We’ve also had some bronking sessions when leading Rosco in from the fields. Nothing naughty - more of an anxious bronk which has been puzzling us - we’ve now established that it was down to his fly rug causing static electricity. He is really fine skinned and as soon as we stopped using the fly rug he hasn’t bucked or bronked once - he’s now covered in fly spray to give him some comfort.
With our vet Jenny giving us the go ahead to do ridden work again, and following my explosive dismount last time I got on, we've decided to get a professional jockey to get on him before I get back on. After searching for the right rider, and following recommendations, we selected Stephen James. So far it’s going really well. Rosco is so active, both physically and mentally he needs a lot of stimulation.
I was really impressed with Stephen's approach - he treats Rosco gently but firm. Before getting onboard, he did lots of work, lunging and leaning over him. After a couple of sessions he was relatively sure Rosco was “safe”!
After an apprehensive step into Rosco’s stirrup, we were onboard and beaming. He was still very unbalanced after 7 months off, but more importantly I was still on Rosco’s back after 5 minutes, so that was a real positive! For the next month or so, the rehab will just be light work, so no cantering or jumping but it feels great to be back onboard!
Sue did her ’annual’ event on Walter at Shelford in the BE90! It was a year ago she did the same event and this was her first event since. Following her dressage camp with Andrew Day a few weeks ago, Walter has been improving leaps and bounds and their test was pretty good except from him breaking canter just before the marker for one of the movements. Still expecting a good score, Sue was gutted when the judge gave her a 3 for the canter, talk about mean, unfortunately that brought the whole score down.
Sue finds it really hard to keep her leg on since her back operation, and with Walter only ever doing just enough, they had an unfortunate pole in the showjumping so it was all on the cross country to restore some pride. They had put a new coffin complex in which was causing a lot of stops and with Walter's previous issues with coffins, I was certainly a bit nervous for them both. As it happened, Walter had a little look but jumped it fine finishing clear just inside the time. Unfortunately it took its toll on Sue’s back and leg and she has only just got over it - she's possibly going to stick to dressage as all 3 phases are just too much.
I took Walter to Richmond in the BE100 on the Saturday after - it was a very early 4.30am start to get there in time. We had a good dressage test and improved our score on our previous test! The showjumping at Richmond is set up on an all-weather surface and it is always up to maximum height - this year was no exception, it was more like a 105/110 cm course! We were doing really well and I wasn't phased at all by the course until the last jump... I reverted back to “motorbike” mode and cut the corner a bit too much - as I approached the jump I knew we didn’t have a stride. Walter got so deep and just lifted vertically through his shoulders and miraculously cleared it with ease, I was so chuffed with him helping me out.
Having walked the cross country, I knew the time would be tight especially with Walter having only 2 speeds... steady or very steady! Also, if there’s a hint of softness in the ground he backs right off the jumps. I’ve tried all techniques to get his speed up from interval training to pure endurance! The cross country course had quite a few new elements but fortunately none of them phased Walter. We took some very tight lines and angled every jump where I could save time but we were still 10 seconds off the pace pushing down and out of the placing. But another double clear and an improvement in dressage, so I’m still pleased with his performance. Our next event is back at Frickley so we are hoping it’s firm ground to give us a chance to go for the time!