Old beginnings , new endings and being guilty of being selfish….

Evening all…
So are you already to be bored by me yet again?!?!

So I thought I’d have a little catch up with you all now it’s the end of the eventing season..

So as you know my season with Jimmy Shoo has been up and down to say the least! Although unbelievably looking at his record this season , apart from the two runs were he pulled himself up (Chatsworth & Wellington) he has been placed in every other run.. Unreal hey?!

So what to do with him now? That is the million dollar question!!
Well he finished the season with a fantastic fast double clear and a placing round a strong advanced a couple of weekends ago , the week before that I had taken him team chasing to try and jolly him up and how very interesting that was!!
Team chasing is were you have 4 members in a team galloping around a cross country course.. Basically the fastest time wins and your teams time starts when the first team member crosses the start line and ends when the third team member finishes..
So it’s pretty much a race!! Although it’s not just over brush fences like racing , there are lots of twists , turns and even timber rails etc..

Anyways on to Jimmys team chase

I set out on Jim in second place in the team order and as I expected – he was really happy to be there!!
Colin would never let me sit him in second , he would pull my arms out to get infront.. Jimmy lacks that ‘bite’ I think a horse should have.. Like I’ve said before Jimmy is vanilla… Well as I’m sure you have all guessed – vanilla is no good to a girl like me..
So I set about making him growing a pair..
I made Jimmy take the lead at about fence 4 and that was it , no taking pulls anywhere!! I kept my foot flat to the boards and rode him like he was a good thing , I keep asking him up off a big strides , making him believe and not question not going.. Never once thinking of going deep or popping away , it all has to be about Jimmy being a man , grabbing hold of the bridle and taking me..
For about 5/6 fences all he wanted to do was drop in behind his mate , but I kept the gun to his head.. He has to learn to grab hold of the bridle and go.. Which to be fair to him he did in the end! There were 4/5 fences running very down hill , I kept my hands low on his neck and just kicked and he was as game as a pebble coming up longer each time..
He finished fantastically and I thought it had set him up perfectly for his last advanced run of the year..

And it did..

He was great XC.. Sharp , on it and actually pulled a little!
I still don’t get the feeling I have his mind 100% , so he will hunt hard this winter.. Learning to get his feet dirty , I am very much a law in to myself out hunting.. Always respectful of course but I never follow! I always take my own line.. It’s just what Jimmy needs , a winter hunting with me will make him cop on and grow a pair!

The aims for him next year will be Bramham CCI3* , Barbury CIC3* and then on to Burghley..

Now on to one of my favourite horses…
The run away Moose!!
She heartbreakingly picked up a injury at her spring 3day.. But her leg has healed brilliantly and she is back trotting and will be raring to go at the start of next season..
Whilst I haven’t sat down and talked thou plans for next year with her lovely owner Ruth Armstrong , I would love to aim her at the CIC2* at Barbury then a autumn CCI3* maybe Blenheim..
The run away Moose still remains a horse I’m hugely excited about , she is great in all 3 phases and I believe the horse to put me back on the map so to speak..

Now on to my dear friend Colin!
I haven’t spoken about him much on my blogs as he’s just my hunter but there’s quite a story behind him!!

So just over 4 years ago just before Badminton I stumbled across a advert for a quirky , lariy , naughty event horse that not only could jack it XC but could also buck like stink but could really jump , when he felt like it..
Yep , it really said all that in the ad!!! The owner was honest to a fault!!
I was looking for something cheap to hunt , so thought he might be perfect..
Scary how my brain works hey?!?!
Anyways I rang and the lady that owned/rode him was a professional event rider.
She was totally honest about him and I was honest about what I wanted..
Only problem was she wanted more money than I could afford and justify paying for a fun horse for myself..
So I asked her if she got stuck with him to call me..

That was that I thought… 6 months passed but I still hadn’t forgotten about the funny little dark bay horse in the ad..

