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A New Year, A New Start? by Kelly Goddard

How many of us wait until January 1st to begin our new horsey training regime? I have to admit, here at Lofthouse Equestrian, not a year goes by without, 'Let's just get Christmas out of the way and then we'll really move them on'. We start the New Year with ever increasing optimism and energy.... as long as it falls on a Monday... You can't start anything until Monday. So, this year, the first of January was a Monday and as ever we stuck to our promise.

 A new year has arrived and the possibilities are endless!

Our youngest horse, 'Crunchie' was as un-enthusiastic as ever. Having had a small holiday due to the fact that he had outgrown his saddle, he waddled out of the stable and into the indoor school. Sam, struggling to zip up her Petrie boots, clambered on board. It was fair to say, that none of us are in peak physical fitness, but for dressage folk like us, the Regional Championships are fast approaching and this needs to change - fast!

 Lazy horses

Now, we are very lucky and have the privilege of riding in an indoor school. Well, I say privilege - we livery with 70 other horses and so school space is at a premium, but nevertheless, an indoor school is pure luxury when it's blowing a gale and pouring down with rain at 6pm on a winter's evening. Asking Crunchie to walk on, Sam took a deep breath and prepared herself for the test of her physical fitness that was to come. Crunchie is one of the laziest of horses you'll ever meet. If he doesn't want to work, he won't. He'll plant all four feet and not move. Clive, our trainer, has literally chased him across the school with a pooper scooper before today. We bought him as a 5 month old foal from a Brightwells Dressage sale in 2008. We had only gone to watch and to get a feel for horses with top class dressage breeding, but it was during the 'Credit Crunch' and horses were cheap - hence the name 'Credit Crunch-ie'. We should have known he was going to be 'a character' as on the journey home, he escaped from the back of the wagon and ended up in the living!

 Brightwells Auction

So back to the first real schooling session of the new year and Sam began to warm up the lazy, 'Thelwell' looking, Dutch Warmblood. As I'm sure you are well aware, rising trot is not easy when you are carrying a few extra Christmas pounds - not to mention the unfit horse underneath you! That is, until a 9 year old pony clubber begins to jump her pony in the same, rain-free, indoor school. It's funny how the fat, lazy, hairy thelwell pony suddenly turns into a wannabe Valegro!

 

New years resolution number 1 - Get back to the gym and work on core strength!

Resolution 2 - Investigate magnesium calmers!

Let's hope that our schooling regime goes a little better next week!

 

Kelly x