12 months ago our track system was barely an idea but now it is firmly established and even doubles successfully to provide turnout options for visiting horse as it did this weekend for the final camp weekend of the season. I had been a little nervous about offering a camp in September but the earlier one in July was so successful that many wanted another so we went for it and although with 10 days to go it was in a little doubt, due to numbers who could attend, at the last moment a couple more came forward and it was all systems go. Friday morning saw Niki coaching the early arrivals through a groundwork lesson culminating in Roxy donning harness and taking the first steps towards becoming a driving pony. Josh arrived at lunchtime along with the other campers and the afternoon was spent focusing on movement and anatomy before a trip over the road for an evening meal and then hot chocolate around the camp fire (the Pimms had been consumed earlier when the sun was still up). Saturday brought sunshine and blue skies again and the morning session brought an impromptu colt starting demo when Josh got to play with Niki’s lovely youngster Kudos. By the afternoon we were in the play field making use of the obstacles online and ridden preparing for trail riding. Josh left us on Saturday evening and on Sunday morning we boxed up and headed over to Ash to use the off road riding on yet another lovely morning. Almost 6 miles of grass tracks accompanied by Amber (Yasmine’s lab) mostly at a good walk, though Patrick threw some moves in the vertical direction a few times, and I think Jackie did her share of trotting and cantering due to the comparative length of Smokey’s legs. We may well repeat this format as it seemed to work really well – see you in 2016?
Our other major event since the last update was hosting another 3 day clinic with Dave Stuart in August. Yet again it surpassed all expectations and the learning and challenges kept coming throughout the weekend. After my physical restrictions of the previous 2 months a combination of (legal) drugs and regular physio sessions had me just about fit enough to take part – at least to a higher degree than I had managed up to that point during Dave’s UK stay. We have loads of homework to do over the next 10 months and the plan is to work on having my body in a better shape ready to make better use of the following 2.
And so we head into (even) cooler and wetter weather in the coming months with the challenges that it brings not just in keeping horses working but just managing land and property. One thing that the darker nights brings is a bit of time to catch up on neglected admin and to start planning for next year. Pencilled in already we hope that Dave will return, that Josh and Niki will repeat camp weekends and with a little luck we will get to host Fawn Anderson possibly in September. Contact Niki Hardwick to register your interest in that one. Tina Griffen is teaching on a regular basis over the coming months and we are happy to host other instructors subject to demand so do let me know who you’d like to see here and we’ll do our best to get them here.