Owned by: Toby Pickthall
17yr ISH Bay Mare
66 BE Points Intermediate /2*
This time taking both the B team boys on the same day , Fluffy in the BE90 was first up for dressage and Tiny in the Novice was first up jumping.
Fluffy was performing a fabulous warm up feeling very soft and relaxed but then got a bit excited in the arena which was right next to the XC course ! We had a few green errors so I decided to correct them resulting in a few error of course marks but leaving him with the right idea to make sure he did things obediently and correctly.
This is a good lesson to learn, if something has gone completely wrong , best to just gather him together and start that movement again which then allows for the remainder of the test to get better marks….. After all this is a BE90 not a 1* test and at this stage I just want him to be obedient not Valegro !!
However Fluffle wuffles completely redeemed himself by having just 4 fts in the SJ and a superb clear XC with 3 time faults for going too fast !!!
Tiny was a good chap in the dressage but being a little bit tense with the excitement and the rugby pitch lines confusing me for the 3/4 line we lost a few marks for the leg yield as I didn’t show enough and had a few bouncy breaks into canter.. other than that he put in a solid test with lots more marks to be gained next time ! He then popped round the SJ with just 1 down which was pretty good looking at the store board ! But then did a fantastic round, round the XC ,just a minor approach error at the corner where I turned a bit early in my excitement after clearing the skinniest triple brush I’ve seen at novice with such ease ! He then completed the rest of the course with ease and made it feel tiny… Disappointing not to get a clear but he back to where he was 2 years ago if not further on as regards to his ability… Onwards and upwards and a very good sun shiny day was had by all 🙂
This was by far the best run vent I have ever had the pleasure of attending !!
On the Friday an extra day was added meaning that there were less than normal amounts of entries.. So the genious that is Tissie Reason managed to add on ‘Clea Round’ HC SJ, SJ and XC or just XC. So after a less than successful XC with Fluffy getting eliminated at the step at fence 6, we were allowed to go and get a new number pay to go XC and give it another shot at getting the horse around the course, literally 10 mins after having had to walk back.
Fantasticly Fluffy got his act together and whistled round the course clear, really enjoying himself and would have been band on optimum time. So in our eyes he gave me a super DOuble clear and we hoped that in his eyes is probably easier just to do everything first time rather than have to do it again !!!
Tiny was on the following day, the dressage was a little bit exciting being the first time out in 2 years to an event, however he pu his excitement to excellent use but performing a super double clear in the BE100 for his first run of the year and finished with just 3 time faults.
This winter had been very busy with lots of SJ and Arena eventing with the JAS competition including coming 7th in the JAS Open in Solihull and qualifying for the finals at Hartpury.
So we were all set for an early start to the season:
First off was the aim to get Jerry qualified for Houghton Hall CCI 1* for which he needed either 1 more Novice Qualifying round or a 1* qualification. We also had in the back of our minds that both would be nice as he would then be qualified for Barbury 2*, which we would aim to do 1 Intermediate before as well.
Moreton was in the first week of March and despite being fairly dry still was a little stock, but with the SJ on a surface made for an excellent day, we had just 1 fence down SJ and a lovely clear XC with 17 time faults which was very sensible considering the going being so deep. We were also joined by our new sponsors Grapefruit Graphics who were also able to apply the final new graphics to the lorry whilst I did my show jumping !!! So Achieved – Qualification for Houghton Hall, this being our 6th qualifying round at Novice Level.
Aldon CIC 1* was amazingly good going… possibly a little too good in the SJ , Jerry the dude popped round with glee at being out at grass and silly rider getting over excited error meant we just had the last fence.. ohh would have been so nice to get my first double clear at an International !! Anyhow I forgave myself fairly quickly once we stormed up that final hill XC to finish the XC clear with 14 time faults so we were all very happy to achieved all the qualifying rounds that were required before the end of March !! Yay !!
We had then entered for Gatcombe Intermediate the following week but unfortunately it was abandoned due to suddenly very soggy ground…. So we were very very lucky to have been able to get those 2 good runs in before the rain came.. SO there followed a spate of soggy cancelled events… time to concentrate on getting Fluffy and Tiny out eventing and lots of SJ o a nice Arena Surface !!
In 2014 we had a few rather frightening incidents with Jerry, he started suddenly rushing off when i got on,occasionally bolting, this started after going to Pontispool Horse Trials and jumping off once back at the lorry, so full of adrenaline after a fab xc round i jumped off and forgot to unplug my air jacket !! BANG !! and i think escalated more by the fact we were stood next to the lorry, someone next door ran around to see if we were ok as she said sounded like a gun going off… Jerry didn’t appear to be too panicked then but as we have since realised he is a very clever cookie and can differentiate between me wearing my navy SJ jacket and my navy Air Jacket ….
