Team player

Today saw our return to Carleton Riding Club team competitions. This time Combined Challenge (a few SJ, followed by a few XC jumps) at Horseheath.

It was also our first jumping competition of 2023. I’d love to say that my contribution to the team was vast. Sadly it wasn’t our day. I know why, so that a good thing. Once again, my team mates were awesome. So we’ve qualified for another championships by just turning up.

I got today a bit wrong. I got my timings wrong so missed the course walk. Learnt the course by eye. But that meant I wasn’t clear on the lines or how the course actually rode.

Watched too many go meaning my warm up was shorter than I’d usually do. Still Buddy gave me a great feeling over the practise jumps. It’s the first time we’ve jumped SJ on grass for a long time. The footing was a tad slippery after all the rain we’ve had.

We entered the start box and headed off toeards the first jump. Buddy flew it. So I was thinking it could be a good day. Then he slipped round the corner to number 2 and I got my line totally wrong to number 3. Still he cleared both. But by the time we got to number 4, the combination of my very dodgy line and an evil filler were too much for Buddy. First stop. Kicking myself more than him, we got over it at the second attempt.

Regrouped over number 5. Then another evil filler at number 6, two stops there and it was all over for us. Gutted, I patted Buddy and walked out of the arena.

There were lots of positives though. I didn’t get lost finding the venue. My new sticky competition riding tights were super comfy and did the trick. Buddy dealt with a very slippery and busy warm up. I knew the course. And the jumps we did do felt good.

It’s another new venue for us. And another new format. I now have two months to get the practise before the Champs. I’ve booked onto a XC clinic next Sunday and am forming a plan of how to find as many evil fillers as possible to jump.

So in May, it’ll be back to Aston Le Walls we go! At least I’ve been there before.


Road test

Well I said I wanted to road test my new body protector today. But I didn’t mean actually road test it! Seems Buddy took me literally when we went XC schooling today.

He also took the Tiger Trap literally too. He’s jumped it so many times in the past. But today it was terrifying. We parted company. Twice. Second time after jumping the bigger fence in an attempt to evade the fence I was asking him to jump. Horse logic huh?!

It’s been a while since we went XC schooling so I kinda get why he was a little unsure again.

It’s so frustrating. There are times when I feel like we’re going backwards. But we worked through it. And finished together smiling.

At least my new body protector is very comfortable. It definitely did a good job today. Oh and I am all good. Few more bruises to add to the collection.

I know I’ve been working really hard on our flat work and jumping. So guess I need to work on the XC a bit more before we tackle our first ODE. The road with horses is rarely linear.

I see ewe

Another first for us today as we took a trip over to Ickworth Park for a XC lesson. My sat nav decided to take us on the most convoluted route possible and right through the middle of Bury Sy Edmunds. That got a few looks from passers-by I can tell you.

Arrived later than planned so had to do a speedy tack up and get on. Good job I can tack up fast!

Once onboard, we headed out to our lesson. Buddy was a bit eyes on stalks to start off with. But soon got into the swing of things. Thankfully he doesn’t have an issue with sheep. Cause they were everywhere!!

After a steady warm up, and a stirrup length adjustment, we headed out onto the course proper. Something clicked! And I don’t mean my back. The new strirrup length meant I could get my leg on and control the canter so much better.

There was lots to look at. And the sheep were another obstacle at times. But I really felt like we got our XC mojo back!

Came back with the biggest smile on my face!

Camp fun

I’m home after the second day of camp. And what a fun day it’s been. Woke up to thick fog. A total whiteout. So wasn’t sure how our XC lesson would go. I needn’t have worried as the sun burnt through and I was soon wishing for the cool.

I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive about taking Buddy out on the course. It’s been a few months since we had a run. And the last ODE we did there, we had to withdraw. But I needn’t have worried. We were storming round the fences before I knew it.

There were lots of positives to take. Just one blip where Buddy obviously thought there were lions behind the fence as he really wasn’t happy. One thing I know about my boy is that he doesn’t over-react without good reason. Got him settled eventually. And we carried on.

Came back with a huge smile on my face! When I got back I heard that there had reports of a puma sighting nearby, so who knows?!

After lunch, we did a grids lesson. We were both tired, but still got a lot from it. It was a very different grid – working on straightness and adaptability. I’ll be setting that up at home.

We’ll both sleep well tonight, that’s for sure. I do love going to training camps. I’ve met so many fab people that way. We have such a laugh too. Here’s to more next year!

Stay in control

This was my office today. Back home after a flipping marvellous day. I was commentating the XC for the Area 14 & 8 Riding Club ODE at Poplar Park.

The XC Control dream team was in full force. Not a clue how many combinations there were, but the first horse went off at 10:20am and the last one came back at 5:40pm.

We had to deal with pretty much everything you could deal with on a XC course. Falls, eliminations, loose horses, the removal of a fence mid-class, missed fences, jumping the wrong course to name a few. But we had it covered from start to finish.

We’ve been asked back next year. And I managed to pronounce almost all of the horses names! Bonus!!

Deer deer

Another couple of firsts for Buddy today. Our first outing to Gunton Hall and his first experience of BIG deer!! And lots of them. There were several herd of Red and Fallow deer. The stags had huge antlers too. They really are magnificent creatures.

I have to admit, Buddy was amazing! He was a bit weirded out at times, but he soon settled. Very proud of him today. Even though there was lots for him to look at, he jumped lots of the bigger jumps there.


Tonight I got to be interviewed by Lucinda Green on my experiences being part of her XC Academy.

I joined in February and I’ve learnt so much from it. We get such insight, knowledge and access to some incredible people. And Lucinda is amazing.

The thing it doesn’t cover is the amount of washing, tidying and cleaning needed when you get back from camp! I’ve spent most of the day cleaning the lorry, my tack, my boots…. And 6 loads of washing!!

Is this what it’s like to go away with children?! 🤪


Day 2 of camp and another brilliant day. In fact the whole camp was bloody brilliant! Yes, I’m a little overtired and emotional. Let’s just say we will both sleep well tonight.

Two brilliant lessons today. Out on the XC course this morning. Buddy was flying! He’s definitely got the hang of running and jumping. 👏🏻

We jumped 80s and 90s today. And a few we hadn’t jumped before. Got ‘save of the day’ too. I was not coming off. Especially in the water!!

This afternoon we finished with grids. I bloody love grids! So does Buddy it seems.

I’m over the moon with the progress we’ve made in the past few years. We’ve come a long way since our first camp.

It was also brilliant catching up with everyone. And meeting new people. Till the next time…

Cross country

Watched the cross country from Tokyo this morning. I was dog sitting so the perfect way to start the day – coffee, cuddles and cross country.

There were lots of ooohing, ahhhhing, cheering and gasping. And that was just me. 🤪

Team GB were incredible!