Sunday, 14 August 2016

Akehurst Ambrose Winning 'Dressage & Trec Pony'

I'm loving Native Pony Camp. With my huge stable and what seems to be an unlimited supply of hay - heaven. Well this morning I had a go at Inhand dressage as part of the Native Pony Trec competition. Mum had to learn where we were going and I had to behave. In the warm up I practiced trying to fly. I've been living next to an Andulsian Horse who has been explaining some exciting Spanish moves, so I thought I'd add them into the program, but Mum made it quite clear they were not required, which was a shame because I thought I was doing quite well. 

I had fun strutting my stuff and was very well behaved and listened to Mum.  I think my brother has some serious competition. I got 83% for my first ever dressage test - Cyril be scared, you have never got in the 80's!  I'm going to be awesome when Mum decides to ride me. Do you like my pointy toes?

From dressage we went straight into the Trec field. I managed to trot 3/4's of the trot track before I got too excited and just had to canter, so no points. On the way back I knew I had to walk quickly, I didn't think the judge would notice some small trots, but they did so I didn't get any points for my control of paces. Then the obstacle course. First the barrels, that was easy. 

Then my total favourite the showjump.  Come on Mum keep up. I jumped it clear on a long stride, super easy. 

Next the S bend. This is trickier than it looks we did it the best we ever have and I did try and listen to Mum but sometimes my feet have their own ideas and we did knock the poles a couple of times, but Mum was pleased with my effort. 

Bridge, what bridge? This was an easy 10 marks. I got a bit excited through the trot corridor and ended up cantering again. So Mum tried to calm me down by walking through the bending poles.  I was busy looking at my pony friends in the next field as this was very easy. 

All my pony play days and Trec clear round competitions have paid off and I didn't even notice the tarpaulin as I trotted along with Mum. We even managed synchronised legs!

Stationary for 10 seconds was a bit tricky because the grass was nicer outside the roped area, so I only managed to resist for 6 seconds, instead of the required 10. Hey I'm a Dales pony and trained to eat the best grass first. 

We then did rein back but this is easy and again I was more interested in what the ponies were doing in the next field. The next task was the low hanging branches.  I wasn't so sure about this and put on emergency brakes before Mum persuaded that it would be OK, so I decided to really duck, well it would be silly to have hit my head! 

The last obstacle was called the scary corner, which really isn't scary, people should come live at our house, with chickens, crazy dog, umbrellas, seaside windmill things to name just a few things we have to put up with every day. 

Well all my hard work paid off and I won the Inhand Trec Competiton. Just don't tell anyone I was the only entry. If anyone asks, I was against tough Competiton - well it's very hard to beat invisible opponents!  Mum was super proud, not bad for a two year old. Move over brother, I'm a Competiton winning pony too. 

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Akehurst Ambrose 'Show Pony'

Morning Mum, did you sleep well? I have been very well behaved, did you bring me more hay because I have eaten all mine? Thank goodness you have, yummy I can tuck in. Oh sorry was I supposed to have said I had missed you?

I got to see my brother Brian today, he came to camp.  Mum went to collect him from his home.  We have to be related because he likes his hay as much as I do. Brian is two years older than me, but I think I'm nearly as big as him, maybe?

Today was practicing at being a show pony. Mum gave me to Aunty Lois for my in hand lesson as Mum didn't want to let me down and Lois has done LOTS of showing. We had a master class from Matthew Lawrence, he's amazing, he takes lots of ponies to HOYS. I don't know what that is but everyone says it in hushed reverent tones, so I'm guessing it's pretty amazing. 

Mum introduced me to Matthew and said I wouldn't be a show pony because I am Section B, but Matthew says Section B Dales ponies have made it to HOYS. So I decided I had better go out and try and impress everyone and then maybe I could go to this magical place too. 

I was taught I have to be brave and stand in my own space, I'm not allowed to hide behind Mum. 

