Today we got to compete in the showjumping qulaifier which should have happened two weeks ago – Storm Ciara had other ideas then! As ever, I was looking forward to it and rather nervous at the same time. The early morning did not help either – I never like getting up but half past four is just too early!
It was still blowing quite strongly even today but we made it to the show safely and in plenty of time to walk the course and get ready. My horse was feeling rather bouncy and full of beans but I was hopeful that when we could keep going around the course – instead of doing single practice fences – he would settle down nicely.
That did prove to be the case and in fact we achieved a clear inside the time which I think was a first for us in competition – we are not generally very fast but have been working on it!
The second round also included the jump off phase so there were several more jumps to navigate (and remember!). I was a little worried about losing my way but managed to pilot us round without error. The horse was amazing and jumped everything I asked – we rattled the last pole but thankfully it stayed up and we were again within the time.
We were still nothing like the fastest combination but we were one of only two double clears which meant we were placed second individully. Even better, we came first as a team which means we will be going to the winter National Championships next month. I could not be more excited – and, naturally, terrified!
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Cookster has had to start wearing a rug to stop him freezing himself in the rain. Obviously, we have had rather a lot of rain over the last week so the rug is very much needed at the moment.
However, although he measures for the same rug size as Galahad, the old rug he was using had rubbed his chest a bit. Nothing too bad – his skin wasn’t raw, he just had a bit less hair than before – but he clearly needed something a bit better.
My sister therefore went shopping and decided on a much more exciting rug than Galahad has ever had.
Sadly, it didn’t stay looking like this for long – most days he is just a muddy shade of brown. Occasionally though, the rain manages to wash off some of the mud and the stags shine through once more.
Today I was meant to be show jumping with the riding club but Storm Ciara meant that it was understandably postponed and I had an unexpected day at home.
I have spent much of the day cosied up indoors – there’s nothing quite like a log fire and a book when the storm is raging. However, I did manage to venture outside for a hack.
I rode out in the morning when the weather wasn’t too bad. There was of course constant rain – at times we couldn’t even see to the other side of the valley – and it was blowing a gale but actually it was quite exhilarating.
The ponies didn’t think so. I thought they would be completely wound up but in fact they were pretty sluggish today and moped along with their heads lowered. Not that I could really blame them – I’m sure they would have much preferred to be tucked up in the stables!
I love living in the countryside. I am very lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the world and the scenery just adds to my enjoyment when we go out for a hack.
Some days though, it seems that somebody is trying to spoil that. We go out for a ride and see so much rubbish littering the lanes. These are tiny little lanes too with very little traffic – I know bigger roads are far worse.
Apart from the aesthetic and environmental implications, the rubbish is actually dangerous for us personally. We have to keep a very close eye on our field which runs along the side of the road as there is almost always some rubbish which ends up in there. If the ponies ate it there could be terrible consequences.
I just cannot understand how anyone can think it is okay to throw litter out of a car window. I used to assume that it was people used to road sweepers coming along every so often. Realistically though, these lanes are only used by locals. I don’t know if they think someone will pick up after them or if they just don’t care but it makes me sad to see so much rubbish filling up the lane. Please, always take you litter home to a bin or to be recycled!