Firstly, Happy New Year to everybody and I hope you all had lovely Christmases!
We sold T in November to a lovely home in Sussex. He is such a special boy and his home was a really important factor in his sale. He is going really well for them which is very pleasing and I am looking forward to seeing photos of him in due course!
Archie and Jimmy have made good progress over the last few weeks, although November and December are always the quietest months of the year they provide the time to go back to basics – getting the groundwork established and make plans for the forthcoming months, as we build up the fitness and strengthening work and get the muscle memory in place for the forthcoming season.
It is always a tricky balance between having a good solid plan in place and allowing enough flexibility for things that crop up – as we all know with horses – despite every effort to stick to the plan, there are so many variables involved that things inevitably change. With the eventing draft plan now in place for both boys, the pre season work is focused to this – it was quite a task planning this year even just for two horses; getting the relevant qualification runs in, with contingency, an A Plan and B Plan, and competing as close to our owners as possible – on opposite sides of the country! With some exciting aims on the horizon, everything steps up now for the next 10 weeks of preparation before our first runs.
We went to see Vittoria for a couple of lessons just before Christmas. Jimmy had his first session with V and Archie had his first jump since Gatcombe in September. Jimmy did some lovely gridwork – very good exercises for him and he really enjoyed himself, giving me a lovely, scopey feel. His work continues to progress really well and I am pleased with how his consistency and way of going is coming on – he is going to be really lovely. Archie and I were put through our paces and it was great to be challenged again physically! We love Vittoria’s new base near Gloucester and particularly love the full side of arena mirrors. We are doing a lot more work with mirrors now – I find that it makes a big difference and is a huge help with a horse like Archie. Although Mum videos most things for me to watch back after a session, and even with help from the ground, the mirrors allow you to make immediate adjustments, feeling and seeing the response, then building on this consistently – Archie’s work has particularly progressed in the last couple of weeks so we now build on this as we step up the technicality in his flatwork again in preparation for his tests this year.
The Frisbys came down from Devon at the end of December for the day to see Archie and watch him work – he was on very good form and it was lovely to have a wintery day at home with them. 3 year old Chloe had a walk round the school with me on Archie and thoroughly enjoyed herself – beaming from ear to ear, I think she already has her sights set on him!
I am really excited and grateful to have a new owner on board for 2016 – with the original intention of being one of our syndicate members, when our syndicate horse very frustratingly failed his vetting in December, she decided to take on part ownership of Jimmy. He is a super little horse and should have an exciting season ahead of him so we are looking forward to it!
Following a lovely Christmas at home, I am looking forward to the work that lies ahead, getting back to the gym and out competing again from next week as the countdown to the season begins.
A big thank you to Rowen Barbary for brilliant feeds that help us through our winter-feeding – it is the hardest time of the year to keep fussy eaters (like Archie!) in good shape but they consistently keep the horses looking and feeling well and at very good value.