure someone was watching, surely someone was watching.. But NO. Anyway it turned out to not be a fluke and now they are his favourite thing! You can feel the pride in him saying ‘Look mum, look what I can do!’ while I patiently continue to try and ask for just four time changes. ‘No Woody, not one, not two, please just four!’. I don’t mind, I couldn’t be prouder of what he offers me, he continues to exceed all expectations.
On the 11th March I took Zeta last minute to Cholderton to try and give a prelim another run. We had decided to try out the NAF Magic syringe calmer to try and take the edge off and give her a positive experience at shows. Little did we know we had got the timings completely wrong. I remember looking over at Kirsty with pure desperation willing this magical calmer to take some form of effect. The test was challenging and extremely fast, but there were massive improvements. The sad part was the fact I had a totally relaxed horse to travel home…. At least the calmer works!
The following week I had already booked in for a show on the Saturday with Zeta and had planned to take Woody to give our first advanced a go, I was extremely excited! My mum and nan had both come down from Kent, easily just as excited for the tailcoat debut, but the weather forecast had other plans. While I was plaiting Zeta, my mum turned to me and suggested it may not be possible to even make it to the show as the second bout of snow was coming down thick and fast. It wasn’t settling on the roads and we were travelling mainly motorways so I decided to try and if we had to turn round, so be it. Zeta warmed up like an angel and the first half of our test was phenomenal, different horse. I even looked over at everyone quizzically as I couldn’t understand who had swapped my horse. Then after passing the photographer the entire test up to this point, she nearly dropped me as she span on a sixpence. Regardless of this I was very proud of the improvements she had made. Little did I know we had scored 69+% and won the class over all. I could have cried. The second test was a little more tense with a LOT more objections at said photographer, who daren’t breath every time I went past, but I didn’t care; I had had a taste of our future. I got home, buzzing from our day with the ginger pocket rocket and eagerly got my tail coat out ready for the morning. It wasn’t meant to be as I woke up to a hell of a lot of snow and a cancelled show. Gutted doesn’t describe it but at least we had the day with Zeta.
As we were on a roll, I got a late entry to Castle Farm and entered Zeta in the two Prelims there. I was running late, due to miscalculating how long the journey would actually take so had ten minutes warm up. Not ideal. Zeta was a star and even dealt with a horse leaving the arena, only to bolt back in straight at her. She didn’t flinch. Our times were tight together so I stayed on her in between tests and she pulled out two mistake free tests, Hallelujah. She was extremely tense still but we had no explosions, spins etc, so I was over the moon. Our scores were insane, she had a 73+% and 74+% to come 2nd in both and a 9 on each sheet. The comments were amazing. I am still so proud of how much she has improved competing in such a short space of time.
I took some time off just before the Easter weekend and Kirsty and I enjoyed another forest hack with both Woody and Zeta. Both horses had a blast and enjoyed their fun time.
April is looking a little quieter for both horses as I personally have something very exciting in the pipeline, but never fear the tailcoat dream is but a footstep away.
Until next time x