I had been looking forward to EHOA Camp for a LONG time, when I first got Mally, one of the things I was really looking forward to was having a 'normal' horse and going to lots of training.
So after a fairly sleepless night (far too excited!) I had an early start to set off ready for two days of lessons with JP Sheffield and Kenneth Clawson.
Arrived at 9 and with my first lesson at 10 I had plenty of time to get unpacked and set up, especially as Wonder Mum was on hand to help, for once in my life I was super organised and had everything packed in boxes and I was kipping on an airbed, so had no tent to put up.
Instantly Mally went in the good books, walked straight into the tiny temp stable and set about eating
Got tacked up and set off for our first session with Kenneth, Flatwork and Poles. Moot was a bit of a pleb at first but after a canter she settled down and did some nice work, which is usually the case! Kenneth had us working on riding with elegance, imagining a mirror at every corner and using it to keep ourselves straight, in a rhythm and preparing for the corners. Such a simple exercise and yet it instantly made a huge difference to my riding! Our corners were consistantly rubbish and my riding into downward transitions was awful, but we didn't seem to disgrace ourselves!
Then we progressed to get the canter strides nice and even, so had to get 14 and 16 even strides between K&H or M&F, Mally and I like to ponce about in canter, so we got 16 very easily, but we managed 14 in the end.
Then we had to ride over some poles and stay on the specific colour all the way through, despite Idiot rider getting left and right wrong fairly constantly Mally was a star.
Very pleased with how the first session went, plenty to work on, keeping a good contact and improving transitions being the main things!
Kenneth also made a point of giving me some ideas for teaching my own lesson once he found out I was a Riding Instructor, which was a lovely bonus!
XC with JP followed, with the session focussing on Judging Speed and Water. After getting 2 minutes worth of TP at Draycott, I was interested to see how we got on with judging speed, but we managed to get it fairly well, so I'm even more sure something went wrong with the timings, hey ho!
Mally was ace, no problems what so ever, including little things like being left alone whilst others cantered off, switching off whilst we where standing still and jumping whatever she was told to. Practised getting even strides and discipline, so halting after fences, which Mally was very well behaved about! Got told off once again for having long reins, so something I really need to work on!
Then dinner at JP's, which involved large amounts of wine for a few of us! Being first up for a lesson at 8.30 the rest of my group were sensible and left early, I however was not! I woke up feeling a touch tender, however if you'd asked me on Thursday morning how I felt, I would have said 'Fine' in as cheery voice as possible, I was determined not to let on to all the sensible people just how rough I felt!
Once I got on I felt much better, so set off for SJ Course practise with Kenneth, and once again Mal was a super star! Really felt like I finally understood how to ride her and when I got it right she was fantastic! KC had us jumping a single filler stand on it's own and then on one stride to an upright, then one stride after an upright and finally 3 curving strides after an oxer. Mal can get away from me and run out at times, so I thought we would have problems, but she suddenly decided listening to me was a much better idea than going it alone and she jumped it really well everytime! I was so pleased with her, given I have done no work on skinnies with her, she made it all feel quite easy! We jumped a course and as long as I keep the canter going and don't rush her into a fence when I think I've got it wrong, we're ok!
Our second XC session with JP carried on from the previous one, he got us jumping a few fences strung together and despite an awful line to the last two fences Mally jumped brilliantly! JP told me to stop holding her and kick on a bit more but further out from the fences as it would help her scope no end, and although I knew that's what I needed to do, it wasn't until someone actually said it to me that I did it. It made such a huge difference, so chuffed to bits once more.
We went back to the water and progressed up from a titchy step in, to doing three big steps in. Mal took me by surprise at this point as she has done lots of jumping into water, but suddenly went green and hesitated! Obviously as it was Moot, it didn't last long and she did jump in, and after a few repeats she went in fine!
Onto ditches and again, Mal who has never jumped extravagantly in her entire life, went into orbit over the bloody thing! So we were sent back and forth until she calmed down, which she did.
Verdict was, nice horse get some spurs. Despite always riding my other horse in spurs I've never tried with Mal as she is such a baby, but she can go a bit behind my leg at times and it's normally when I need her to be listening most!
So pleased I went, KC and JP were fantastic and any opportunity I get to have a lesson off either of them in the furture, I will! Mally really made me proud, I got lots of lovely comments about her.
Have also got the entire thing on DVD as Sara from http://www.capture1images.co.uk/ was there for the two days and it's brilliant to be able to go back a remind myself what exactly it was I was supposed to be working on!