Welcome to my blog about horsey life in the North East - the good bits, bad bits, endless coffees and plenty of mud!

Friday, 22 November 2013

Your Horse Live 2013

Cast your mind back to two weeks ago and you will remember my last post, filled with excitement as I prepared to head to Your Horse Live 2013.

Anyone who expected a prompt Monday-morning blog about said event will have grown a long grey beard and died by now.

For any survivors, still keen to hear how we got on, I apologise for my tardiness. You see, the main problem with YHL is that it makes the rest of life seem a bit shit and boring. 
Then I get too sad to write about it and avoid the prospect for, oooh, approximately two weeks.

Which brings us to now. 

Silver wristband and ticket - look how happy this makes me...

If you can't be bothered with the ins and outs, here's a short summary - 1) It was Brill 2) Book for next year if you know what's good for you 3) The End.

For those with more patience here's the long version. Driving down there is one of my favourite bits because all the fun is still to come (bit like Christmas Eve). Also, we are organised and driven by our tremendous friend Lynn, who understands how important it is to have enough cheesy puffs and mini chocolate swiss rolls to last for the whole four-hour journey. 

When we arrived at the Murder Motel there was a brief scuffle about who had to have room 13 and who would stay with who. Then we piled into one room and drank wine until midnight when exhaustion set in. I had been deemed too repulsive to share with anyone so I enjoyed a blissful night's sleep free from the nocturnal demands of Nancy puppy.

Lucinda Fredericks

On Saturday we watched the Lucinda Fredericks demo. Her famous mare, Headley Britannia, stole the show, and demonstrated her lovely nature when Lucinda's young daughter rode her for the last five minutes.

Then out came Oliver Townend and Geoff Billington. Geoff always seems to bring a beautiful bay mare when he does demos and this year he arrived with one called Scarlet. The showjumping/eventing pair have a well-oiled routine and I always like to watch them. Geoff plays the clown but he cannot hide his years of experience and the fact his balance is a million times better than he lets on. Oliver is better at talking through what he does and why he does it though. 

Geoff Billington

Then there was a dressage demo by the Eilbergs which was beautiful, but way over my head. They brought out a dapple grey and a black stallion and they were just something else in terms of beauty and paces. That said, I wouldn't want to turn them out in the morning - they looked like they'd eat grooms for breakfast.

Heather Moffett

Heather Moffett was very good too - we watched her both days. At first she banged on a bit about saddles and it seemed like it might turn into an advert but actually she didn't dwell too long and her demo riders were much more relevant for normal riders like me, who have wonky this and wonky that and aren't likely to trouble the Eilbergs when it comes to rosettes. 

Saturday night we went out for a curry at Omars and the joy of being able to talk horses none stop WHILE drinking wine, WHILE eating delicious food, was slightly overwhelming.

Very cute rescue pony in the pony village - all found prospective new homes.

On the Sunday I was perched early for Jason Webb, who's been there for three years and never disappoints. I love his horse Diesel, who comes each year and does a demo at the end of each session. I watched the afternoon demo too and there was a really interesting/tense moment where the horse he was riding through some spook-busting exercises looked like he wasn't going to cross the tarpaulin. It took quite a bit of time and a few people started to leave but Jason kept his cool and got the horse through it without losing patience. I think a good horseman can get that kind of result but it takes a great one to do it with hundreds of expectant people watching. 


Karen Smart was great. She had an OTTB mare with a beautiful trot who'd been bought at the sale a few days before. Between Karen and her balls-of-steel groom, she was going really nicely in a short space of time. While you always have to remember you're watching the professionals, there were some good exercises to take away.

Usually, I avoid all the shopping, but this year I got a lovely red jumper to wear for Christmas and one of those Mark Todd headbands to keep my bonce warm.

It was a sooper dooper weekend filled with loads of laughs. Now excuse me while I go and stick my head in the oven ;)

Happy horsing everyone x 

Friday, 8 November 2013

Your Horse Live 2013 - here we come!

In a just a teeny weeny few hours me and the horsey crew will be driving down to Your Horse Live 2013 stuffing our faces with crisps and anticipating this year's delights.


We have our wristbands (guaranteed seats in main arena) and are all over Facebook like a rash trying to pass the time till departure.

This year I'm looking forward to seeing Kelly Marks, Geoff Billington and Jason Webb. Sylvia Loch isn't going this year (boooooooo!) but we will have to try and manage as best we can.

Meanwhile, my own horses are shivering with dread in the field, waiting for me to arrive back on Monday all INSPIRED! This is never good as far as they are concerned, and they tend to become very difficult to catch all of a sudden.

"Ignore rider, look beautiful"
Usually I am so swotty I take a notebook to scribble notes in but this year I'm just going to relax a bit more and soak it all in. Things are going very well with Rodders and Cady is looking better (she types while touching wood and clutching a rabbit's foot) so I'm more content than previous years.

So pretty, so useless (KIDDING!)

A week after we get back Rodney and I are heading up to West Park to hire the school with Emma and Tia. The plan is to make full use of their scary fillers and beautiful showjumps though Rodney is slightly obese right now so we'll have to put some miles in beforehand.

Happy horsing everyone x 

Friday, 1 November 2013

Jumping and jackets

A couple of blogs back I mentioned that I don't wear a body protector but I always wear a hat. Writing about it got me thinking about it and I've since updated my hat and ordered a Racesafe body protector as a collective birthday present to my ancient old bones.

So then I decided there's no point having all the safety gear unless you up your risk slightly, so I've started doing some jumping on Rodders. Phil stuck a couple of cross poles up in the arena and then we upped the height into some straight bars.

Rodney is the right colour for autumn :)

He jumped big and clean and I very much enjoyed it, though (rider error) he stopped a couple of times near the end when he got tired. At that point we dropped the height a little, popped it once more and called it a day with a carrot, a cool off and a big pat.

After a few days of schooling and hacking I returned to jumping again and we did some smaller straight bars. Our first few times were a bit messy in terms of strides but we cleaned that up and I stopped after a couple of perfect tries, since I couldn't ask him for any more.

We're not jumping big jumps but we are having fun so I'll definitely pursue this some more as it's a good challenge and gets the adrenalin going. Other than that they are both looking well (Rodney too well ;)) and I am grateful for the ongoing good weather. 

Phil's mum bought me a lovely warm riding jacket for my birthday but I've decided it's too nice for the yard so I just look at it hanging in the wardrobe every now and again. I've got plenty of trampy old clothes to ruin first ;)

Happy horsing everyone x