Wow that was a real ‘Beast from the East’ wasn’t it! Put pay to lots of training and the entire first weekend of eventing. I feel so sorry for the organisers and competitors, as I know how much hard work goes into these events. Fortunately, I was one of the lucky ones, who got their first run at Oasby (1) BE.
At the end of my last blog I said the Etie had picked up an injury at the back end of last season, which spoiled my last runs. The injury was affectively the swelling of the tendon sheath, although it manifests itself in a very similar vein to a tendon injury. Cath, my vet was fabulous and advised we treat it as a tendon with box rest, ice and ten minutes of in hand walking each day. Etie was so good considering she is normally out all day and in at night and behaved while walking out. Cath scanned her a few days later after the swelling had gone down, but could not find anything which was a real positive. A couple of weeks later Ros Canter, the four star eventer that I groom for was taking several horses for their end of season checks to the vets, so I took Etie. After very thorough checks, scans and x-rays, we had the diagnosis and instructions to put Etie on six weeks rest then we would be allowed to crack on! It was so close to the end of the season that I decided to just turn her away early. All very positive, in the grand scheme of things.
This was not the end of my season though, as I had grooming duties for Ros, including the always busy time at Osberton International Horse Trials and a trip to Pau in France. This trip was fabulous, the weather was amazing, and it really did seem like a holiday. I’m sure as all grooms know it is not a holiday, it is hard work, but only having one horse to do, who is the sweetest natured little horse, the weather and lovely company is better than a rest!
Etie came back into work at the end the of November with three weeks of walking, moving on to walking and trotting up hills, with gentle progression into a bit of schooling. I live in the heart of the Lincolnshire Wolds and while most people think of the events at Lincoln and Belton as being flat, I can assure you where I live, it’s not. Which ever road I take out of my village I have to go up a fairly good incline, which makes fitness work a little easier. I use one route in particular, which is half a mile up a slope. I use this for interval training in the build to the season and then throughout the season to check Etie and I’s fitness.
Christmas came and went, but before you know it the season is only two months away. Flat work is a must and I have one of the best trainers in Ros and she has improved Eite’s way of going greatly. Being a long mare, she struggles to shorten, engage and lighten her forehand. British Eventing put on a great range of training and I been to a couple of lessons with Sam York at Arena UK. We had a couple of cross country training sessions with Ros on her all weather arena, Where we practiced waters, ditches and drops as well as our lines, skinnies and combinations, before Oasby (1) BE.
I am very conscious that my own fitness is important, as is my mental preparation. If you are BE members you may have read the article in the BE Life magazine last month about using Sports Psychology to gain an edge. I am not shy to say that as you get older you over think things, leading to a lack of confidence as you think of ‘what if’! I took the bull by the horns and tried to work on my mental preparation. The aim; to gain confidence and get rid of my fear of the show jumping warm up. Has it worked? Well, I think it has – yes. I feel more confident jumping bigger fences, riding in a more positive way and not allowing things I cannot control to affect me.
This proved to work at Oasby where we performed a reasonable test. We scored 30.5, I was thrilled with both of us in the show jumping, as we jumped a lovely clear round and the cross country was a flowing course and a lovely first run. We picked up a few time penalties, but we achieve fifth place, so I was very happy.
Right now, typing this I am getting really excited. Fingers crossed for some better weather and may the training continue!