We are delighted to hear from our brand ambassadors at AC Eventing. It has brought some much needed cheer in the strange period between Christmas and New Year! Now, where is that box of shortbread?… grab a cup of tea and read on with us! 🙂
Tis’ the season to be soggy
Ahh winter, the time of year equestrians are pushed to breaking point. What is worse than being
exhausted and poor like we are all year round? Exhausted, poor, cold and soggy; welcome to winter.
I like to think of myself as the bringer of good news, so for those of you who do not know yet, Friday
21 st December is the shortest day of the year, which means we are officially heading for spring again.
All we must do now is survive the next few months of dire weather, extreme mud and wild winter
horses and we will be firmly back into eventing season in 71 days’ time (yes I am counting!).
At AC Eventing we have been using our eventing “off season” to concentrate on stressage……oh
yayyyyyy (sarcasm there in my yay for anyone who didn’t pick up on that). Ally has smashed the
dressage life and qualified both Gina and Goldie for BD regionals at prelim and novice. I have been
working very hard with Lillie to improve our flat work and start doing some dressage; I’m very
pleased to announce you can hardly bloody tell!! I decided to join Lillie with BD on a ‘sod it’ moment
in the hope that we can at least scrape some petplan worthy scores if nothing else. In November we
did our first BD stressage (emphasis on the STRESS) at Arley where Lillie is stabled, and wow was it
terrible; but I can laugh about it to hold back the tears so it’s fine. Don’t forget this is where she lives
but going in the indoor, that she goes in most days of her life, was horrifically traumatic for her this
particular day. God forbid outsiders come to her home and watch her be ridden she will not stand
for it! With her head held high (as high as she could get it) she trotted up the centre line like a wild
crab staring the judge directly in the eye. I would like to say she then settled and did a nice test but
that would be a lie, but on the positive side I did not give up and I completed the test; at least I think
that’s a positive. We came dead last but even if a camel had escaped a zoo, run into the arena and
done something resembling a dressage test it would still have beaten us so I think it was probably a
fair result. The second test we did was slightly less chaotic and there were moments when Lillie
actually remembered I was riding her and listened to me briefly. We still came last but we managed
to improve on our first score by 5% and get a petplan worthy score, and a real qualifying score was
just a whisker away.
Following my spectacular dressage achievement, we went back to the drawing board and had a
lesson with Emily Watts. Emily worked her usual magic and we now had a new plan to work with.
Basically, instead of just chaos we were going to try and reach controlled chaos. Armed with my new
plan I set about plenty of practice. Jumping practice that is. Enough of stressage already. We had a
good jump at home to dust the cobwebs off after not jumping for what seems like an eternity. When
Lillie jumped that first cross-pole I remembered why I love her so dearly and our failed dressage was
now just a distant memory as she flew over all the jumps. We then went off to Somerford for a
lesson with Richard on the incredible cross-country schooling they have put in on the arenas for
winter. Loading was not rainbows and butterflies; it was rain, tears, quite a few choice words and 2
very angry females in the form of Lillie and I. Luckily we could join the next group lesson having
totally missed ours! Lillie once again redeemed herself by jumping her little socks off and as an
additional bonus we even managed to load onto the trailer to get home. In summary at this point I
am 100% certain Lillie is a strong headed mare, so we were made for each other clearly.
Fun over it was back to stressage. In-between living the dream doing all our jumping fun we had
been practicing our flatwork. We entered the unaffiliated dressage at the yard so cue the gale force
winds, rain and bitter cold, mutterings of “I should have picked an indoor sport” could be heard
round the yard while I was getting ready. The plus side to plaiting up in the freezing cold is stealing
warmth from your horse to warm your fingers up. Sailing around the warm up arena in the wind we
were holding it together and our chaos was mostly controlled. Into the indoor arena for our test and
Lillie didn’t try to stare the judge out this time, we kept camel/crab impressions to a minimum and I
didn’t want to cry during the test. In other words, I think we have made some bloody progress at last
but I’ll get back to you on that one when we go to our next dressage and the adventures of “Lillie
and the Stressage sass” continue.
In other news, I am sure you picked up on the fact that Ally stole Goldie off me to do dressage
(anyone would think she owns him or something!) but I was allowed to have him back for a lesson
with Andrew Heffernan at Somerford last weekend. He was loving life having a good jump and
getting to spend time with his girlfriend Gina. He felt on great form and flew over all the fences in his
usual sassy style reminding us that he is not just a dressage diva but these days he is an extreme
event horse braving all weather conditions. And I was reminded that I am not good at braving all
weather conditions so if anyone has some replacement toes they would like to donate mine are
officially ready to drop off after battling last weeks weather.
AC Polo has retuned as well!! We had a lesson JF Polo Academy and it was so much fun. The ponies
were true professionals and we ever played some chukkas without anyone taking a mallet to the
head. For anyone who has thought about giving it a go I would highly recommend it. We have
slightly caught the bug at AC Evening so if you see us riding round on a polo pony anytime soon you
know we have gone too far and snuck one into our barn.
Right well I think I have sufficiently caught you all up with the latest news at AC Eventing so I’m off to
locate some pigs in blankets (which is coincidentally what I intend to be Christmas Night)
I hope all my friends and family, 2 legged and 4 legged, have a fabulous Christmas and New Year and
may you remain as warm, dry and mud free as possible!!
1. Enjoying our Polo ponies
2. Lillie reminding me she is a star
3. Goldie pony doing his thing