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07 December 2015 ~ 0 Comments

SOEquine update – getting back in the saddle and lots of groundwork

SOEquine is back! In this latest update, Sophie tells us what she’s been up to over the last few months…

In my last blog we were full of the joys of spring, and now we are knee deep in winter mud!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis year I planned to concentrate on training, and building the foundation for success. I imagined that by putting competing on the back burner the time would really drag – but this year has absolutely flown by!

Jason and Ferdy have moved to a livery yard where we have the use of an all weather arena, so we can now continue training through the winter. Minnie has stayed at home for the time being with a friends pony for company, a little black beauty.

Jason came back into work in April after a year off due to lameness, gastric ulcers, and… other reasons I now forget! After a couple of good groundwork sessions in the round pen I climbed aboard, Jason was happy and healthy so in my excitement at being back in the saddle I was a little hasty and I booked us a place on a dressage clinic. We had plenty of time to prepare, but swamp-like ground conditions at home meant we didn’t manage much training, so when the day of the clinic arrived I had sat in the saddle only a few times, we weren’t at all ready.

At this point Jason had been at the new yard only a short time and had become infatuated with one of his new field companions, in the days leading up to the clinic he really wasn’t listening to me, he just wanted to go back to his friend. I knew I should have cancelled, but after so many setbacks I told myself we were never going to get anywhere if I admitted defeat – isn’t hindsight a marvellous thing?!

That day as I climbed into the saddle I knew that I was asking rather a lot of him. He surprised me by working really nicely, we had a small audience and I Ferdyremember the amazing feeling as I soaked up the oohs and aahs in admiration of my clever horsey. I could feel that Jason was like a loaded spring but he was doing a grand job of holding it together – just. Towards the end of my lesson I had a feeling… you know, THAT feeling, the “I really should stop now and end on a good note” feeling. Then I was flying through the air – he had thrown me off! I landed on my back with a heavy thud, I had some very deep bruising – and not just my ego!

First things first, I asked the yard owner if Jason could be separated from his girlfriend. Almost immediately he started to pay attention to me again and we went right back to basics with plenty of ground work, it was about four months before I finally climbed back on board. Jason was a little anxious as I mounted, so I just dismounted and mounted a few times and called it a day. Then the next day we had a good free-schooling session and Jason was quite tired and sweaty, so I hopped on board right at the end just to cool him down on a long rein. I wanted him to think of the ridden part of his work as being the easy bit, something he should look forward to! Sure enough, as I was walking him to the mounting block each day he seemed to start thinking “oh good, it’s time for the easy part”.

I have booked a lesson with our trainer Hannah Esberger for the 21st December; this is our first lesson with Hannah in over two years, and by Jove – I really do believe we will be ready this time!

Ferdy has also had a summer of groundwork training and a couple of outings too, we took him to a showground to have a little wander around and soak up the atmosphere, and he attended a groundwork clinic. He has worn every article of tack and equipment that I can think to throw at him, and I have laid across his back a few times, to be honest I don’t think he noticed… nobody could accuse me of rushing his training that’s for sure! That is the luxury of training your own horse, and with the winter no longer hindering our progress Ferdy is going to be the most rounded and educated horse you could ever meet!

Minnie is hacking out, and lunging regularly at home, the plan is for her to go over to the livery yard on the 21st so I can have a lesson on her too. I wonder what the three amigos will think when they are all briefly reunited?

Next time I write we will have had our very long awaited lesson, and hopefully it will be incredibly uneventful and make for very boring reading! So that’s something to look forward to…

Oh, almost forgot – Merry Christmas!

Until next time…



To find out more about Sophie and SOEquine, see her website here.

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