Yeah I think I got the hang of that. It was a very busy arena, there were three of us in hand and two other ponies being ridden around us too. 

This did get a bit exciting. 

But I got the hang of them running around and then I was foot perfect. 

I was soooo well behaved that Mum let me go into the Trec paddock afterwards and have a good munch on some very yummy grass. 

After that I was allowed to relax in my stable and eat more hay. Mum refreshed my hay net before she headed off for the evening. I like it here, lots to eat and fun things to do. Wonder if I could make it to HOYS?

Friday, 12 August 2016

My first night away from home

Cyril's been so busy this summer that I had given up hope of doing anything fun. But last minute Cyril tweaked his back carrying Mum sideways and Mum decided little 2 year old me could go to Native Pony Camp, instead of my big 7 year old brother. Yipheeee!

I soon discovered this camp must be serious stuff because I found myself having a full scale bath, just don't get the water in my eyes Mum. 

Then I knew it was REALLY serious when mum let me wear one of Cyril's rugs. I think it fits rather nicely, I wonder if I can keep it?

Needless to say I had to practice posing for the obligatory photographs.  I think I look all grown up, no one would ever guess I was only 2 years old. I think it hides my tummy quite well too. 

I can't remember the last time I was allowed out in the trailer on my own and left Cyril behind. I walked straight in of course, wow I have never seen so much hay, I'm going to love this journey! So I tucked into the yummy hay straight away, well there is no point letting it go to waste. Oh, should I have waited for my photo first? Mum's caught me mid munch, well I'm a Dales so nobody is going to worry about that. 

When we arrived Mum left me in the trailer quite happily munching on hay while she went to find out which was my bedroom. Wow it's massive I could hold my own pony party in this bedroom. 

I think Mum did quite a good job, reckon I've scrubbed up ok, though I might get her to give my white socks another wash tomorrow. 

No peace for the wicked though, there was me thinking camp was a pyjama party, lots of food and just chilling. Oh no, Mum marched us off to have a look at the Trec field. This is exciting, look lots of other ponies to look at, can I go say hello Mum?  I guess not, but I don't really understand what you want me to do with my feet and these wooden poles. Oh look yummy grass. Oh I can't eat that either. Gosh this could be hard work. 

Oh Mum, look, look, a show jump lets go jump that, come on hurry up, whophee, love jumping. Oh high heel kicks of excitement aren't allowed either. No wonder Cyril pulled a sicky, this could be quite difficult. Actually it's ok, the scary corner is sooooo not scary. Tarpaulin, what tarpaulin, oh the stuff blowing in the wind under my feet, next to the very yummy grass. Carpet check, log check, bending poles check, more yummy grass - what I'm STILL not allowed? Wooden bridge easy - oh look Mum it really does need weeding, surely I'm allowed to help with that?

Finally I'm allowed to eat some of the yummy grass while Mum chats to some of the humans - hurrah!  After quite a bit of munching on some top quality yummy grass, maybe this camp stuff might not be so bad after all, I head back to my bedroom for a rest. Well and to chew Mums favourite (expensive) gloves, opps might have left a few too many holes in them then!  Best get back to eating my hay. 

Oh are you going now Mum? What you are leaving me here on my own? Without you or Cyril? Oh ok then, I have my tea and plenty to watch. Night, night Mum, say hi to Cyril and I'll see you in the morning. 

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Somethings are just not meant to be

Humans could learn a lot from us Dales ponies. We just get on with whatever task is given to us and generally we do this quiet happily. Humans do seem to get upset about things. Take all this EU stuff, no one asked us ponies and we have been around a long time, shaping the future of this great nation. Did we get upset about not being asked? No of course we didn't. Did we help the humans in this big decision, of course we did. 

This is one of my relatives, Aunty Lakin, (short for LadyKin) she kindly took her human, Lois, to vote. I'm sure she would have provided some sound advice too. She used to be a nurse in Romeo and Juliet, I'm sure that's what her human said. 

