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July started with a trip to Chepstow BE to school around the flagged course with sales livery Sparkle! She absolutely flew round and was an absolute star, mainly focusing on the 90 course as she hadn’t been XC in a while. She finished popping through 100 combinations with ease, we didn’t even take a stick, just gave her confidence vocally. Shortly after this she sold to a lovely family, and is really happy in her new home teaching her young rider about jumping!
We welcomed Spice to the yard for a few weeks to work on her flatwork and her rearing. Our first ride out focused on going behind, halting and letting her friends leave her behind a bit, she did really well and only had a hint of a rear. We didn’t push her too hard on this first day, but continued this work throughout her two weeks. We had a lot of rearing when we pushed harder, which is important as until she shows us the behaviour it is hard to work on it. By the end of her time with us she was quite happy to stand, wherever her friend was or what they were doing.
We did have a little play with her tack, switching her bit to a smaller one and taking the lip strap off her micklem bridle. Spice also did plenty of schooling, working on elongating her back and self-carriage. She had a tendency to snatch the bit and rush, with a short, choppy gait. We slowed everything down a little and had her walking and trotting much more freely. We tried to wind her up in the arena and see if she would rear, but she was on her best behaviour. We were absolutely chuffed with the progress she made whilst she was here, and so far she has been really good for her owner so fingers crossed it stays that way!
Sales livery Shadow is truly amazing and has gone from strength to strength. He had some great hacking, leading past scary tractors and balers during hay season. He has also been doing some amazing work in the school, jumping fillers happily and standing quietly for us to do round the world, jumping off and vaulting on. He’s been ridden bareback and loves every bit of attention he gets given! He has also done some liberty work and loves to follow his humans wherever they go. He gave our friend’s daughter Millie a lesson and looked after her so well, they did some poles and jumped the biggest Millie has ever jumped!
Sales livery Jysar has also improved beyond belief. He has also stood like a rock for noisy machinery and been really brave on hacks. He also put up with us doing all sorts of silly things like standing on his back, and sitting sideways! He did a lot more riding on his own to try to get him used to it, and was a really good boy. He also learned to canter, and had a lovely rocking horse canter. He found himself a lovely new home, so said goodbye to us and his old owners to set foot on the next step in his journey.
Sales livery Charlie has been gradually building his strength, hacking and lunging alternatively. He is such a wonderful horse and always tries his best! He had a treatment from our amazing chiro and is feeling so much better for it. He is so cool to ride bareback, he’s a super laid-back dude! He has also done some schooling and is proving so trainable, he just needs to build up some more muscle.
We picked up another sales livery Lola this month, and she has settled in really well and is doing brilliantly. She started with being long reined and leaned over, soon progressing to having a rider on her. Lola had kissing spine surgery a year ago, and although she had been rehabbed completely her owner had then struggled to keep her in work over the winter. Having always been a sensitive mare, Lola needed restarting to make sure she trusted us and was more confident. She is now hacking in walk, trot and canter and is feeling so much more relaxed to start with. She still has a snack when we first get on to make sure she is happy. She has been brilliant in the arena, happy to walk, trot, canter and jump. She has a pony in with her to keep her relaxed but is making steps forward without friends too.
We also welcomed schooling livery Merlin, who was in for some jump schooling and to see what he was capable of. We started him off with a lone hack focusing on forwardness and rhythm, as we knew from his owner that he could be a little bit nappy. He moved on to some flatwork and grid work, and whilst he was very sluggish to start with, once he had moved through the grid a couple of times he started to enjoy himself and be more forward. He went to Moores in his first week and worked really hard.
We worked on getting him off the leg on the flat and did plenty of transitions to sharpen him up. He needed a lot of support and so we rode every fence, he went clear in the 60 and had just the last pole down in the 70 due to tiredness. He also had a lesson with Katie Williams, again using transitions to sharpen him up despite the heat. He jumped everything first time, including the bounces! He went to Ace two days later and was really brilliant, jumping some big scary fences first time, from big corners to trakehners as well as flying into the water, stepping ditches and hopping up and down steps.
Perez, who we met at Moores last month came to us for a school and a gridwork session. He was such a star; his flatwork was much improved and it was lovely to feel him sitting back on his hocks and carrying himself. We think there has been such a dramatic difference because he knew he was going to have fun. It was certainly a very rewarding session and he showed so much scope for the future!
Towards the end of this month we welcomed schooling livery Bobby, who settled really well. He had a hack out on his first day and was sharp and spooky, which is one of the problems his owner had had with him. We worked on getting him to slow down and assess the situation rather than just panicking. The improvement from the start to the end of the hack was amazing, he really started to relax in the woods and wind down. On his second ride he went in the arena, where he was very good, just trying to buck at one stage but settling down and popping through a grid by the end. Bobby is still with us, so tune into next month’s blog to see how he gets on!
Sienna has had some in hand work, trotting poles and having fun with some free jumping. She really is a talented little mare, and loves attention, bringing herself in to do some work! Our gorgeous girl Swift has enjoyed some hacking, and started jumping again! She has also had us standing up on her, just to prove what a little gem she is to hack! Tom has had a quiet month, doing plenty of lunging, and a bit of pole and grid work to prove that he can still be amazing when he wants to be!
Rose has done plenty of hacking and has started to get out competing. Her schooling has been somewhat exuberant, so we’ve been trying to school her on hacks as much as possible! She also had a trip to Hartpury Showjumping Spectacular and just had one pole to be just outside the placings in seventh. She also had a brilliant lesson with Katie Williams, working really nicely on the flat, and working on correct bends and not falling out.
Kerry has had lots of fun bareback, he is very much our therapy horse and when we have a bad day we only want him! He loves us and looks after us so well. He had a trip to Moores to get him ready for competing again and he had good rounds in the 80 and 90. He has been out competing this month, with a double clear in the British Novice at Hartpury Showjumping Spectacular to come fifth, and another fifth with a pole down at Leyland Court. He is getting older and is a bit arthritic these days, but still gives us his all and loves to jump.
We spent four days bringing in hay, mainly just the five of us with a couple of helpers along the way! It was exhausting, getting up early to ride all the schooling liveries before putting in a full day moving hay, but so rewarding having a barn full of our own hay for the first year! Our haylage has also been baled and wrapped so we are feeling less stressed about winter than ever before (although still not ready, stay away winter)!
Thanks to Horsemart for sending us tickets to Hickstead! We had a fantastic time on the Saturday of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup. We watched the fabulous David Simpson winning the Queen Elizabeth II cup, and Ellen Whitaker winning the Bemer Speed Class. It was lovely to see her throw her rosette to one of the watching children, who knows what inspiration she will be to that child. We had a walk round the shops, and met up with our sponsors in Equine Superstore, where they gifted us with some lovely Dublin leggings and a pony Micklem bridle.