When I wrote my last diary in July I was looking forward to an action-packed summer of hacks, competitions and general horsey fun with Storm. I wasn’t far off – it’s certainly been a very exciting summer – but there has been one big change!
I have indeed spent the summer getting up to all sorts of exciting things, but not with Storm! Having had 2 amazing years with this very cheeky and loveable pony and having learned huge amounts and got up to things I never dreamed I’d be doing, an opportunity to snap up yet another white pony came along which I just couldn’t resist. I caught the competition bug with Storm, and so when Snowy came up for sale, the chance to grab this super little show jumper was irresistible.
I admit I wasn’t convinced when Mills suggested him, but duly booked in a trial lesson to see what I thought. 45 minutes later, having ‘popped’ over a 1.05m spread (during which Snowy might as well have been knitting, making the tea and doing his tax return at the same time for all the effort it took him) I was hooked. Not known for my patience, once the decision was made I wasn’t hanging around! My phone bill from Turkey discussing contracts and prices with Mills back in the UK because waiting a week would have been impossible, is probably something not worth dwelling over…!
Now just to make things confusing (and keep with me here….) one of the first things I decided was that “Snowy”, whilst a perfectly fine name for a pony, wasn’t quite doing it for me. I therefore threw the yard into confusion by changing it to Basil. I think both the staff and I are still in the ‘try a whole series of names of my previous ponies before hitting on the right one’ space at the moment but we’re getting there!
And so what have we been up to? Not one to hang around, the final Fair Oak hunter trial of the year took place a week after buying Basil so, not having taken him cross-country before, we managed a quick training session with Mills that week and then entered the 70cm. It turned out to be, without doubt, THE best thing I have ever done. We came second (we were too fast to win which I maybe should have guessed as we overtook the girl who went before us!) and I didn’t stop buzzing (or babbling on about it) for days. We’ve also been hacking all over the Downs by ourselves, doing lots of showjump training, and also making great progress with our flat work (I think even Gemma is quite please so we must be doing OK!).
Most recently we’ve started entering our first showjump competitions. At Crofton first time out we managed a 3rd place in the 70cm and then had one fence down in the 75-80. This weekend we took a very deep breath (or at least I did) and entered our first 90cm competition (one of those things that seems like a great idea until you realise it’s happening tomorrow and what on earth were you thinking?!). I shouldn’t have worried – while I still have huge amounts to learn, this pony takes a 90cm course in his stride, and despite some fairly questionable riding on my part he flew round to finish 6th.
The evenings are now drawing in and the season of mud and dark early morning starts is upon us. But we’ll be spending the coming months knuckling down to our training and looking forward to a very exciting season next year!