Me, I took my Mum showjumping to distract her from worrying about the result. 

Ok so some humans are celebrating and others aren't so sure. Let me tell you this, us Dales ponies will help out as we have always done. Whether it's mining, working on the farms or going to war (though personally I'm a pacifist so I'm hoping it does come down to war) You can rely on us to keep Britain great. 

Though I might need Aunty Nurse Lakin to take a look at my poorly face before I can help with the morale boosting effort. 

Mum's not so happy with me. Today was going to be THE day. When I say THE day, I mean THE day I was to do my first ever one day event. This is something Mum has been training me for, for the last four years. It's been her dream. So you can imagine how pleased she was having worked into the night cleaning two saddles and numerous outfit changes (it was also to be our first public side saddle appearance) and then getting up at silly o clock this morning to complete final preparations. Only to find me with a lopsided grin. 

Mum, it's a hard lesson but some things are just not meant to be. The vet says I'll live (if I survive my mothers scorn) and don't worry pony friends, I still managed to eat my breakfast in record time and munch the soaked hay Mum had prepared for the journey. 

Let's hope Dales ponies now we are out of the EU, they will stop importing all these fancy horse types and get back to buying British!  Native ponies rule and Dales ponies are what makes Britain Great. 

Please note my patriotic red and white England rug. 


Monday, 20 June 2016

How Champion am I?

Mum has been keen that I get out and about and do LOTS of other activities as well as my competing at my core discipline of dressage, so I don't get bored.  What Mum didn't figure on is I'm brilliant at everything, well OK we are still working on jumping.

We have been doing very well at dressage and so far this year having already competed at the NPS Dressage Championships, I am now qualified for British Dressage Native Pony Championships at Prelim and Novice, Petplan Area Championships at Novice and Midway Dressage Championships, also at Novice.

Well on top of all this I went with my Highland pony friend, Iona, to do a 'fun' pairs Level 1 Trec competition.  Mum and I have never done a full Trec, we go and dabble with the control of paces and fun obstacle courses.  It was agreed all round that we would just do it for fun.  It's been part of a secret deal as Iona has agreed to do riding club pairs dressage with us (its top secret, practice is ongoing - as long as Iona's poorly paw gets better soon - we made it a bit sore doing Trec).

Anyway we met at Bibury.  The first bit I love, you have to canter as slowly as possible, I so have this licked I can practically canter backwards, so I get a maximum 30 marks.  The downside is we are supposed to walk back as fast as we can and while my little legs and short stride help loads with the canter they are useless for the walk back and we only got 1 mark.  Iona pony is slightly faster cantering but her little legs are quite speedy coming home!

Next was the obstacles.  Some are really easy, like opening the gate without Mum letting go and cantering the clover leaf, though Mum and I absolutely love cantering the bending poles, definitely our favourite exercise.  I'm still finding jumping strange jumps I have never met before a bit more daunting and I do like to stop and have a look first, though Mum has me out and about practising this, so hopefully I will get braver at that.  Iona had to contend with a horse and rider who didn't know the rules about letting a better (Iona pony) go past when she got caught up.  This threw Iona out a little but she was still oresome and scored lots more points than me, but she does have a lot more experience and doesn't find jumps scary.

We got a little rest before we set out on our 'hack'.  This meant the humans had to read a map, Mum made us go round in circles, so next time I think Iona's human should take control of that element.  We had to kick on as the times were between 7-8kph and I know from my Endurance pony training earlier in the week that you need to keep moving, especially if you need lots of pee stops like I do!  Sorry no pictures of the lovely poppy fields we passed as Mum had to keep her mobile turned off so we didn't cheat - we don't need to cheat, we are just fabulous as we are.

The humans seemed pleased and we all had a good time.  I didn't think anymore of it as I had promised to accompany my horse friend Lara out on a fun ride the next day, so I was keen to get my head down and have a rest.

This was on our renamed fun 'gallop'. 

