Graduated and Raring to Go: Little victories

In the past few weeks, Heather's had to learn how to share and tells us all about a very exciting plan for Socks' riding career. 

I had a great second half of June! I saw my favourite band in London, went to North Wales with the Boyfriend and accidentally ended up scaling a cliff-face, (possibly a slight exaggeration) and topped it all off with a bit of show jumping.

I know it looks like I’m relaxing, but really I was wishing I could go for a gallop along the beach!

I know it looks like I’m relaxing, but really I was wishing I could go for a gallop along the beach!

She’s Mum’s horse now…

So, while I was away, Socks became Mum’s horse again, which I think Mum was quite pleased about.

She’s always complaining that she barely has a horse since I got back from university – that is, of course, unless she’s busy, and needs me to do Socks anyway.

Last month, I signed Mum up to do polework with Fran at a Riding Club session at the beginning of June.

I think she was a bit unsure at first – which is silly, because she’s a better rider than I am, hands down. She just lacks a bit of confidence with Socks.

As the lesson got closer, Mum got more excited. It was very odd to be the driver and groom and not riding myself, but I suppose I have to learn how to share. Humph.

The lesson went well, and I could see Mum growing more and more confident. Result!

Mum before polework

Mum before polework

So, back to my being away. There was a dressage competition at our yard and Mum was determined to do it.

Turns out it was a day of little victories! Picture me, in a sleepy seaside town in Anglesey, clutching my phone and waiting for updates.

I’d sent the pep talk, and now all I could do was wait. The first text I got was Mum celebrating that she’d managed to plait Socks’ forelock.

You may have noticed that we ride Socks with ear coverings on. She does struggle with flies around her ears because she is very headshy, so that’s the official reason.

But really, because she’s headshy, when we go to plait her forelock she assumes we’re going to chop her ears off or something. It’s very stressful.

So the ear coverings serve a double purpose, and you can imagine why this was such exciting news.

The next update was from my Dad. What? Dad? Dressage? Even I understand that dressage to a non-horsey person is mind-numbingly boring. So, getting Dad to watch a dressage test was victory number two.

The next victory was exactly that – Mum won! 66% - I couldn’t have been more pleased for her, so I had a Pimm’s to celebrate. Well, I was on holiday.

The final victory was all mine. In my previous blog, you may remember slight disagreements between my mother and I regarding the location of the centre line. I present here, for your consideration, the comment Mum got for her first centre line:

“Slightly right of centre line.”

HA. I REST MY CASE.

Back in the saddle and raring to go… in a slightly new direction

Since I’d made a pact with myself to get jumping again and have fun with it, Rachel and I organised a show jumping lesson at hers with Fran Berry just after I got back from Wales. The only problem was, it was raining. And it had done all day.

Fran said: “Now, these two are both eventers, so the puddles shouldn’t bother them,” just as Socks noticed a puddle, obviously found it far too exciting, and tried to jump over it, splashing us both with muddy puddle water. I suppose there could have been worse reactions!

But despite the deep going, it was the best I’d felt jumping in a long time. I can’t believe how just making small changes to my position over a jump made such a big difference to mine and Socks’ confidence. She jumped beautifully!

Socks looks as happy as she felt! 

Socks looks as happy as she felt! 

What was most exciting for me was that the “E” word was brought up. Fran had some really lovely things to say about us and eventing is actually starting to feel like a plausible prospect.

I’ve been thinking for the past couple of months about what I really want to achieve with Socks.

At New Year, I set myself a slightly vague goal so it wouldn’t seem like I was putting too much pressure on myself, which is all well and good, but after I achieved riding my first Elementary test, I’ve felt like I’ve been raring to go in all directions at once.

Because we’re here to have fun!

Because we’re here to have fun!

As my yard owner (and Socks’ no. 1 fan) Debbie said, it seems that as soon as I said I wasn’t going to jump any more, it’s been going really well. So, I’m picking a new goal and I’m sticking to it.

I bought Socks to event. And although we’ve had our setbacks, I still want to achieve at least one one-day event.

My plan is to take it slowly and play it by ear, but stick to showjumping this year, with some fun trips cross country with Rachel (and Georgie, once she’s back on board again!) and build it up from there. My goal is to compete at the BRC Horse Trials area competition next year at 80cm!

So there we are, raring to go – eventing! Wish us luck!