|Hello again everyone...
What a lovely day we had yesterday at the Open Day here at Jodhpurs. Did you come to see us? I saw lots of you as you went through to see the loose jumping with Max and Woody. At first, Max had a bit of a mind of his own, but Charlie had a few words with him and he jumped some really big fences to show what he can do. Magi then explained the difference between his technique and Woody's. Woody is much younger and a lot more used to loose jumping. Max used to win competitions at it when he was younger, but he has been under saddle a long time now and it has changed the way he jumps loose. It was very interesting to later see them both being jumped by Keith Maguire, who showed everyone how show jumpers are trained over different types of fences and what these techniques teach the horse to be able to do. Keith is the rider who will be taking Woody to Burghley's young horse event if he qualifies, so it's fingers crossed for the pair of them as it would be lovely to see our boy competing at such a prestigious event.
We finished our showjumping section with a fabulous jumping exhibition by two of Derry's tiny tots, Tanya Page on Heidi and Alana Loughley on Milly, proving that you can start horse riding at any age and enjoy yourself at every level. They got the biggest round of applause all day, very well done to both of them!
Outside in the sand arena there was an exciting game of horseball between Nottingham and Newcastle to watch. Nobody could believe the athleticism of the kids who played, stretching right down to the floor to pick up the ball before swinging back up in the saddle to gallop across the arena, passing the ball back and forth before they could score. It was a nailbiting game, with every second counting. They will be coming back to Jodhpurs in the future to give a coaching session to the clients, so watch this space - you could give it a try yourself!
Rocky and Pebbles came into the indoor arena next and everybody clapped and whistled to see Adam and Laura strip off their gloves, ties and jackets over jumps to Tom Jones singing 'You Can Leave Your Hat On' - very appropriate choice! (Adam's Mum, Carrie, was the lady with her hands over her face, unable to look - whether it was because of Rocky's big bold jump or Adam's practised style as he swung his shirt over his head, I wasn't sure!) Poor Laura had a bit of a tumble from Pebs, but was so brave, she got a big round of applause when she got back on and jumped even bigger and better than before. And all with no reins! Well done to both of them.
After a well-deserved break for lunch, there was a fascinating demonstration of carriage harnessing, long reining and driving in the field behind the arena by Chris Goodliff. She was assisted by Tricia Price, who owns Penny, the pretty little coloured mare they used for the demo. Both ladies compete regularly in driving trials. The horses in the field were fascinated by the little blue show carriage as well, as they flocked to the fence to get a closer look, then followed Penny along the field. I don't think any of them had ever seen a carriage before - except our Billy, of course!
Then came the dressage quadrille, with Charlie on Max, Beth on her new horse Riley, Emily on Milly, Alice on Dougal (and glue on her bottom in practice sessions!) Andrea on Jess and Mum on me. We all had a brilliant time and with only four days to practice, I think we all did an excellent job. We did our drill to Mambo number 5 and I still keep hearing people humming it around the yard - we just can't get it out of our heads now.
At the end of the day, Mum and me stayed in the arena and did a dressage demonstration, explaining school manoeuvres and showing how leg aids become simpler and more refined the more trained horse and rider become. We had a question and answer session and a lovely chat with everyone who was left about how the day had gone.
Then it was a quick wash down and a feed for all of us horses and ponies and a big piece of chocolate fudge cake each for all of the willing helpers who tidied up at the end. Mum says to pass on her thanks to Lou, Georgie and Georgia for helping with the horses and Jo and Amy who kept us all well fed and supplied with Slushies all day in the kitchen. Also thank you to the demonstators and riders. Well done to Beth for masterminding the quadrille and overseeing the sometimes hilarious practice sessions. Dianne Kerr is Mum's friend the computer lady, who designed all the leaflets, helped with the baking and showed people about on the day, she was a fabulous help. Also, a very big thank you to all the kids for making Charlotte's birthday party a hit and running around in all of that heat. It was nice for all of the visitors to see what a Jodhpur's party looks like. Some of them (they know who they are!) must have lost their voices shouting for the ponies in the games.
We all had a lovely time and can't wait to do it all again next year, the biggest thank you of all goes to all of you for coming and making it such an occasion. Tell your friends all about us and bring them along for a look next time.
Bye for now, I'm just off to play in the field with Radar and the rest of the guys and tell them all about it.