Its been a funny old month for Team Parker with some lovely moments and some moments of failure!
So Diana and I decided to take Parker to Grange De Lings to have a morning of Cross Country training. We planned to meet there so I had to load Parker and drive him by myself. At some point whilst driving along in the awesome sunshine, aviators on, singing along to the radio I realised this was what I had been missing, freedom to just take myself and Parker off whenever we wanted! So eventually I pulled up to Grange De Lings (there were a lot of hills, sorry to everyone stuck behind me!) The Cross Country course was phenomenal. There are different fields with different height jumps so you can work through one field before moving on. Diana (who hates jumping) decided we might come back to the novice jumps at the end and give them a go … We had a wonderful couple of hours focusing on jumps that had steps up and down, coffins and water jumps as these are things we can’t practise at home and as a combination we haven’t had a lot of experience with. Parker had a whale of a time and jumped everything with gusto and after almost 2 hours still didn’t seem tired! By this stage I was so amped up I would have attempted the novice jumps but reminded myself Norton Disney was next week!
After Galloping around and splashing around in the water we took advantage of the wash-room facilities, or at least tried to, Parker who had just lept over some scary looking jumps was terrified of the overhead hose!
With a great day XC under our belts and a reasonable score of 66.67% on our E-Dressage Prelim Dressage test, Parker saw Sarah his physio two days before Norton Disney just to loosen him up.
So it was time for Norton Disney. Once again it had been raining quite badly so we knew the ground would be soft. I don’t think I realised quite how soft though as we watched lorry after lorry have to be pulled in and out of the car park (Luckily our little Amy lorry didn’t have any problems!) Parker arrived well travelled and happily stood on the lorry as I went to walk courses etc. I was so amazed with how calm he was compared to the dressage warm up at Oasby. He listened to me and focused on everything. The arenas were quite muddy and the corners a bit slippery so I made the decision to stay out of the corners more than I would normally have done and I felt we rode a nice test and although we got 7.5 for our free walk we only got a mid table test. You can view the test here. The test was a new one for this year and has an awkward free walk along the long side and across the short diagonal and then straight into trot. Its an interesting test and I enjoyed riding it more than when I first saw it written down!!
During the show-jumping course walk I noticed how cut up the ground was before and after each jump which worried me as Parker has only jumped on nice even surfaces so I knew he would find take off quite hard. I was right about the ground and we had a disaster on the last double. Parker didn’t get a great push off on the first jump and landed awkwardly and me being me relaxed too much at seeing the last jump took my leg off. Parker realising he couldn’t sort himself out ran out. I had a daft moment and whipped him straight round and over the jump forgetting that it was part of a double and should have jumped both jumps again so had a technical elimination….
Happily though I was allowed to carry on to the XC phase as a HC. We had a lovely round as there was no competition pressure. The only jump we had any issue with was the steps as we had practised steps with a stride but these were a bounce which we haven’t worked on. But he tried his heart out and on getting to the top of the steps I heard a little cheer from some bystanders (always a great motivator thank you!!) The rest of the course went smoothly but unfortunately I don’t know what our time was due to being HC.
I had luckily pre-organised a show-jumping lesson with JJ Equestrian Services at Willow Banks. After Norton Disney we worked on good turns to a jump, a forward going canter and me not hanging onto his reins! We used lots of canter poles to create a rhythmical canter to stop Parker rushing to a fence. I had to be reminded (more than once) that I have to allow more with my hands and not lock my elbows and to use my legs more before taking a half halt. Think Joanne felt sorry for Parker having such an inept jockey! I was really happy with the way he went particularly as the surface was sand which initially Parker found hard going.We (I) have a lot to work on at home.
My little failure has made me quite philosophical, I have got quite far with Parker with very little extra training and it was going to happen at some time. We picked ourselves up quickly had a lovely rest of the day and I went home with more determination to succeed. One the plus side I’ll never do that again!!!!
- Parkers little brother Roo was sold and has gone to his new home so Tamara our 11.2 Sec A has moved in with Parker to keep him company. They look so cute together little and large!
- You can find us on Instagram as the_next_mane_event
- I finally committed to a new pair of boots and bought myself a pair of Ariats. I’m totally in love and cant stop looking at them but will be eating beans for months!