3 Weeks and counting to….. WEG 2010 Highclere

Horse’s Flatwork: Improving | Rider’s Flatwork: Requires Attention

Time ticks on and another week passes by on the road to our seasonal debut at Highclere Horse Trials. Last week I spent mostly concentrating on flatwork, partly because the ground was hard (no cantering on grass), partly because I needed the farrier to arrive (I don’t like jumping on long feet), and partly because we needed to improve a few key dressage movements (and Vicky Spicer‘s top tips delivered via twitter spurred me on! ;-). I’m happy to report great progress in the flatwork to the point where, whilst riding, I was asked “what level does your horse competes at?” from an inquisitive Badminton winner, only to disappoint him will tales of how the horse wouldn’t be competitive at Intermediate or Advanced due to ‘wind’ issues, and wasn’t for sale anyway. A little boost for morale always helps though!

The week before Highclere will need to be spent on fixing myself, so I don’t look like a bag of half eaten carrots mounted on a stunning white charger in the dressage arena. I need every ‘good mark’ I can muster!

The farrier at work on the Great White Charger
The farrier arrived today thank goodness, and even he was shocked at how much the great white charger’s front feet had grown. The problem isn’t so much that his feet grow at an alarming rate, it’s that his front feet tend to spread outward as they grow. By week 5/6 the hoof wall is jutting over the edge of the shoe like a parapit and the clenches have all loosened up! His feet are reasonably strong and don’t tend to crack or break up, but this spreading does mean my farrier has to work hard to keep a decent angle on his feet, and I need to take a little extra care on hard ground. Hopefully a 5 week shoeing cycle will help.

Anyway, with new shoes on, everything is going to be just fine! So the next two weeks will mostly be about fitness work and a little show jumping. With little prospect of rain over the next week, any cantering will probably be restricted to the arena. However, with the hay now out of the fields, I do now have a field with a few undulations to use, so a little hill work is now possible. Plenty of trotting in order.

Hopefully I’ll remember to take my camcorder and tripod for the show jumping session, although I have the worst memory – I keep forgetting to take the horse’s passport for the vet to sign off the vaccination he’s had, and my ‘big yellow watch’ for canter work. 
Chest Cam: GoPro HD Camera

Whilst on the subject of cameras, take a look at this Rider Cam Video from Stuart Horse Trials out in the US. I’ve seen these HD cameras used in extreme sports before and I’m thinking of getting one for Highclere so I can have “Stirrup Cam”, the view from My Left Foot! What do you think?

Meanwhile the countdown to the Alltech World Equestrian Games 2010 continues, and more on that soon.

Click on ‘2010 Seasonal Debut’ (below) for other posts in this series following our progress to Highclere
Amateur event rider, aspiring photographer. Technologist by day.

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