Francesca Hibbins’ Equestrian Life

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And so the season starts!

The past few weeks have been all go, and I seem to have been doing more cross-country than anything, which is a bit strange for me!  I started off the season with CJ by taking him to Markfield equestrian centre one Sunday. I wasn’t expecting a lot, so we just entered him into the Discovery so that he could have a slight blow-out from having some time off. He jumped perfectly (for a change) and I finally hoped that we might be getting somewhere and that he was starting to actually grow up! He got a good double clear and 4th, because I was taking my time to get the double clear. We then went off and had a lesson, and again he was foot-perfect, I was getting comments that I couldn’t believe, people saying that he had grown up over the winter and found more scope and power from somewhere. So when he then behaved ridiculously at Markfield again, I wasn’t quite sure what had happened! He jumped a lovely clear in the first round and then decided that in the jump-off he had his own route and it wasn’t quite the same as mine. Annoyingly enough, he jumped the wrong fence clear. “Well done me”, he thought! After a few weeks of temper at home (because according to him it’s all my fault), we’ve been back to the drawing board and we have decided to put him back into 1.05 classes. And we’ve now added a curb chain to his American gag, rather than a strap. So we shall have to see how that goes in the next few weeks!

Cross-country-wise, I have been putting a lot of time into my Novice, Henry Bear. He has been to 3 hunter trials in 3 weeks now, and has grown from strength to strength at each one! His first one was at Prestwold hall, just down the road from me, so I hacked him there, not expecting to do all that well. He jumped a lovely round, considering that he hadn’t been on a cross-country course since last September, and he was an absolute gem at the timed section which included a gate which you had to open and close. When we found out that he was 3rd, we were thrilled. He then went to the Burghley hunter trial, which was a lovely course, except that it had a bit of a “bogey” time – a timed section which no one was allowed to know. So, unfortunately, even though we did a lovely clear, we were not in the rankings. The last one he has been to was at Aylesford, where he again was very good and jumped a superb round.

Some exciting news is that we have a new member of the team – our new little mascot, Mag. She is a Patterdale x Lakeland puppy. She is only 20 weeks old now and has already been to lots of different places, walking courses and watching. She’s not quite sure what it’s all about yet.
I have also recently been for an interview regarding volunteering at the Olympics. This will be through Loughborough University, and they were hoping that if I did get the chance to help, I would be on the communications side – which all sounds very exciting!

I hope that everyone else’s season has had a good start, and that the weather doesn’t ruin any more plans, being too hard or too wet !

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