I can’t believe that when I last wrote, Jimmy had just done his first pre-novice (BE100) and here we are at the end of the season, 10 weeks down the line, having now done 5 pre-novices very positively and consistently, improving every time. Jimmy has now gone on his very well deserved winter holiday to chill and grow, but I can’t wait to get going again!
After a less than perfect dressage test at Calmsden and more help from Pammy, we developed our strategies and warm up process which was first put into practice at Aston-le-Walls where the dressage began to improve. His showjumping stepped up a huge amount and he did a lovely round, a dodgy half stride cost us a pole but his way of going was so much better, I couldn’t be disappointed. A lovely clear XC round, taken steadily with a run at Bicton in the pipeline the following weekend.
We continued to build on the consistency and the dressage really began to come at Bicton to score a much improved 32. He showjumped nicely but I felt that I slightly overrode him. The XC course was the trickiest he had seen so I was really pleased with him doing a lovely clear.
After continued focussed training, his next run was at Goring Heath. His dressage was improved again and I was over the moon that he scored 26.5, let alone to lead the dressage!! How exciting! He then did his best round of showjumping so far – really jumping nicely so I was mortified to be responsible for us having the final fence down – AHHHH! However, this only dropped us to 2nd by 0.2 so still very very pleasing. He then jumped a cracking XC round which we were announced to have completed inside the time to maintain our 2nd position, however, on getting to the scoreboards, unfortunately found that we had 5 time faults dropping us to 10th. But, his performance was brilliant and at this stage, the placing is a nice bonus but the least important element on the whole.
The following weekend we headed up to Norfolk for a run at Burnham Market. We stabled for two nights as we were staying with friends for the weekend, so it was Jimmy’s first stay away which he handled beautifully. We were lucky to have an arena with mirrors at the yard so it was nice to warm up the day before (albeit in horrible rain) with that added bonus! Thankfully we were lucky with the weather at Burnham Market on the Sunday with gorgeous sun. Jimmy felt the best he has in every phase, doing a very nice test to score 32, which put him in a good position in the section, he was so happy and bouncy in the showjumping, popping round really nicely but a lack of straightness on two occasions led to poles, however, in identifying the weaknesses we know where we need to focus, so with that in hand – onwards and upwards from here. He finished the day cruising round the XC for another lovely clear. Happy days!
His last run of the season was supposed to be at Dauntsey a few weeks later, with the work all moving in the right direction, he was feeling really excellent – however, a couple of days prior, he knocked himself in the field overnight and wasn’t quite right. I would never run a horse that wasn’t 100% particularly with a promising future ahead of him, so while I was of course disappointed to miss the run, as I felt that he could put in a highly competitive performance, we have to think of the long term. He was already well deserving of his holiday, it just happened to start a week earlier than I had planned it!
I have been through all the footage from the last year and put together a video which shows Jimmy’s development from November 2015, just after we bought him, until end of September 2016 when he finished for his winter holiday. 11 months of work condensed into 8 minutes of footage – it is very easy to forget how much they develop but great to be able to look back at this and see the contrast and development in quick succession.
For those interested, you can see it here:
I feel very lucky to have a lovely, smart little horse in the making.
As ever, a huge thanks to Rowen Barbary for their continued support. It makes such a massive difference to have peace of mind in feeding. You can’t ask for more than to be putting quality in and seeing the results in condition and performance, so THANK YOU!
So for now, it is our quietest time of the year in terms of training and competing which means that I can allocate more time to working towards my finals – many many hours of intense dissertation writing is the order of the day for the next few weeks, and the plan is to finish it by the time Jimmy finishes his holiday (copious quantities of reading, research and 13,000 words) – but I like a challenge and 3,000 words done so far – so let’s see!
Looking forward to some exciting developments which are on the horizon over the coming months….watch this space!