THE PROBLEM: (Bolting whilst mounting)
After a successful Pontispool Novice coming 9th we entered the Intermediate at Salperton, however about a week before the event I was hacking Jerry up the drive (June ) and had to get off to tuck something in, i tried to remount from the floor and he spun around , spooking at a sheep jumping out) and went to bolt, flipping me over the back of the saddle and straight over on the floor and as he went he kindly trampled both of my legs and blonked me straight in the brambles!!! I was convinced my leg was broken somehow managed to calmly get my phone out and call mum and just said ‘Go and catch Jerry ive fallen off please don’t let him fall over on the drive..’ Luckily Jerry was caught without drama and mum came racing up to rescue me !!!
For those who know me i had only just recovered from a non-horse-related dislocated ankle in January so i was gutted…..However amazingly it appeared to be superficial and bruising nothing broken but agony non the less !!
So at Salperton i was more concerned about everyone holding onto him to realise any major problem and i had a client Jackie with us and Charlie the Groom plus mum and apart from getting excited when i got on for xc i didnt notice anything major different… but then i also had them all there when i went to get off once i was back at the lorry.
So when at Purston Manor he shot off accross the lorry park when i got on to sj i was a bit shocked… he did a fab clear and we went straight xc i got off to change his boots and put my gear on and he did the same thing again when i got on for xc shot straight off, so i thought it must have been mum holding the reins too tight on his curb or something
However when we finished a fab xc round i went to jump off half way home and as soon as i leant forward he shot forward so i waited til i could face him at the lorry and got off, obviously making sure the cord of the air jacket was unplugged !! But once i was off he pulled back, i got hold of him and then very uncharacteristically he ran off before i could get his headcollar on.. disappearing off prancing around the lorry park !! Nice to see he had plenty of energy after a fast double clear !! Grrr much to my disgust he just continued to trot around in extended trot with everyone stood admiring him, finally caught by someone with a bucket !!!
So the next and FINAL drama was after a very nasty 5 hr drive in boiling heat to Brightling 1* International after which we had about 10 mins to get ready, there was I trying to peel on my breeches as my legs were so hot n sweaty from wearing jeans for the drive in such heat.. then i wasn’t sure which hat to wear.. deciding on the top hat and then jerry freaking once again when i got on despite me tucking the tails of the dressage coat into my breeches ( a good look!!).. He was just really on edge and didnt do a good test at all with no time to warm up properly…
We stayed over night so i thought he may have chilled a bit by the following lunchtime when our sj was…. however he was 10 times worse the next day and i had to have 3 people to hold him for me to get on for the SJ he was now being held in a head collar with the curb undone as we thought that was the problem.. I even had to borrow Lucinda Fredericks Groom who was parked opposite us to help hold him… i show jumped, he was very on edge even after a good warm up hack about and jump, we think he must have sprung a shoe in the sj as he jumped the last 2 fences very badly unlike him and had 3 down.. Didnt appear to have lost a shoe… Got back to the lorry and did a very quick change as we had 10 mins until xc time !! This is when disaster stuck for the last time… despite 3 people holding him and facing the lorry so he couldnt shoot off he then figured out to run backwards, with mum holding the lunge line, headcollar on and shot off around the lorry park with me vaguely on with one foot in the stirrups… He had not got his curb chain done up so i had absolutely no brakes and was making a bee line for the giant 5ft wall to the road luckily he realised that was a silly idea and turned back to the lorry at the last minute depositing me in the thorny bush and against the wall !!!
So on inspection and catching beside the lorry he had A: Lost a shoe and B: i had thorns in my bum along with being bashed up and hitting my head on the wall !!! so Decided that perhaps this was a sign today was not our day… So thank you to who ever the groom was of Lucinda’s for your help unfortunately he just was not a happy bunny….. I did however take my air jacket off and he let me cuddle him… then i held the air jacket up to him and he moved away sharply…. !!
SOLUTION: (POLO’s )
We got home and basically re- backed him with a body protector under a red jacket and a large bucked of food !! Then someone passed up the air jacket and we walked up the drive, i hopped off and showed him it was ok as i was wearing it and had not gone BANG!!!
