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05 Jan Winter Blog from Ambassador Alex Holman
So after a good final few runs of the season, finishing with both my own & Carrick Diamond Bard (Gerry)’s first CCI3*-L at Bicton, all of the horses enjoyed a holiday in the field! They are all so different and have run at different levels during this strange year, so some had more time off than others, but all had plans to suit them. Unfortunately for me, COVID has not allowed me to have a proper break, unlike last year, but I have had a much quieter November than usual, not only with the horses on holiday but with the November lockdown affecting things further.
All of the horses are now back in work, and we have started having a few lessons and outings again. They are all feeling extremely well, partly thanks to their TopSpec feed & Animalife supplements, and I have survived more than a few exciting hacks during their walking and roadwork!
I have already hosted the amazing Holly Woodhead at my yard twice since the horses have been back in work, and the few lessons I’ve managed to have with her have really helped me to plan where I want to take the horses to the next level in their training. Holly makes me ride so positively and the horses really respond well, which gives me so much confidence in them and how I’m asking them to work.
Rathnageera Aussie (Billy) & Hocus Pocus (Hugo) both showed off their post-holiday progress with 2 super tests each at our local venue Prestige Equestrian, with Billy successfully tackling his first 2 Novice tests, and Hugo posting easy wins in a Novice & Elementary. We scored well on all of the specific areas I’ve been working on, which was very pleasing, and makes me excited to improve our scores as we head on to the more difficult movements again – I always like to start the horses out in an easy test for them after their holidays so that it helps them feel confident and relaxed in the whiteboards, and the harmony I felt with both horses was exactly what I was aiming for!
We then rewarded them with a couple of jumping outings over the following weekend, and despite them feeling VERY keen on the first day, they settled and worked well the next, both jumping well around decent tracks. We all felt a little bit rusty, but as a friend pointed out: it’s December so we’re allowed to! The next stop will be some jump lessons to really get us back into the swing of things.
I have been mentally keeping myself engaged by doing a few online group zoom meetings with Caroline Moore, on ‘Podium Mentality’ throughout training/competing in all 3 phases. These have been very inspiring in dark, wet winter months, and have been a huge help to focus me in a quieter time, and have given me some great pointers to use when teaching as well.
It has been lovely to greet both old and a few new clients through teaching over the past few months, as the lockdown rules have allowed. I have to give a special mention to long-term client Chrissie and her horse Guto, who came out jumping with me and put in their best SJ rounds ever, over pretty big tracks, and also won their dressage test at Prestige! Hopefully, when the COVID situation becomes clearer after Christmas I can get back to organising some clinics, which I love doing.
I hope that everyone manages to stay positive and enjoyed some festive cheer before we head into 2021 – I have learned a lot in 2020, and feel that I made the most of the situation we got, but cannot wait to see the back of it, and I have exciting plans to look forward to… Hopefully starting early with (finally!!!) a move up to Advanced level with my own & Janet Coe’s super horse Gerry… Fingers crossed!