Then a few days before Burghley I got a message saying she still had him and I could buy him if I was still looking for a horse , we agreed a price (pretty much meat money) and I bought him over the phone..
Unseen , untried and unvetted…

And my god I count my blessing every day I ride him.. He is still a lariy moron that bucks like he’s never seen let alone had a saddle on before but I work around his quirks and I adore the bones of him and he in return he does stuff like jump all types of gates whilst I video on my phone , he jumps no questions asked when I point him at crazy big or trappy places out hunting..
One of the first things I asked him to jump out hunting was a hanging metal 5 bar gate off a road out of a trot…
Over he went as clean as a whistle and for me that was it.. I was in love!!!!
Colin does a bit of team chasing this time of year to get us both ready for hunting..
Hunting is what he loves thou , he adores hounds and is one in a million..
Colin really is a horse that loves being loved , he’s spent so much of his life fairly being hated and being told he’s a s**t , but his little party pieces don’t bother me.. I just pat him and act all like ‘yep Colin you really are the man’ now can you please jump that unjumpable jump please..

This time of year when most event riders are thinking about holidays I am flat out breaking in yearlings.. Something I’ve done quite a bit of in the past and love doing..
At the moment I’m working (I use that word loosely!!) for some great friends of mine and I love being involved in a massive pre training yard like theirs but also having the freedom to walk away at the end of the day and do as I like.. But more importantly I belly laugh with them every day , is this my forever job? Being honest more than likely not..

I’ve had big yards myself and it just doesn’t suit me , I’m to selfish.. I like doing my own thing to much..
I was out of Saturday night when I was asked by someone if I was upset I hadn’t made more of my life..
‘After all you just ride out now don’t you Phoebe’
True I said , but I’ve never had as much freedom or been as happy as I am now.. Even if I am only ‘riding out’

Everyday I honestly ask myself this – could I live the rest of my life like this.. If I can’t I change something .. I asked a close friend of mine the same question a few days ago… He changed something too…
I dare you to be brave and ask yourself the same thing..

Simple fact is when I’m happy I’m a great person to be around and right now I’m simply very happy..
I see it like this – when I’m happy I bring out the best in people and therefore attract people that will also bring out the best in me..

Growing up is overrated and not for me!
I live my life simply , if I want something I have it .. If something bores me I give it back and move along ..
Sounds harsh but I have learnt in the hardest and cruelest possible way that life is to short to say ‘I wished I’d treated myself better’
If you don’t treat yourself well can you really expect others too?

Life is short , chances to do something you truly want rarely come along in life times so if and when they do grab those chances with both hands.. Enjoy them and worry later..
Settle for nothing less than butterflies , butterflies are everything…
Conforming is nothing…
Trust me in the long run you’ll see I’m right..

Over and out all
Take care and remember ….
I DARE YOU

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Feeling flat , the food chain , getting off the merry go round and being honest….

Hello everyone..
So I’m back yet again!! I would like to apologise for this blog , it will read scrapy.. But please hang on in there as it will all come together and make sense in the end I promise!!

So here I am writing this at pretty much the end of the eventing season , with the team chase season just starting up and hunting away off I really am a nightmare to be around at this time of year.
You see I get very flat and start feeling sorry for myself for no good reason!! I am at my best when I am flat out busy and don’t have time to think… Being honest I’m one of those people that the less they do the less they want to do!!
The busier I am the more I want to and the happier I am.. For me being bored means I either get in to trouble or think myself in to being unhappy!!
Another thing that has made me really flat is the lack of pointers in my yard.. This time last year I had my 3 boys up cantering away and clubbing getting ready for point to pointing..
I have this dream you see , it’s been my life long ambition to have a spin in the Foxhunters at Aintree.. This time last year I really thought I had a fair chance of achieving it , not the first time I’ve been epically wrong!!

