Autumn

I can’t believe it’s that time of year again already. Crunchy leaves, stunning sunrises and sunsets…mud, mud and more mud. Who could forget it’s clipping season too! So also along with Autumn, the routine has changed so the four legged one is not only resembling a woolly mammoth but a really grumpy one at that! It makes me so appreciate the days where he is like a marshmallow and loves his cuddles.

Since we last posted, honestly I’ve not done much in the way of smashing goals. Seems since our outing in August I’ve had the most persistant cold/flu/tonsilitis/plague I can ever remember having. I would really love it to go now!

We have some goals set which we are working toward for our next outing. We are having a lovely time working to improve, although it’s getting a little difficult with the darker evenings drawing in, but where there’s a will, there’s a way!

On Sunday after lunging Caspar was really following me around the school with no lead rope or tack. Shoulder to shoulder never in my space even if I turned a tight figure of eight. Stopped next to me when I did and not a foot ahead of me.

Our ground work is clearly paying off. It was really very sweet and it was a magic feeling. I’m thinking of seeing where this goes and trying to have a go at some liberty with him. The idea of him getting past his fear of poles and willingly walk over one is so lovely. I have a lot to learn as it’s never something I have tried. I think this could be a lot of fun!

Jen & Caspar x

Advertisements

The big day

6.30am- alarm goes off. I haven’t really slept due to suspected tonsilitis. Turned alarm off and went back to sleep.

7am – still can’t breathe properly. Time for Lemsip and cough mixture and Sudafed.

7.30am – still in bed drinking Lemsip and looking at test sheets. Should probably get up soon. Caspar needs a bath.

8am – Remembered I have to petrol and have to go into town to get some before I go to the yard.

8.30am – Finally arrive at the yard. Delayed as there are lots of holiday makers around as it’s bank holiday. I’m having to wave at everybody this morning as I’m actually barely audible when I speak. Couldn’t have happened on a better day.

9.00am – Bath time! Out we go to get Caspar nice and clean, poor chap looks at me like he’s thinking ‘how could you mum’ I’m going to guess that’s because it was tipping it down.

10.00am – One very clean and heavenly smelling horse! Secret weapon… silvikrin purple shampoo on the legs. Brilliant.

10.30am – I’m halfway through plaiting. Halfway through dying from whatever it is that’s stopping me from breathing and socially interacting like a normal person. I think Caspar is glad I’m not gabbing away to him to be honest.

11.00am – The plaits are passable for a first proper effort. I gave up on the French plait for his forelock.. I just couldn’t get it to look nice so I just did a normal one and it looked fine. (But I knew it wasn’t how I really wanted it, so that bugged me.) Time for the calmer. This should be fun. In actual fact he took most of it pretty well, only minimal amounts went on me and the floor. He then looked at me like I was a traitor when I offered him a polo. I had smelt that calmer after, it wasn’t all that enticing.

11.30am – Time to get me ready! I am soaking wet. Cannot breathe, my jacket is still a bit tight. But at least I can get it done up now unlike 6 months ago! I decided to keep a separate pair of jeans in my bag until we arrived as the weather really was foul and if my whites didn’t go see through because of the they would be brown from the mud. Figured it was best to change into those on the lorry.

12.00pm – I’m starting to flap now. I need my husband to come pick up our son as we need to leave in half an hour… shame the calmer isn’t for people too. Mind you.. I do have some rescue remedy? Had a drop of that.

12.30pm – We are loaded up and on our way!! My very kind friend Jo is taking us in her lorry. If you’re reading this Jo, THANK YOU!!!

1.45pm – We have arrived, I’m flapping more now. My dutiful husband has arrived with our lovely little boy and I’m in the back of the lorry using my yard boots as something (kind of) dry to stand on whilst I swap into my breeches.

2.00pm – Both horses have been unloaded and tacked up, I’m still flapping and I go to mount and realise the steps aren’t quite high enough so I start to flap again. So we are going to get on in the warm up. That’s fine. I have also started to notice that the glands on my neck have swollen to three times their size and it’s very difficult to speak, make any kind of noise or breathe without feeling like I’ve inhaled a bonfire.

