Kirsty & Jo Snelling’s Equestrian Life

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Hey Everyone.

It’s nice to finally get back out there competing! Of course, in our true style, it wasn’t quite on the date or at the venue that we had originally planned, but none the less, the horses eventually managed to have their “leg stretch”.

Unfortunately, due to unforeseen financial circumstances, we didn’t make it across to the ‘In the Spotlight’ show as we had originally planned. Instead, we decided that the next weekend would be ideal to get the rest of our crew out and about. Location – Faldingworth Equestrian Centre. We both absolutely love FEC, due to its quiet location and friendly atmosphere. And this month was their Equifest qualifiers, a perfect chance to get out and get qualified. Luckily, despite the horrible weather forecast, we managed to dodge all the rain and have a great day in the sunshine.

This time, the focus wasn’t all on Jasmine (Our 15.2hh, dark-bay sports horse.) although we did take her for a leg stretch since it was her first show of the year. Instead, we decided it would be a great opportunity to get the least experienced of our group out and about, mainly just for them to get the feel of a showing atmosphere. We took Jacob with us, show name Dexter’s Harlequin. Jake is a rising three-year-old, 16hh Irish Sports Horse that has been with us for almost a year now. He’s a nervous character, due to a rather patchy past. We aren’t quite sure what he’s been through in his short few years,and he takes a while to get used to the people around him. We thought Faldingworth would be a fabulous location for his very first show – even if he didn’t get the chance to actually compete, he would get to see the atmosphere.

After nicely settling him into the show-ground, we decided we were going to give him a shot at in-hand showing. Mainly due to the fact that he was taking everything in his stride so well, proved that the buzzing atmosphere wasn’t too exciting at all. He even gave Jaz a lead back into the lorry as she stubbornly refused to go back in!

We believe it’s a great idea to get youngsters out in their earlier years. Even if they just go out for a look around the grounds and not to actually show, it helps them to have a calm approach to any events when they are older and either in-hand or under saddle. They soon learn that shows aren’t as exciting as they first think!

With low expectations, we entered Jake in the in-hand coloured class, hoping that at least his striking markings would go well for him. Jake has got a long way to go with his leading skills; being so nervous, he finds trotting next to someone to be a little daunting, sometimes not being trusting enough to actually go forward. It’s something we’ve been putting in lots of practice with at home,and he is coming on steadily. Shyness aside, Jake proved us to be completely wrong indeed!

Instead of being reluctant, he soon got the hang of what he was supposed to be doing. Seeing other horses trotting in front of him around the ring soon made him realise what we wanted. Asking him to move forward, we were extremely surprised to find that he went along too, with a very flashy trot indeed! He managed to impress the judges, earning a very respectable second place and qualifying him for the Equifest championships in August. It just goes to show that no matter the horse, the right combination of training can bring out its best side. We persevered with Jacob, and the two judges, both who compete and judge at county level, were very impressed and believe he will make a fabulous riding horse in the future. So watch this space!

The second member of our group to compete was Silver Stream Playboy – Nibbles. Nibbles is an unregistered M&M. We believe him to be a Welsh Sec B cross Connemara. However, we can’t be completely sure. Again, Nibbles used to be a very nervous little pony which we originally rescued, planning to bring him on as a small project. Being only 12.2hh, he’s a little small for us to be competing under saddle! However, the little guy weaved his way into our hearts and is here to stay. Good thing too, he’s quite the little character in the show ring. Nibs has never been out of the placings and has always been a very floaty moving pony. Again, with great comments from the judges, he also won his class. Unfortunately the unregistered class wasn’t a qualifier, but Nibbles can hold his head high with his achievements!

All-in-all, we had a fantastic day. Jaz also qualified for the championships in both her Small Hunter and Riding Horse classes. We would both like to thank FEC for presenting their shows in such a friendly manner. It’s great to take the inexperienced horses out and give them a chance to shine, and we highly recommend them to anyone wanting to have a go at showing. No matter what their level is.

It looks as if we have a bright few months ahead of us, and hopefully we will continue the season on the same note we started at, working our way up the showing ladder as planned.

The next step for us is a bigger set-up. We’re aiming for the NCPA (Northern Counties Pony Association) show, at Newark and Notts Showground. With all fingers crossed, we hope Jake will give us another great performance, and that Jasmine will continue to behave herself!

See you soon!

Kirsty and Jo Snelling.

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