Welcome to my debut Animalife blog. I signed up to be a Team Animalife rider a few weeks ago, after trying Vetrofen Healthy on my horse with positive results. However, the holidays rapidly arrived and it`s been a whirlwind of Pony Club Camps, riding, teaching, competing, hacking, lunging; lessons being on a Monday instead of a Thursday, and at 10am instead of 4pm.
As I breathed a sigh of relief at making it through to September I promised myself that I would begin blogging. However, I didn`t anticipate the barrage of new social diaries that came my way, meaning that I have a big juggling act to perform before next week. So whilst I procrastinate, let me introduce myself.
My name is Susy, I am 25 years old, and a freelance riding instructor - in case you hadn`t realised. I teach a range of people, from young children on the lead rein, to aspiring Pony Clubbers, to dressage riding ladies, and nervous hackers. In my spare time I compete my own horse - a nine year old Welsh Section D gelding called Otis. This season we have been busy establishing ourselves at unaffiliated BE100 level. This weekend I actually pulled my socks up, and we went to Elmwood Equestrian ODE in Oxfordshire in the BE100 section.
I have been really stressing over my dressage recently, and getting very tense with our mediocre scores, but I managed to find my zone and Otis stayed relaxed and consistent to produce our best eventing score to date - 28.3. This was good enough for second, but to me I had already won because dressage had finally clicked back into place!
We went on to the delayed showjumping, and waited around in the drizzle until it was our turn. Otis has an unfortunate nickname - Mr Four Faulter - but I`ve been really working on our approaches and he is getting much better. However, at the final fence he took a hold towards home, got in too deep and brought down the upright. It was a shame, but I was pleased that it was an error, as opposed to him backing off the fences and then not making the distance over the oxer, which has been our bug bear.
Thankfully it stopped raining for the cross country, and we were first on course. It was brilliant! The first couple he often backs off and takes a flyer, but by the third he was in his stride, locking on to each fence, yet still able to be manipulated around the different complexes - including a nasty right angled turn. He stayed on pretty much all my lines, and they were tight because he`s not a natural galloper so we often struggle to get inside the optimum time. We didn`t make it this time, so added a couple of penalties onto our score. We finished in 5th place, with a score of 33.9 which I was really happy about. Yes, we can improve, but we can always improve. The fact that I was within touching distance of a podium place is enough to inspire me to work towards our next competition in a couple of weeks time.
Unfortunately it was rather an expensive day out. One of my studs fell out in the dressage - I think the thread had worn out. And then another stud fell out during showjumping, and by the end of the cross country I had lost that shoe AND another stud! I think it was Otis`s way of telling me he wanted a holiday until Wednesday, when he is due to be shod. It was a late night by the time we got home, so I was very glad it was Bank Holiday Monday and I`d given myself the day off! We had planned a non-horsey day out, so I only had to drag the non-horsey other half to the yard to feed the horses and make sure Otis had recovered before heading off to visit The Living Rainforest, and to go shopping. Given the weather, I`m very glad we did it that way round! I`ve not got any photos from the weekend yet, and I`m not very good at remembering to take them, but here`s one of my favourite photos of Otis and I so you know who we are - yes, he is a poser!