2.30pm – We are now in the warm up and I know I am first, I am feeling so tense right now. Despite chugging the rest of the rescue remedy before heading to warm up. Caspar is feeling quite tense and is a bit looky but he settles down quite quickly after a few turns around the area and some trotting. I’m up there singing away and and repeating ‘flabby bum’ to myself over and over. I must have looked like a mad woman. The bell has gone. Oh shit.

Sometime after 2.30pm – Its a bit of a blur now, I’m feeling a bit delirious from all the cold and flu stuff I’ve taken. But I’ve spied a friend who has come to watch and seen the other liveries warming up, I think the test went well. My instructor Katy called it out for us as my little brain kind of went blank. But over all I have really enjoyed it and have relaxed at last. I’m actually looking forward to my next test now!

3.22pm – We are called again, Caspar slightly less willing to go in again this time but he did brilliantly. Katy called for us again, I had made a couple of mistakes but that was to be expected. But we smiled and we had fun!

3.40pm- We took some group photos as there were a few of us there from South Woolley today which was really lovely.

4.00pm – Horses are un-tacked and in the lorry and we head off to go and get our test sheets. I am so proud of Caspar today, he really has done me proud. We got a 4th and a 6th!! Some really helpful feedback to work at for next time was given. Needless to say I have got the bug and can’t wait for the next one!!

5.30pm ish? – We are back and the stables, I’m taking Caspars plaits out and my brilliant husband is taking out all of our stuff from the lorry. I’m at this point wobbling around the yard where I am so out of it. Time to go home for a roast dinner and some Prosecco.

Thank you so much to everyone who has believed in us and supported us and all of your good luck wishes. I’ve also achieved a goal I gave myself around a year ago. I have never won any kind of prize for anything in my life, so I had vowed by the time I turn 30 I need to come home from an event with a rosette. Doesn’t matter what one. So a 4th and a 6th I am thrilled with.

Next goal – maybe a first place?! I still have 11 months until I am 30!

A huge well done to everyone else who had their tests today – you were brilliant! Special thanks to Jo for safely transporting my lovely Caspar and being a fab groom for the day. Sam Parker (My wonderful husband) for looking after me all day! Katy Malone, for you never ending support, Amy for coming to support us and for taking off Caspars tack and getting his boots on whilst I had a coughing fit, and of course Samberwill Equestrian for always keeping my spirits high and keeping me comfy when I am training!! Emily Barker for Caspars massage (I think he is looking forward to his next one) and everyone else who has been behind us!!

Jen & Caspar xx

Practice & Procrastination

This blog post started out just being titled ‘Practice’ and since I wrote the large bulk of it at least a week ago I decided to add the latter to the title. In between cutting my own fringe, working, toddler wrangling and making an attempt to get into a healthier lifestyle. I had come to a decision.

So, it has gotten to the point where I really can make no more excuses about not going to do our first tests. Caspar and I have been working hard. Not as hard as I would have liked but hey ho. We have gotten to know each other some more, I have been brave and pushed myself out of my comfort zone more often and more willingly. So what’s a couple of little Intro tests right? Well, the thought is enough to bring me out in a cold sweat. There will be people watching me – in my slightly too tight show jacket no less. But people that aren’t my very kind instructor! That in itself is scary.

Then there is the prep. Loading practice, I had no idea how he loads.. that needs to be practiced, turns out that’s fine. Just he rushes a little getting out. Plaits – great at plaiting people, but the horse? That needs practice. Actually trying to remember the tests. That also needs practice. As soon as I remember one completely it squeezes out the first one. It’s an endless circle. Keeping a coloured clean before a show? I’m not sure that all the help or product in the world will ensure his white bits stay white.

Oh God. What have I done? Wish us luck for Sunday!!

TBC

Jen, Caspar & Sam xx

Brave pants.

So once again I have realised just how long it has been since I last checked in. Oops. So in the last month I have realised I am capable of much more than what I am doing at the moment, it’s just one block holding me back. Cantering in the school. Ridiculous. Happy to canter in a field or on the track, but in the school. Nope. Not a chance.

