Typically I just go with the flow of the seasons, not worrying too much about what’s going on horse-wise. If I feel like competing, I’ll just look at a lower north island calendar and pick what looks fun from what’s available. Luckily there is no shortage of winter series stuff around where I live, so I don’t feel pressured to make the most of the eventing season which runs from spring-autumn. I also like to try my hand at everything, and won’t turn down an invitation for dressage, trail riding, hunting or even polocrosse. Having no strict calendar locked in has enabled me to just take my horse wherever I fancy going at the time; or even hang up the bridle completely for a pair of tramping boots and just go exploring by myself without having to scratch from a show that I’ve pencilled into the calendar.
However, this approach to riding – especially if you want to do it competitively – does tend to leave you unorganised, unprepared and without any real linear progress to reflect on. I also look back on my time at pony club, where we’d follow the eventing calendar from late september to may with a well deserved break over winter, and feel like I really miss the thrills and spills of competing regularly over a full season!
Oscar appears to be fully recovered from his back injury and, although it turned out to be a quick and inexpensive fix, it probably could have been avoided had we been riding out consistently instead of maintaining a base level of fitness with one to three rides weekly.
The above, coupled with the fact that I genuinely miss eventing and having that full season to progress with, has inspired me to be a bit more prepared for when next spring rolls around. There were a few things that stopped me in my tracks this year, such as working at polo and being scared to go without a support person to shows, so I will have to make an effort to avoid these setbacks next time.
I’ve written a few optimistic plans for autumn/winter this year:
I say optimistic because my previous attempts at setting goals have tended to go way off – whoops.
The overarching goal is to be ready to go by the time the first horse trial or pony club ODE opens for entries next spring. I listed my float for sale and we’ve had a little bit of interest; but there isn’t much of a market for a float needing repairs. Even if it is at a fair price. I’m not looking to re-list if it doesn’t sell, I think it has four or five days left on its’ listing before I withdraw it and we’ll pay to have the repairs done ourselves. It’s just welding underneath, a couple of bulbs and a wheel bearing adjustment which isn’t a major investment on a super reliable float.