left things on Sunday, but he was actually very good! We didn’t break any world records height wise, but I just wanted to make sure that he was confident and happy, and he was taking me to the fences with no signs of stopping which was
just what I wanted.
On Sunday we then went to our local XC course ‘Dene Farm,’ which luckily for us is only hacking distance away! My sponsor Sharon Kilminster was holding a clinic there, so we went along to the afternoon session with 1 other – a beautiful 5y/o dapple grey mare called Jasmine. After having my bingo wings ripped apart by Willo at Tweseldown, I had realised the hanging cheek KK with the lozenge was just not going to cut it jumping wise, and changed to a Waterford. It was going to go 1 of 2 ways...after
a 10 minute hack to the venue, Willo was very moist in the mouth, and was testing it out. I think he got a bit peeved at the fact that I could ‘get hold of him’ in it if needed, and just as Sharon asked us to go for a canter and warm up, Willo had a meltdown! 10 minutes of napping followed, and he performed his Lipizzaner type leaps, half reared, bucked and walked backwards, which was delightful! After pulling ourselves together, things eventually got under way! Bless him, he does like to have an opinion about everything!
After having 1 naughty stop with no excuses, Sharon said Willo was taking the mick, and I’d have to start riding more aggressively. Whilst I really admire a quiet rider, I think Willo does not tolerate a passenger and needs lots of leg and riding forward to get the best from him. This was a turning point, and from here on, he jumped every fence on the open
course with plenty of room to spare, and seemed to really enjoy himself. In fact on a number of occcasions he put in absolute flyers, and was jumping everything with real gusto. I wouldn't use the waterford all the time, but I did really like how it allowed me to be soft and give, and take a pull when I needed - unlike the hanging cheek which seemed to have no effect whatsoever. I think I'll continue to play but next time out I'll certainly try this; he became really light and changeable at time which was ace for combinations and more technical fences.
My favourite picture I have included below; we'd been playing in the water with different combinations of jumping in and out. Willo was quite happy about the whole thing, so we pushed him a bit more and took him to the largest drop in that we could find. He paused on the edge, seemingly in 2 minds as it was quite a way down, and then without warning took an enormous leap off the edge and landed halfway across! I slipped my reins and managed to sort myself out just time for him to jump out, but it did give us all a laugh. Thanks again to Martin for taking some very well timed photo's!
The rest of the week has been hacking, flatwork, and lunging with my new favourite toy- the equiami! More on that another time...