After a firm pep talk to myself I had decided that this has to stop. So I had made a plan I was going to stick to. I was booked in on a clinic initially with Caspie. But decided that to get over this fear Sammy boy would be the man for the job. I know his canter well however he hasn’t been in a school probably for a good decade. But figured if I can get him to canter in the school with him being excited I will be fine.

On the morning of the clinic I was in the zone. Up early, motivational badass playlist on. Sam groomed and shiny and everyone feeling good. When we arrived with Tash & Tamara, Sam was rather excited as expected but it was a bit exciting with all the people, horse boxes and a couple of new horses here and there so fair enough. But true to form Sam took it in his stride and was brilliant.

I mentioned at the start to Mark when he asked us about what we wanted to achieve in the session. I very non comittedly said if he was a good boy I think we should try a canter. Me wimping out of my own grand plan. So toward the half way point of the session Tash and Tamara were asked to canter. ‘Yep, fine we will carry on doing what we are doing’ I thought. Then I heard ‘Jen, I want you to ask Sam to canter…’ I do remember saying oh s**t fairly loudly. Oops children present. Including mine. So embracing the moment I did as asked and it didn’t quite happen straight away, but after a couple of frustrated tries and using Tash & Tamara as target to chase WE DID IT!! IT WAS BLOODY AWESOME AND WE DID IT! Small potatoes for Sam and most people reading, but a blooming great big potato for me.

Still feeling high on life after the clinic on Saturday and a day helping out with friends at their ODE on Sunday. I Felt after dropping off my son at school today would be the day Caspar and I would go for it in the school. Eek! So. As last time the playlist came on during the journey to the yard. I took a few deep breaths and pretended I was badass. Thankfully there were no spectators otherwise it probably wouldn’t have happened. But once again, WE DID IT!! Right rein – lovely. Rocking chair loveliness. Left rein – matey boy next door decided to mow his lawn the attention was more on that than with me perhaps. So as we started to canter he was a little distracted with his head up so as I asked to trot we still went around in canter. Which is fine but as I am learning his lovely canter which at this point felt was pretty bouncy on the left rein (more likely due to my nerves) I lost a stirrup and as my requests to trot didn’t quite happen on time I slid off the side. Not his fault at all. But it’s all part of me learning about him. So after telling him what a good boy he is I hopped back on. It went quite the same way as before but I stayed on and we had some lovely beautiful strides and some ugly bouncy ones. Me again. Whoops. I didn’t come off again so we ended on a high note. Even if I had I would have went around again. Until we ended on that high note.

So enough of my waffle, I am pretty happy right now. So many exciting things to come now that wall is now gone! I am very lucky to have such wonderful and kind horses in my life. Thanks boys!

Love Jen, Sam & Caspar xx

One week in

So It’s a week since Caspar and I have started our journey together and we have done lots already.

In his past sadly some people hadn’t been kind to him which left him quite defensive in his stable. I was told yesterday by a friend something really lovely. I’ll be honest, I did a little happy cry! It has been noticed that since last Saturday he has been less defensive and more relaxed in his stable. Which is so wonderful to hear. Also after our lesson last night it was noted that his ears weren’t pinned back looking grumpy. Maybe that last one was a fluke. But I really hope this continues. We are working on getting his head collar on without hesitation or turning his bum to me and he is doing really well. I am very lucky to have a fab yard owner and general fountain of knowledge to help us. (Thanks Katy!) I am so proud of him.

We went for a little hack on Tuesday which included an unexpected race with some bullocks and a less than graceful dismount. Think Spider-Man doing the splits. So sadly not much riding was done between Tuesday and yesterday since I was walking a little like I had a peg leg for a couple of days. All good fun though!

After work today I am back up to Bristol to stay with the family for a couple of days and off the Badminton tomorrow. Which will be really lovely. I will however miss my furry friends back at home. I’m looking at you Ellie, Caspar and Sam!

Speaking of which. Beautiful Sam is still very much on the scene and has a new set of shoes ready for lots of lovely summer hacks! He is now at his field for the summer and is very much enjoying being naked and stuffing his face with grass all day.

Enjoy your bank holiday everyone!!

