Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Last day of National Championships.

I'm up in Dublin at the moment, still recovering from National Championships, landed late Sunday evening and then turned right around to get up to Dublin to be indulged in a week of theatre. Shawn (my amazingly talented partner) just opened in a new play and the musical he wrote opens again at Bewleys Cafe on Grafton Street.(Follow the link for details) So al the horse gear was unpacked and hastily put away so I could repack and head out the door.
Poor Rex is exhausted after the long week in Cavan. The last day of competition was a little disappionting for us but ultimately a good lesson to learn. Two judges, one English and one of our own well known Irish judges took a dislike to his way of going. For me he felt more willing, more rideable than the Friday but it goes to show, even the little feelings of accomplishment don't necessarily mean winning scores. I am very happy with him nonetheless, he behaved like a gent compared to last year. Again we treaded the line between keyed up and ready to go and tipping over the edge into tired and past the limit. With a horse this size, it is difficult getting the fitness levels right, by day two of the show he was fast asleep in his stable and well tuckered out from all the festivities.

It was nice to have a few supporters travel up from home to see him and it broke the potentially icy, lack lustre atmosphere of the dressage diva's. I do sometimes worry that we aren't really doing anything to encourage people to come to admire dressage. I had some non dressage friends there and they felt quite a "breeze" around the warm up arena! Luckily Rex was in his element and didn't bother with the madness of loose children, loose dogs and the odd loose horse dashing by his stable. He's back at home now enjoying a few days off while I'm here in Dublin behaving like a proper non horsey grown up.

Raheen Na Gun

Raheen Na Gun

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Day Before, in Cahampionship Week!

Well, so much for good omens, that clear moonlit sky changed steadily over night to rain filled clouds that all seem to burst every time I needed to leave the lorry or the stables. When I was safely tucked inside, it seemed to be emptying its contents on the outdoor warm-up arena that now resembles a ploughed field in November. Luckily with a horse that looks designed for riding into battle, he has feet the size of dinner plates and wasn’t the least bit bothered by it. Rex is so laid back at this point I practically have to lift him around the stable. When he’s not got his head over the wall chatting to his neighbour, he’s pulling at the twine on his hay-net in an effort to empty it all on the floor. He seems to find it exasperating to have to methodically pull it out of those little holes. I suppose it’s not strange that we both get on so well, “chatty” “ loves food” and dangerous to anyone who gets in front of it” I do often wonder what he’d be like full of caffeine? He was terribly good today, nice and relaxed and seems totally in his element here on the show grounds.

The lorry park is filling up, with a few familiar faces and lots of unfamiliar faces, which does reflect the new interest in dressage. South East Dressage did have a little get together thanks to Mary Cox, Chairperson of our region and it was great to catch up with the old reliables. Over a glass of wine we dissected the show programme, there is an impressive number in my classes with some really high calibre horses. We’ll have our work cut out for us but we’ll be giving it socks.

Some of the arriving competitors don’t seem to be too savvy at parking their lorries and trailers so what was a nice neat little corner of my own suddenly became the end of a very long maze of abandoned vehicles. Every square of concrete has a skew ways lorry and it’s contents strewn around it usually with a little yappy dog tied to it! One such dog spent the night howling his lungs off while his owners had a restful night at a local B&B. As you can imagine it took a lot of coffee to make me even barely sociable after that. The coffee supplies are quickly dwindling, a little bit like my patience.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Three Days And Counting.

I’m sitting up in the Luton (for those Americans in the audience, that’s the little bed bit above the cab in the horse lorry and not an airport in England). It’s a most glorious night out there; the storm clouds have sidled away to reveal a beautiful full heavy harvest moon and the tiny twinkle of thousands of stars. I’m taking it as a good omen, especially as I’m afforded this splendid view because I’m up on the hill, at Cavan Equestrian Centre in the run up to the National Championships on Friday.

The journey up was a terribly long one, raining cats and dogs and thunder and lightening, (those omens I chose to ignore!) Rex as usual traveled like a saint and not in the least bit put out. He was especially excited on arrival as his haynet was constantly being refilled. After an arduous search of every nook and cranny in his stable as well as popping his enormous head over the wall to cheerily greet his neighbours, he settled back down to more haylage and wasn’t much interested in anything else. He was not happy however when I arrived to take him away from his haynet to do some work. He has been going wonderfully well over the last few weeks, just playing with the work at home. An absolute pleasure to ride, he manages to brighten up my day no matter how many times I’ve had to chase a horse around a muddy wet field in the rain. I do hope and expect him to go well on the weekend, as he really deserves it, such a marvelous horse. He has consistently stepped up to the work each and every time without complaint; so willing for every challenge he has been given.

For me, the last while has been those tiring lack lustre sort of days with a flu turning into a chest infection. With the help of lots of ginseng and my old friend coffee I’ve managed to trundle through but not without letting everyone know how uniquely sick I am. At this point most people are quietly grumbling “man flu” as they walk away, just loud enough for me to hear! They are possible quite right, I never was a good patient, I enjoy being looked after too much. On that note I do have to thank everybody for the endless cups of coffee, food and sympathy in exchange for my sniffling and coughing and a great big thank you for the superwoman Susi Burton Allen for all her help and the use of her lorry for the weekend. It is just heart-warming to have somewhere quiet and peaceful to come back to after facing the dressage divas on the showground (I’m including the dressage men in that)

With just Rex here in Cavan, even though he is the size of two horses I could potentially be accused of sitting around on my ass a lot if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m meant to be learning off a routine for a fitness class. I knew I wouldn’t escape the gym entirely this week, especially with gym sponsors, The Ormonde Leisure Club and GT Fitness checking in everyday. Several attempts to stretch my body to places it was neither designed or intends to go as well as copious loud grunts of effort has, I’m sure, made the people in the lorry next door wonder what on earth is going on in here.

Well, off to bed soon, up early to get Rex acclimatized to the show grounds and to find a decent cup of coffee, I’ll never survive till show day on Friday if I don’t locate a good espresso!

Monday, September 13, 2010

AIRC National Championships

(Hanna Bjoremark on far right.)

I stumbled across a wonderful blog with an even more wonderful picture of Hanna Bjoremark at prize giving after winning the title of Advanced Open National Champion.
The blog is Mackey Equestrian, check it out!

National Horse Trials Championships

Mags and Harry!
Jo, Gillian and Jenny

"What a fantastic weekend at Nationals .......... myself and the little man came 2nd and we were also on the Team which came 2nd too, still smiling.........well done to all the rest of the gang - Jo 1st - Carmel 1st - Jenny 5th - Mags 7th ......what a brill result for the Club ......... go girl power........."
"Gillian Hennessey"

I couldn't have said it better myself, well done to all the riders from Thomastown and District Riding Club who worked so hard all season on their dressage and secured great placings because of it at The National Horse Trials Championships.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Furst van Hof Olympia

Ivan spent the morning at Goresbridge Horse Sales with a wonderful young horse and her rider, Sarah Lang. Eleasalde, by Lux Z out of a Holy Cross mare. This superbly talented mare was trained by Sarah, jumping a metre ten classes for fun as well as popping around open cross country classes.