Next stop was to get on and off with my navy sj jacket… this time we swapped Bucket of Food for the simple POLO !!! Jerry literally ran after mum to the mounting block and stood totally ignorant of what i was wearing with his mind set on one thing !! Polos
For the next few events i stayed on board after the sj and mum passed the body protector and air jacket up to me, by the end of the season i was getting on fine as long as someone was there with polos and even with the airjacket 🙂
At home: i have a pocket of polos or nuts and get him to stand at the mounting block with a few nibbles then i get on and fix my girth etc and then give him a few more nuts for standing so well and then wait a second and he now doesnt move away until i give him a bit of leg …
Training to the portable mounting block: I like to train my horses to stand next to our mounting block we have a blue block at home and events and an old concrete on at home.
1. Make sure you make them learn to stand when told to ‘stand’
2. Maintain a contact with the offside rein so quarters don’t turn away, too much inside rein will pull the horses head towards you thus horses quarters away.
3. Use a ‘click’ to get horse to stand
So if your having a major problem mounting or remounting:
1. Check Saddle and Horses Back
2. Go back to basics and re-back the horse , get someone to hold, lie on the back and move slowly into position in the saddle
3. Use POLO’s !!! and take your time …
Zeitgeist “Jerry” and I completed our first 1* together which although not with a qualifying round was a very positive start to FEI competition, especially as this time last year we were doing BE100 plus.
FRIDAY: Jerry did a very respectable dressage test , which had a few errors on my part (like not half halting before the canter transition at A and ending up with the transition in the corner!) and a new naughties on his part (like jogging once in each walk element and not really feeling the rein back..) However despite the 4/5 mistakes we still achieved a reasonable score of 65 so this was very positive for the future as without the mistakes we would have been well into the mid to early 50’s.
DRESSAGE SCORE INFO :For those of you unfamiliar, in national competition 50% equates to a mark of 50 penalties and then runs in reverse penalties, so a 35 penalty score is then 65% which was our last event score at Intermediate test level. In FEI or International competition scores of 50% equate to a penalty score of 75. So our score of 65 was well inside the qualifying mark ( 75 which is 50%) . So based on our national marks we should be able to achieve a score of about 53-58 without errors which actually most likely would have been achieved without our mistakes. So we have all to ride for next time.
SUNDAY AM: At 9.30am Jerry jumped a mega tidy SJ round which very very unfotunately left us with 4 penalties to ad, he tapped the 9th fence which was on a tight distance to fence 10 so i probably should have made sure we cleared fence 9 first before worrying about setting up for fence 10, Jerry is very adjustable between the fences now so i could have made up the difference easily however we learn from our mistakes, it was just a big wide square fence and easy to just tap the hind rail on landing if not moving forward enough, however we did clear the last so went into XC on a score of 69 which was certainly a personal best for me as Rags did tend to be on the 70’s scale for dressage and usually had a few rails in the SJ with his eager excitement to get XC ! (Rags final event in 2012 was the CIC1* at Gatcombe where he got a 75.6 dressage !!! But made up for it with just 1 pole down sj and a superb xc clear with just 4 time faults…Sadly that was to be his final event but at age 19 he really did prove his weight in gold)…
Unfortunately although he was superb for the first and very complicated bit XC it was not to be a Qualifying round , we had to wait until the mid afternoon for the XC and for some reason Jerry was running out of fuel coming into the water fence and made heavy work of the first element so i had to pull him out to the side as we were not going to make the distance into the log drop into water, i don’t think either of us fancied a swim in front of the crowds on the mound. Very unlike Jerry for me to have to kick him so walked him around for a few secs whilst the put the flag on the skinny which we had knocked off whilst jumping it. It was a very tricky water fence to represent at with no alternative so we had to come in at a very tight angle , wiggling round the back of the skinny, jerry was super and just popped into the water and more excitingly went straight up into canter through the water and flew the fence coming out (which is where we have had a few problems this year moving up to intermediate). He went on an finished nicely so just a very annoying 20 penalties with a clear jumping round as far as he was concerned !! But hey not bad for a first attempt 🙂 Such a dude
XC Training NOTE: Jerry had been liking to drop into water and then trot through which had meant he became very unbalanced and couldn’t get enough impulsion to move forward over skinnies out of the water so we have really worked on his cantering through water, at first he was really freaked out with the splashes but with the help of the super water complex at Boomerang we have been able to really get him confidence galloping through water and carrying on after a fence in and out in canter.. So now we land and i really ride him forward which means he will usually reach the skinny coming out on the correct stride.
Coaching, Individuals and Groups. Pony Club Coaching, Rallys and Camps, D/D+ Test Assessor
Competing Horses from British Novice up to 1.30m level and above
Enjoy a day out at an International one day or 3 day event at home or abroad
Come and enjoy the journey whilst optimising your companies advertising and marketing