Hi again everyone! If you read my last blog you’ll remember my superstar event pony is out of action. I really hate not being able to allow her to canter, jump and do all the things she loves! But she is allowed to go swimming which keeps her happy (I’m so lucky to be stabled on the beach)! Two more weeks of sound trot work and we can hopefully start cantering… I’ll be needing my full seat grippy Montars for the first canter back!

However, whilst Roo is on her rehab plan, my lovely purebred Connemara, Dolan Jack, has done a fantastic job of filling her shoes. Jack has been with me since he was 4 and a half and is now a 6 year old. As most Connemaras are, he was a slow burner and it has taken a long time for him to build the confidence to event successfully. When I first got Jack, he wouldn’t load, we couldn’t catch him, he hated his ears being touched, he would rush at jumps and send poles flying left right and centre (he still does this occasionally haha). He couldn’t even survive the warm up without spinning and trying to run from other horses or shouting his head off due to the anxiety. His biggest steps away from this came from the hunt field and from weekly lessons.

I hunt with the South Down Bloodhounds who are a ‘Clean Boot’ hunt. If you’re not familiar with the lingo, this basically means we DO NOT hunt foxes. We actually hunt men. It’s great fun! I think everyone should have a chance to have a flask of port, jump some hedges and chase some men! And apart from the fact it’s soooo much fun, it teaches the horses a lot. For starters, Jack (chucked in the deep end here) had to cope with the others horses around him. He very quickly grew in confidence and this has now transferred to the warm up where he is solid and brave. Secondly, you have to jump what is in front of you and if you get it wrong, there’s no time to dwell on it. You have to be thinking about your next fence or balancing for a turn or having a good blast across a field. This stopped him worry about having poles down or looking at fillers. As a result, he’s less tense which gives him such an incredible shape over a fence! And as for the weekly lessons… that is pretty self-explanatory. Find yourself a bloody good flat instructor, a bloody good jump instructor and stick to them. Go to them as much as you can. Myself and my horses have benefitted massively!

Jack has now achieved several top 10 BE80 placings, including one at a Regional Final! He has achieved two 1st places at 90 Hunter Trials, two 2nd places at 90 ODEs and stepped up to boss his first 100 ODE. We’re off to the BRC National Horse Trials on the first weekend of August… finger’s crossed he can keep filling Roo’s shoes!