Ally’s mare Arley’s Authentik (Wings) had her Chilli Morning foal; a tobiano filly with legs long enough to intimidate any supermodel! And if that wasn’t exciting enough only a week later Jamaica Z had her Bazaars Chief foal, another coloured filly and more supermodel legs; honestly, we should get a catwalk out for the pair of them. We’ve really taken matchy matchy to a whole new level with these two stunning babies.
There was a new arrival that wasn’t four-legged and significantly larger than the two supermodels. This arrival was in the form of Valarie, or Big Val as we know her. Big Val is the monster of a horse box that Ally has had built and my goodness is she a sight to behold. She has tack lockers galore, ponycam, and a living that I would quite happily move into tomorrow! Whilst Val has been being constructed we have been running around in 3.5 tonne horse boxes and trailers. Val is much much larger than a little box. Much larger. So what better way for Ally to get used to driving a huge horsebox than for us to head off to Speetley event the morning after she picked Val up?
Strategic journey planned to ensure we didn’t go over Woodhead Pass (for those who don’t know about Woodhead Pass it is NO place for a horsebox, which we confirmed after Frickley last season when I managed to navigate us that way and was quite certain Ally would never speak to me again if we survived the journey- luckily she did though). We pulled off the motorway for a quick breakfast stop and then disaster struck…….. we had broken down…….. and Ally had to call her handy other half to come and rescue us. “Is it in neutral?” Ahhhhhh. No. No it isn’t. Knocked out of drive and into neutral Big Val roared into action and we hit the road again in absolute hysterics.
Arriving at Speetley we squeezed Val though the gateway and one of the parking volunteers told us they were now parking the big lorries in a field over the road. So Ally now had to squeeze Val though another 2 gateways while we both held our breath. We were the first ones to park in the new field, so we got pick of the spaces. We picked our numbers up, still the only ones in the car park.
Golden pony was tacked up and behaving like a seasoned professional and we set off for stressage; with a firm grip of my neck strap we navigated our way passed a palomino eating banner in the gateway. We had been whipped into shape in a dressage lesson with Emily Watts earlier in the week; we are working on staying more uphill but an uphill golden pony means he can see more of the gremlins that lurk unseen to the human eye! We remained friends in the warm up and in we went to the test. There were a few gremlins lurking around the arena and just as I was about to turn up the centreline something caught Goldie’s eye and he did an expert emergency stop. Regaining composure we held it together in the test and were managing to avoid looking like Goldie was trying to hoover the floor. Apart from a badly prepared transition where we took uphill to an extreme with a beautiful impression of a giraffe stressage was completed.
Back at the lorry we were still the only ones in the field….. cross country course walked. Still the only ones in the field. So on to the fun bit where we get to have all 4 legs off the floor (on purpose). Goldie’s sass took over in the show jumping ring where he did his “IVE GOT THIS, HOLD ON TIGHT” routine and we stormed round. Approaching the last fence I had one of those- Oh S***- moments where you don’t ride the line to the fence and all of a sudden you can’t see any stride. I did my usual if all else fails gallop, and if that fails just drop the reins and hope Goldie gets all his legs out of the way. Thankfully he managed to tuck his legs in like a Golden turtle and we were clear. Goldie’s animal impressions know no bounds.
Back to the wagon for the usual outfit change and guess what?…..still no one else parked in the field with us it was like VIP parking for Big Val! All layered up (is there anything worse than putting 2 body protectors on when its hot #safetyfirst) we set off for cross country. We had our usual anything-but-elegant jump over the first warm up fence where it just takes the golden pony a moment to adjust to the change in jump style between show jumping and cross country. Speetley is a new event for me and the cross-country course was lovely, I was really excited to jump round it. I’d like to say we set off like a bullet out of the start box but it was a little more space hopper than bullet. Nevertheless the first 3 fences were behind us and we were away. We had a good look in the ditch toward the end of the course just to be sure there was no crocodiles lurking, the coast was clear and we stormed over the last few fences (2 seconds too fast again).
So in summary for the month I need to fine a formula to keep foals as foals, Big Val is a VIP at events, always take you automatic vehicle out of drive to start it.
Homework for the next month:
- Prepare for transitions better (fail to prepare, prepare to fail!)
- Try to ride actual lines to the fences in the show jumping
- MASTER THE BLOODY STOPWATCH- or move up a level so I can go faster 😉
Goldie being a superstar at a training clinic.
Jamaica and her filly
Supermodel Chilli Morning filly
Big Val in all her glory