Anyways this leads me on to a story that I’m sure your all aware of that hit a national news paper 2 weeks ago.. It was about a racehorse being put down on a race course after being fatally injured.
The horse happened to be a very successful racehorse for me that has no bearing on the story as successful or not horses that run at racecourses day in day out are owned , trained and looked after by people that love them and have there best interests at heart…
The article included some photos that would shock the avarage every day non horsey person but not people involved with horses full stop not just racehorses..
My family are massive meat eaters and we have chickens , pigs and cows at home..
They are often killed for our family to eat , they are always killed by the local butcher (my dad helps) who is also a great friend.. I remember as a very young kid asking dad why we had to look after and rear these animals then send them off to be killed and my dad replied with two things that have stuck with me though out my life..

He simply turned to me and said this – Phoebe this is called the food chain but one thing every living being in the world deserves is as much respect in death as it deserved in life..

The article was badly written and mis leading it made out like some how it was a bad thing the horse had been put down by using a gun – the horse in question was given the quickest , most pain free and dignified end to his life that was possible..
I just feel so sorry for the horses owners , grooms and trainer.. No one wants to face the fact they have lost a beloved horse let alone have to relive it in such away..

The article brought back loads of memories for me that I thought I’d share..
Now as I’ve always said my horses are for my pleasure , it doesn’t mean I don’t care about them because I do.. Anyone that knows me or has seen my horses will tell you that they have lives like kings and want for nothing BUT in return I expect them to try for me.. They don’t have to be super stars – god knows Colin is far from super star but he try’s his heart out for me and in return he has a lovely life and I adore him but I also am realistic that if you have life stock no matter how well you look after them or how hard you try you will some point also have dead stock..

The first of my pointers was a lovely untried horse that I bought cheaply as he was a bit of a run away and very unruly ..
He was a total nightmare but I stuck on in there with him (I won’t bore you all with the whole story!!) but he started to come round and was a total work horse.. I honestly couldn’t give him enough work.. At the beginning of last summer I started to dare to believe I could actually point him that winter , the plan was to cub him and if his brain handled that than have him out to run early.. The real turning point with him was when I put a fence in front of him!! He was born to jump..
Anyway I was walking him back having cantered him on the water meadows near our house (again looking after him and his legs by not cantering on firm ground)
When out of nowhere he went down with me on the road , just a trip when barely out of a jog.. I knew straight away it was bad.. I jumped off and he had totally bust his knees , like totally bust them.. I just couldn’t believe it – all I kept thinking was how the hell had it happened when I had hold of his head and he was only jig jogging home..
Anyways I called the vet but I knew it wouldn’t be good news.. I got him on to the verge and waited 35 mins for a vet to get there , I un tacked him and after about 15mins or so he kept trying to lay down.. I gently kept hold of his head and helped him down and then just sat with him whilst we waited for the vet get there.. Never in my life have I been so pleased so see a horse put out of his misery in my life..

Months later and I was getting my other 2 pointers ready for there first runs pointing.. Having spent all summer doing road work , gently cantering away etc..
Now both these horses were lovely older horses out of training , both had a fair amount of ability and I honestly thought (stupidly) I’d get to Aintree on one of them.. I’m a great believer in that you have to dream big , it’s what makes life exciting… It’s what makes life worth living…
My little horse (Jackson) was a very smart horse over hurdles and rated 134 and I decided to ask a friend and the best point to point lad around to sit on Jackson whilst I rode Kev (my other pointer) as I wanted to know from someone who knew what they were doing if I’d got them fit enough etc..

We schooled over fences and my friend was very impressed with Jackson he commented that he was brave , straight , scopey but careful enough at his fences.. Happy days I thought..
So for a little gallop we went.. Kev was also a fair horse , rated at best 138 over fences but he has fallen out of love with the game..
But he loved life again with me.. He was turned out every day with his girlfriend Donna the donkey.. I had team chased , hunted him but most of all he simply loved running away everywere with me and it had brought him back to life..
So off we set galloping over a mile.. We got to 6 furlongs out and Jackson was galloping all over Kev , knowing that it was important not to break Kevs heart by being beaten easily by a better ‘gallops’ horse than him after working upsides for a few strides I took a pull and told my friend to work away from me.. After a couple of strides of me steadying Kev I heard the loadest pop I’ve ever heard and knew straight away what had happened, in that spilt second I watched in horror as Jackson went down on top of my poor friend.. I pulled Kev wide to miss them both and you know what as I stopped Kev and turned back all I wanted was to see my friend on his feet.. He was..
So I then turned to Jackson ,he has shattered a near fore fetlock , I gave my friend Kev and untacked Jackson and waited for a vet to come.. Gutted and heart broken doesn’t even cover how I felt.. Jackson was and loved being a racehorse and he simply didn’t deserve what happened to him , the vets were with him quickly and he was put down with me holding him by injection.. I hated watching it , for me the injection just takes those few to many seconds to work but we were on gallops and that was what had to be done..

