The Road To WEG2010…er, sorry, Highclere! – 2 Weeks To Go

Rain Allows Cantering To Resume & Showjumping For Ducks

Sorry, feel free to stop reading this post as soon as it gets dull and skip to the next one….I’m note taking. I started this series of posts, so I may as well finish it.

A Little Canter Work

It’s now just two weeks to Highclere, and we finally had a good dump of rain this week, which meant I could finally start some more serious canter work, and I have to say I’m very pleased with how that has gone.

Whenever I watch any video of the us cantering or galloping , it always looks so much slower than it feels, and it probably is. Anyway, our xc schooling field has a 1.3km circumference so I can easily measure out a mile, and with a very slight slope it’s perfect for canter work, ground permitting. So armed with my ‘big yellow’ watch we trotted off.

It’s now just under 3 months since I brought the horse back into work, and this is the first real opportunity we’ve had to do a bit of fast work. He absolutely loves the wide open spaces and as we trot round the field to warm up I can feel him grow in stature, take up a good contact, and start to drift sideways towards the cross country fences closest to the edge of the canter track. He’s keen!

2.6km of trot takes just 9 mins (that’s 288mpm), we walk and his breathing is normal. He always pants a bit, but I couldn’t bring myself to put him through a further wind operation as the last one took 5 years to really work.

We pick up canter and I aim for just over half racing pace with a 300m sprint towards the end of a one mile (1.6km) canter. No problems, good regular rhythm, regular breathing and and completed in 3m 15s.  That’s 492mpm – just what I was looking for. We walk off and after 3 minutes his breathing is back to normal, continue to cool off for a further 6 mins and get ready to go again.

This time in the other direction I repeat the process, and apart from an unexpected flying change all good. this time completed in 3m 05s. That’s 520mpm. Again walk off and by 3.5mins he’s breathing regularly, and still has some energy. We spend the next 10-12 minutes just walking and trotting through the water complex and over a few ditches, just idly. Time for one last canter, only this time, just a nice steady canter for a third of a mile, to make sure his muscles aren’t locking up. Perfect, and he’s barely broken a sweat. A  few days of this over the next 2 weeks and I think he’ll be fighting fit.

We’re Not Showjumping Fans

Have I mentioned before that I don’t like showjumping. It isn’t that we’re crap at it, we’ve won 1.3m classes before, it’s just the lower the fence the lazier we both become, and a move up the eventing levels would just rule us out of a placing as the horse would never make the xc time.

Anyway, yesterday we jumped our first ‘course’ of show jumps for 12 months! With a little help from my trusty Sergeant Major (I always find it handy to have someone shouting at me from the ground), we braved the weather and jumped in the outdoor school. So as a focussing exercise we ran through a few uprights and doubles, before working on trickier lines and related distances. I try not to show jump or over jump at home in the schools because out an a one day event you always have a much larger area to compete in where it’s far easier to ride decent lines. And if we have a rail down at a show it’s usually him not tucking his hind legs in, or me flattening the take off.

Here’s a very short video of the session, note the dash to the indoor school for shelter as the ‘stair rods’ appear, and the wonky camera angle when we return!

More on all of this next week.

Amateur event rider, aspiring photographer. Technologist by day.


  1. thanks, he is pretty special, I've turned down some big money for him in the past and an Olympic rider who wanted to "borrow" him. It's just a shame his wind operation didn't work out as hoped.

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