Well Mum has just turned up and told me that Iona pony and I have come 3rd and qualified for the Level 1 Trec pairs National Championships - can you believe it.  I'll have to consult my diary and see if I have time to fit another Championships in.  Hopefully I will get to add some more pretty rosettes to my Championship wall.  I've got a day off today, so I had better go eat and rest, goodness knows what Mum will be having me do tomorrow!

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Me and my new friend Charlotte Dujardin

Cyril here, I have finally found Woody's hiding place for my iPad he stole off of me. Honestly brothers, nothing is sacred!

I've been super busy doing lots and lots of different things from learning to carry Mum sideways while she is playing in fancy dress, showjumping, cross country, endurance training, tent pegging, and of course my core skill of dressage. 

Now while humans lust after the opportunity to ride Valegro, us ponies we are more in awe of the humans who ride them. Can you just imagine how amazing it would be to be ridden by the top human professionals who actually know how to ask correctly for a right hand canter transition!

Well last weekend my most wildest dreams came true and I got to meet one of the ultimate human dressage professionals - Charlotte Dujardin. Rumours were rife when we arrived that she would be there and this was substantiated when we spotted her 'gold' lorry parked next to us. 

Well that was it I just had to meet her. Mum said if I behaved and did a good test she would ask Charlotte to come and say hello to me. Right that was it, I needed to buckle down and put my best ever performance in - well Charlotte might be watching and I wanted to impress her and show her how wonderful us Dales ponies are. 

I've just started doing Novice BD tests and to ensure a good level of impulsion Mum has taken to wearing spurs, humph. Fortunately we were at one of my favourite venues, Summerhouse, it was a long arena test and one of the things I'm really good at is a straight line, so I bagged an 8 straight away. Mum seemed to be having fun so we both relaxed and strutted our stuff, I made sure I gave Mum correct canter leads whatever she asked - couldn't be seen to be doing anything other than correct manoeuvres with Charlotte watching!  

Mission successful, my best ever Novice dressage test coming first in my section and third overall. Mum was thrilled as we had matching rosettes to Charlotte. 

Well come on then Mum, I held up my side of the bargain. So true to her word she found Charlotte out and asked if I could have my photo taken with her. I played it very cool and pretended I met my idol every day of the week.  I even got a hug. The humans were both super pleased to have their photo taken with me, look at them grinning. 

Don't tell Mum but I have put a copy of the picture up in our field shelter, so I can go sleep each night looking at Charlotte and imaging how amazing it would be to have her in the driving seat - one day maybe.  I'm sure I'll bump into my new best friend again and hopefully I can persuade her I'm worth taking for a test drive. 

Figure I need to move up the levels now, so off to practice my piaffe so I'm ready for PSG, if Mum ever develops enough skills to learn to ride me at that level that is, but need to be ready for when Charlotte asks. Take care pony friends, sorry no autographs!

Monday, 13 June 2016

Birthday party with balloons

Woody here, Cyril and I had our birthdays last week and Mum promised me I could go to my own party.  I even got balloons. I'm two years old now.  

It was great fun, I got to play with lots of toys and we played hide and seek. 

I'm not too sure what Mum was doing hiding behind the plastic, she looked very silly.  I think she thought I couldn't see her, but of course I could! 

I then tried to hide behind the washing. Peek a boo Mum. 

I was hoping for a birthday cake, so I tried eating everything in case something was cleverly disguised as cake!  

Nope the washing wasn't cake. Maybe it's hidden under the sack?

Or in the box?

Maybe they put it in the dustbin by mistake?

Never did find the cake, but I had a great time looking. I'm hoping I can go to another pony party again soon, maybe with some more friends this time. My friend Sunny the cob arrived a little late, by which time I had to go home, so I left Sunny exploring all the toys.  I wonder if he found the cake?

Here's hoping I don't have to wait until I am three before I get to go to another party. See you all soon pony friends, in the meantime, eat cake!