So home I went with one less horse , think of me as heartless or not but I didn’t shed a tear , as awful as losing him was I was just so greatfull my friend was ok.. Even so Jacksons box stayed empty for months…

Then on to my beloved Kev..
Kev was the most unreal jumper , he had never UR or F in all his runs as a racehorse and was huge , a giant even!! He wore his heart on his sleeve , usually jumping off infront and breaking horses hearts with his jumping.. He had no turn of foot but would just gallop all day..
Schooling him used to give me butterflies!! I loved him.. He really was a machine and would more often than not take off outside the wings just because he could and loved I couldn’t/didn’t try to hold him!!! But get him in tight to the boards at fences and was super sharp infront and always kept his backend low..
Anyways he gave me my first ride back pointing and gave me an amazing spin round Barbury.. I was ring rusty and didn’t have him close enough to the pace but anyway he ran brilliantly and even caught me and put me back in the saddle when I did my best to fall off him at the open ditch..
Cutting another long boring story short I knew he was my Aintree horse (dreaming big again you see!!) , god willing and I’d had all the bad luck one person was ever due right? WRONG AGAIN..

So off I went and renewed my licence and had started planning the hunter chases we needed to win to get to Aintree!!!
10 days before our first hunter chase I took Kev for a school we jumped to fences when I felt him take a wrong step.. Mt heart sank.. I knew it was happening all over again , I struggled or pull him off the remanding fences all he wanted to do was jump and stopping him broke my heart a little.. I jumped off and led him back to the lorry and sure enough he’d clearly done a serious injury… Again I couldn’t believe it , I’d hunted him , team chased him and run him in races and hack cantering over a couple of fences and bang a serious injury had happened…
The next day the vet confirmed the injury was very serious and after lots of heart ache I decided the kindest thing to do was to take him to my local hunt kennels… The problem with Kev was he was a bloody nightmare to have around , needed special shoeing and if he was out in the field he wanted to be in and if he was in he wanted to be out.. He also had a serious nap in him..
So that morning I got him out his box groomed , hoof oiled and got him ready just like he was going galloping or hunting etc..
He was so happy to see the hounds when we arrived at the kennels as he like most horses he adored hunting..
I held him whilst he ate from a bucket of feed and it was done in the most respectful and quickest way possible..
Again I drove home no tears but Kevs box 10months on still remains empty..

What happened to those 3 horses just proved to me life really is about fate.. No matter how careful you are if it’s going to happen it will one way or another..

My dad asked me only a couple of weeks after I’d taken Kev to the kennels how I had managed to hold and have all 3 horses put down totally on my own..
I replied with – why would you think it would be hard? All I had to do was show them the same respect in death as I had in life , no more no less…

The fact is it is the food chain of life , every day without even thinking about it we condemn animals to death.. Wether it be meat for our plate or leather for our boots..

At least everyone involved with the horse in that article know in there heart of hearts that there horse loved his life , job , was adored and had the upmost respect in death – even if some badly written article in a two bit paper is trying say other wise..

Remember if you can respect in death as much as you did in life your doing a lot more than most…

No matter what people say always dream big , keep dreaming big , never settle , aim for butterflies every day and remember boredom equals unhappiness , trouble or both , neither is good… Trust me I know more than most…

Over and out all ..
P