At my last squad training session as part of the vet check they like to see the horses trotted up and lunged on a hard surface. This is something we have never had to worry about with Ollie as he has always been so sound, but despite trotting up completely sound in a straight line he did show a slightly shortened stride whilst being turned on a circle. After discussing this with the squad vet and farrier it was suggested to change his shoeing. As soon as we arrived home I contacted my farrier, Adrian Deveraux, and between everyone we made a plan. However the first plan we made turned out not to be the right one. He seemed to be better after the shoeing but it did not last for long so we decided to get his front feet x rayed. This didn’t show up too much but what it did show is that his foot was too compressed on one side. My vet and farrier then had further discussions and decided to take a slightly different approach with the shoes and the results have been amazing. I can’t believe that making an adjustment so small has made such an improvement. This makes me so grateful for the World Class weekends as this may never have been spotted otherwise or maybe when it was too late.

My training was cut a little short whilst we were trying to sort out the problem with the feet so we decided to send him for an intensive session with Richard to help get him back on track before the Nationals. Ollie has filled out so much this year that he is now beginning to look like a body builder! This is all very well but I think he has finally realised how big and strong he is and how little I am! Richard makes it look so easy when he rides him but I can assure you that it isn’t. I am now doing an insane amount of sit-ups every day to try and get my core strength better, so I can learn to hold him together with my seat. We are getting there, but it is going to take me a while to learn to ride this new high powered engine. It is the most amazing feeling when we are working together as one and I hope over the winter we can get more consistent and then hopefully show it off in the ring next year.

After we picked Ollie up from Richards we went to Merrist Wood to do a couple of Mediums. This was great fun and as he had been ridden by Richard all week he felt amazing. We came second in the first test and then won the next. This is only the third and fourth Medium we have done and to win one already is brilliant especially for my confidence.

The following week was the Nationals. We arrived the day before and had a fantastic training session with Richard in the afternoon. I think this was probably one of the best sessions we have ever had. Richard helped again the following morning and he felt great again. Unfortunately we were not able to carry it on in the test. It started well, but he got a little bigger and stronger as the test went on and when I am riding with the glasses on there is so much else to think about that I don’t ride as well. I ended up second to Deb again, who was a well deserved winner. I was very disappointed with my score but I know that with a little more time and a few more stomach muscles we will be able to be up on top again.

I have the Elementary Area championships this weekend and then Ollie will have a break whilst we go on holiday for a few days. I don’t think Gary can believe that he’s taking time off work and it doesn’t involve driving or watching our four legged friends!