Hi guys,I have some very exciting news to share this month, and my original plans of ‘slowing down for winter’ have well and truly gone out of the window. After the Arena UK Showing Championships in September, my partner, Mark, a secondary school music teacher, asked me whether we could now have a few weekends off seeing as the showing had drawn to a close and I was heading back to University. I did originally say yes, but I am in big trouble as things have been as hectic as ever since! The beginning of October saw me heading back to Leicester to begin my 3rd and final year as a Journalism student. I can’t quite believe how quickly it has gone, and my advice to all first years would be to make the most of their time, it is over before you know it! I am the Chairperson and Team Captain of my University’s Equestrian Team, so as soon as I arrived in Leicester I quickly unpacked (with the help of Mum!) and went off to meet with my fellow team mates to prepare for the arrival of the ‘freshers’. All of the University’s sports teams have an A and a B team and compete against other universities in their discipline, so we are currently on the hunt for some freshers to make up our A team as we lost one member due to her graduating last year. So keep an eye out with news on who makes the team next month!
Now, back to yard news; as I said, two weeks after promising Mark we “would have some us time now” quickly turned in to us driving to our nearest cross-country course to practice for a One Day Event the following weekend. As I was tacking up and panicking about where Ceaser’s bridle had got to, I heard Mark chuckling to himself. When I asked why, he said “It’s started hasn’t it? The cross-country and winter season?” I cannot believe it took him that long to realise! Do horsey people even get weekends off? I don’t know what one is. My aim for that day was to get Ceaser over the coffin without him thinking the monsters were going to jump up and eat his belly. Needless to say we managed it and I now have a pony who isn’t petrified of holes in the ground. Hurrah, it’s only taken 16 years! The following weekend saw a clinic with Pam Dunning (Lionel Dunning’s wife) at our yard, Hundleby Riding Centre, as well as the local Riding Club looking round at our yard about potentially using our facilities for their shows. Keep your fingers crossed for us! All riders loved Pam and really felt like they got something out of their time with her. Well done and thank you to everyone who attended! That night I dashed off to a friend’s Baby shower, and then Sunday had to be up at 7am to get ready for the One Day Event. I don’t know what got into Ceaser, but as soon as we arrived on Sunday he was ready to go. I had to get on him 2 hours before my Dressage time just to keep him calm. He would not stand still, his ears were pricked and apparently rearing up at the lorry and spinning around was somewhat of a game for him. Needless to say, we arrived at the Dressage collecting ring in plenty of time. Mark found it hilarious that every time I asked Ceaser to canter his head went between his legs and his back-end flew up. Men! Anyway, as soon as I trotted down the centre line I felt him relax and that lovely pony came out once more. It is really as if he knows he’s there to do his job. At home I have to really work to get things out of him, but as soon as he trots in to that ring he changes. I cannot describe it. The whole test seemed to go rather too quickly. Before I knew it I was walking out of the arena on a long rein and then trotting to the lorry to get changed for Show Jumping. Ceaser was on form that day for definite. As I turned him towards the first jump in the Show Jumping he just went. The rest was somewhat of a blur for me and we cantered over the final jump to cheers from the crowd and comments like “Wow, I think she’s really going for this 1st place”.
The cross-country went just the same, and as we flew over the coffin in a canter (something we couldn’t have done a month ago), I will admit to cheering “We went over the coffin, yay!” and then carrying on to finishing a perfect round. As I nervously awaited the scores on the scoreboard I honestly did not have a clue where we had been placed. There were some lovely ponies at the event and we had had fun. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed when I and Ceaser were awarded 1st place. A Score of 58 – equivalent to 74% in the Dressage test really had set us up for the day, and with getting 2 clears, we were well in the lead. 74% is both my and Ceaser’s highest Dressage score so far so being on Cloud 9 for the rest of the day was an understatement, and all Mark had to listen to on the way back to University was “Did you see our canter, how fast did we go round that show jumping? I can’t wait to affiliate British Dressage now in January”. I do wonder why he puts up with me sometimes. Until next time when I’ll have the exciting news of who’s made the University Team, Good luck and keep safe!
Sian and Ceaser x