Love Jen, Sam & Caspar

Xx

Whirlwinds

Apologies for the enormous gap between now and my last post!

The last few weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. I’ve now been at South Wooley Livery and Coaching for 4 weeks this coming weekend and they have been brilliant fun. I have felt very at home and welcome!

I have received a very lovely parcel in the post from Samberwill Equestrian containing a lovely Polo Shirt, which I must very honestly say that I live in it! Super comfy, and is great for day to day wear, riding and yard work! Have a look at their website if you fancy treating yourself! It’s worth it! They also have a 2 day offer on fly rugs at the moment so do go and have a look!! Ends Wednesday 25th April 2018 at 4:00pm. Check out the 2 day fly event here! Which leads me to the next topic.

So since last time Sammy boy has been out on a couple of rides and has been a good boy, and is hopefully going to be off to his summer grazing fields very soon, which I am absolutely sure the first thing he will do is roll. It is also now fly season as I went out this morning and probably ate at least seven whilst giving them their breakfast. Extra protein? Lovely.

I now smell like Deet. all of the time. I have kind of accepted my fate of being a fly’s favourite chew toy but that’s okay because this time of year also means lovely hacks on a warm evening! This is one of my favourite times of year; the mud starts to dry up, my equestrian tan develops and the smell of fly spray lingers on pretty much everything I own. But spectacular views and sunsets on horseback are soo worth the gruelling winter.

So in the last couple of weeks I have been riding a lovely horse called Caspar. He is a real sweetie, and is very sensible for his age too. So on Saturday I shared a session with Katy for Mark Cunliffe’s Clinic at South Wooley. If I am honest I was nervous about being in a school again in a lesson environment, and that really came through. I had settled eventually and we had a lovely session. Caspar and I parted ways very briefly – nothing naughty just the camera took him by surprise I think. After a bit of a laugh about that I had hopped back on and continued to enjoy it. Really looking forward to the next one. I have this habit of getting into my own head I had decided it was a good idea to put my stirrups up as I was a bit nervous.. why? Bad choice as not only do I look like a jockey in the photos, but it would have helped keep Caspar and I together in the earlier part of the lesson and the boot pinching was fabulous… Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

This weekend will be work as normal and the next I will be at Badminton and the following week at Windsor. So exciting things coming up indeed!

Love Jen, Sam and Caspar x

Happy Easter!

Hi Everyone!

It’s easter and the only day it’s acceptable to have chocolate for breakfast second to Christmas day.

Its been a good week for us here at the Parker household. Mr Postman has delivered a very exciting parcel from me from Sporting Hares containing my beautiful Beauchamp Blazer. It is gorgeous. I cannot wait to wear it out. I may just wear it around anyway, it’s far too pretty not to. Also coming are some Beautiful boots from Fairfax and Favor and a hat from Hicks & Brown. All of which I have had my eye on for a little while. More about that another day as I could go on about how excited I am for quite some time and I have some easter crafts to get ready for my little boy! So Reviews to come!

Aside from getting excited over pretty things, riding wise it hasnt’t happened this week. Despite the clocks changing!! If I am honest it’s been a busy week, but also I have managed to pull a muscle in my back. Sam at the moment is.. let’s say Fresh. The lack of turnout has not helped. So I have decided to rest this week. However Sam has had a couple of days in the field (who else is sick of the mud?) so hopefully he will be a little less erm, excitable. However I am sure he will be excited to be ridden so I am expecting some jogging, snorting and farting and perhaps the odd buck or two. He’s just such a character you cant even be mad.

Being easter I am of course sat here eating prosecco truffles. We have been out at an Easter egg hunt for our son Piran which he thoroughly enjoyed. As I forgot to get to buy Sam a horsey easter egg, I have been baking treats and sadly they weren’t quite ready in time. Whoops. So instead we are having Pony Pamper day, I am sure I will be forgiven.

I also just have to say it. I am SO excited! I have been offered a job at a lovely Livery and Coaching Yard. The people, the horses and the stables are lovely and I am so looking forward to it.

So i’m off to go eat some more chocolate and drink some prosecco..

Happy Easter!

Love Jen & Sam x