On Sunday 22nd February, after a painfully early alarm call, we all reached the yard and thankfully found our ponies relatively stain free and still plaited up. After quickly mucking out we loaded in the dark and headed off to Keysoe with high spirits. Despite getting lost twice (thanks to mum’s broken sat nav!!) we arrived in one piece, unloaded and checked in.
We then (with the help of the fantastic Liz Ennis) cleaned off any stray specs of dirt and tacked up. Liz did an amazing job helping us to spruce up the ponies and Maddy’s pony Archie’s tail looked amazing. We were all due to ride our tests in Arena 5 so made our way over together and warmed up. Again Liz was amazing and shouted out encouragement and a few last minute tips on how to get the ponies going nicely (and settle our nerves!) She was a great mentor and support for all of us.
Our team was down to 3 riders after an injury (fortunately not too serious) had meant Maddie Price had been forced to withdraw from the team earlier in the week. Becky Pick and Star were first up with the only novice test for the team. Star took it all in her stride and aced her test which set the pace for the rest of the team. Next up was Lucky (aka Codie) and myself. Codie had been eyeing up some X Country Jumps which were being used to separate the warm up from the arenas but luckily remembered he was wearing his white numnah and settled down to complete a very nice prelim test. Finally it was the turn of Maddy and Archie. Both were feeling a bit apprehensive but very excited as this was their first dressage test at a competition. They both acted like real pro’s and performed a great test.
Relieved the riding bit was now over we all headed back to the trailers to untack, wait and eat breakfast. Leaving the ponies to tuck into their hay nets, we set off in search of food and hopefully positive dressage sheets!
After eating large quantities of cheesy chips and bacon butties we looked over the photos which had been taken and then gathered for a group photo. The organisers had explained that the results would not be in until late morning so Liz very kindly offered to ring the results through to us so we could head home.
As we drove back (again taking another small detour!!) the call came through from Liz. We were heading home in ribbons with a team 5th plus an individual 3rd for me and a 6th for Maddy. This was fantastic news and teamed with the great comments we all received from the judges made the perfect end to a great day.
Franklin Clinic with Claire Llewelyn-Sun 8th March 2020
Franklin Balls were developed in Germany by Dr Eric Franklin, originally to help sports people but they have now been developed to help Equestrians. I have attended a course to learn how these work and am now trained in their use. The balls are different sizes and shapes, either filled with air or water, which are used in different ways, for example under seat bones, thighs and armpits to help riders develop their balance, core strength, straightness and suppleness. They help identify areas riders need to work on, and also really show how the rider influences the horse’s way of going. We have found that horses become more forward, relaxed and straighter and riders become more ‘bodily aware’. It’s absolutely ...