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End of Season, and Hibernation!!!

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We did the last event of the season at Frickley, a wonderful day out. Even though Jay had not been out eventing for a long time, he took it all in his stride.

The dressage was solid, if not inspiring. The Show Jumping was Sooooo slippery, on top of hard ground underneath. Poles were crashing all over both in the collecting ring and in the arena itself. I noticed Jay shortening his stride on the slippery hillside, and decided that he knew what he was doing, and allowed him to go tentatively.

It worked, he did not touch a pole all day, although we managed two strides in the one stride double. It was slow and careful and clear! Good boy, clever Jay!

For our Cross Country Jay arrived very relaxed into the start box, and was ...... obliging I would say. Like the dressage he was solid and relaxed, but maybe not inspirational! In fact we had a video by head cam, and watching it is funny as the view I have the entire time was of a pair of relaxed, floppy ears, one of which regularly turns round to tune in with me, to see that I am happy. A steady clear again, with some time penalties.

There were some more events that we could have done, but I just felt tired, so we wrapped it up there and then. Not bad, 5 events and double clear in them all. I know Jay could have blasted through a whole load more events, but that did not suit me so we have had an easy, happy season, and are in an excellent place physically and mentally to start again next year.

And that brings me to the second part of the title of this blog, hibernation. I was generally tired, so decided that Jay could have a holiday. Normally if I am resting I still "play" with Jay to keep him entertained, but this time I did not.

For three weeks I turned Jay out in the morning and brought him in in the evening, and that was that. I guess I could have known better than that, but anyways, after three weeks I was rugging up, and Jay BIT me!!! I was astonished. I had noticed that when groomed and rugged he had been a bit grumpy, but had decided to ignore it as I trusted Jay. My mistake.

I bought Jay with a history of him being a difficult horse, but I have found that when handled with care he is great, kind and generous. I now know that even after 2 1/2 years of ownership if he is ignored he is pushy, and if the pushiness is not addressed he will take over.

No long term harm done, just a bruise, but as a consequence Jay  came back into work, schooling and a bit of jumping too, and he is all the happier. I am also back to paying attention to what is happening in "Jay's world" rather than just going through the motions.

This time of year is always difficult, with the shorter evenings I am less inclined to want to start and invent fun stuff at the end of a day, and because of this there is a balance to be struck between work, discipline, play, and plain time out! I am playing this out by Jay having a few days off each week, but then working at home in the arena either ridden or lunged before boxing out to do more exciting stuff pn subsequent days. That is our balance.

I have spoken to a lot of other people who are finding it difficult too, and I have been determined not to feel guilty in any way. My job is to keep us both safe until the light and weather improve and it all becomes more like fun again.

Last week I had a week off, and after a week of full work preparing Jay physically and mentally for an outing we went to Arena UK for a bit of jumping fun. It was great, we did not go there "for" anything, just because we can, and it seemed like an entertaining diversion.

Jay was great, the first class he was a nanny to me as the collecting ring was so busy it made me nervous. He did a careful clear and was obviously very pleased with himself. Sadly it was so steady and relaxed (floppy ears in view all the way round) that we actually got three time penalties, so instead of prepping for the jump off Jay went back to the box. He was not happy, he stopped and kept looking back to the arena, he obviously thought he was to go in the jump off.

We persuaded him back and he had a break, then I prepped him for the second class. This was run as two phase, where if you are clear over the first part of the course you continue straight on to the jump off fences without leaving the ring. As soon as I mounted up I realised that Jay still had it in mind to do a jump off, he was a lot more forward and quicker, very positive in the warm up. This is a video of us in this class.


Jay was a star, very happy, and quick enough to say I was not asking for speed.

We were double clear but not fast enough for a prize,  but the funniest part of the day was still to come. As we finished I patted Jay, and he did his victory dance where he snakes his neck in an exaggerated canter as if he is expressing to the world how clever he is and how happy too, then he came out of the ring, I dismounted, and Jay DEMANDED a sweet. There was no doubt about it, I have never tit bitted before at a show, but he was quite clear, he knew he had done well and deserved a sweet.

It caused a bit of an undignified scramble back at the lorry, but we found a packet of Polos and satisfied Jay.

The next day Jay was quite tired I think, the blog header photo was Jay the day after snoozing in his all weather turn out.

Now? I really don't know. Today it is blowing a gale, tomorrow it is due to snow. We are back in hibernation I think, keeping safe and waiting for better times to train, compete, play and have fun. No guilt!

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  1. Ruth

    That is something I have thought of, although Jay is only 8 years old now it will be interesting to keep him entertained and healthy when he gets older. I hope that when he is in that situation he will have developed a more relaxed attitude to life at a slower pace, but you never know

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  2. Gail

    I hate the shorter days of winter, and yes, it is easy to feel guilty for not having time or energy to do something after working all day. Sounds like Jay is one who will not take to retirement easily, which is a blessing and a curse. Keep having fun!

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