Rosco’s Leg is still healing after being X-rayed at the end of August following a nasty cut and finding a hairline fracture on his cannon bone after jumping the gate. We had a bit of a panic earlier this month as his leg swelled up and we had to get the vet out to do another precautionary X-ray - we were worried that it could have been a “Squestrum" where part of the bone dies off. Luckily, after quite a few X-rays and ultrasound scans, our vet didn't think that was a worry, and apparently it was more likely to be a pressure sore from the bandage. His leg looked a terrible mess though - the skin was literally peeling off.
Rosco has certainly been enjoying the good weather and we’ve been making sure he has plenty of grass even though he’s in a very small turn out area (so he doesn’t get the urge to run around). During his restricted rest, I’ve been keeping him company quite a bit and he’s decided he likes to perform for the camera... We managed to get some really cool pictures!
I took Walter to Frickley, our local event, and we did the BE100 getting our best dressage test in over a year and achieving a great double clear - we just collected a few time penalties in the Cross Country section which pushed us down the field a little bit. When tackling the water jump at Frickley, you start with a jump before the water, then straight into the water, onto an island then back into the water before jumping a skinny. Walter had a nice canter through the water then totally took me by surprise and took a massive jump back into the water losing my stirrup - I managed to jump the skinny with one stirrup, but it took me about 50m to get my foot back in, costing me a few valuable seconds. I used to practice losing my stirrup and getting it back again, but I’ve certainly lost the technique - I think I need to put a bit of extra practice in. Although I’m really pleased with Walter's performance, I don't think he’s as fit as I thought and he’s put a bit of weight on... We're starting to build up his fitness with a fitness goal, and he will be having a little bit of time in the starvation paddock...
As Frickley is our local event, we volunteered to help out and ended up 'dressage stewarding' for the day. The range of competitors we had to organise was huge, from world champion Ross Canter, to riders who were doing their very first event and were so nervous. Trying to keep social distancing, give instructions and keep the steady flow of riders to each arena was quite a challenge - two of the judges were FEI qualified and well known, but they came and thanked us after and had a really good chat . One in particular took time to tell us what they were looking for and explained some of their scoring principles. All too often I seem to view the dressage judge as a highly critical person who just wants to slate you and your horse, hopefully they'll recognise me next time I wander down the centre line and give me a fantastic score!!
We went to Speetley Show jumping near Sheffield on Sunday to get a few rounds in before our next BE event. It seemed like every-man and his dog had the same idea and apparently it was a record entry with 38 in the 95cm class alone. We were one of the later ones to start and ended up riding in the middle of a storm - it was probably the worst weather I’ve ever ridden in, we got totally wet through and there were puddles over the arena creating false take points. Even though Walter is not too keen on wet ground, the actual surface was fine just very splashy, he did a great clear and we were chuffed to bits with our 3rd place finish.
We also did the 105cm and just caught an unlucky pole but still managed another 3rd place, no rosettes due to social distancing but hopefully the prize money is in the post!
Sue took Walter to a dressage camp with a highly recommended coach named Andrew Day. She had 4 lessons in 2 days - it’s a great way to step-change the way you and your horse perform together, and it seems each coach can just find something extra or give you a different technique to improve your partnership.
I was so impressed with Andrew, and not wanting to miss out, I managed to give Walter a day off and then squeeze a lesson in for me and Walter on another of his camps. I think Sue must have done all the hard work as Walter performed impeccably and went the best he’s gone for a very long time - hopefully we can carry this forward in our future BE events.