April 4th it rained and rained and rained some more plus it was freezing cold. ☃️☔️

Ann kindly fed the horses and that way I caught up on some much needed sleep. I thought I was fine, but when given the chance I dozed on and off all morning. Around 11:00 a.m., I headed to the barn to see what was up with the weather there…it was raining still. So we put the horses on the hot walker.

Woody has been on them before (including this one) so I put him on first. Ann took Snow
in next and he was a pro. He looked a little anxious at first before we turned it on, but once it started moving he was all business. Woody, on the other hand, turned around the wrong way while we were loading Snow. Then he was waking like a giraffe right up against the partition with his chest (as his head was in the rafters somewhere). So I turned the speed up to six and it gave him a little more space and work too. They were on there for 20 mins while we cleaned the barn and planned our day. When we went back to take them off both of them looked at ease.

Since it was clearly going to be a horrible day I decided to be a fair weather rider. I wouldn’t normally do this except we had ridden them the day before so I didn’t have to feel guilty (as I had planned that to be a day off after travel).

Snow and woody in the hotwalker.

Snow and woody in the hotwalker.

Off we went to the bank and to find a rubbish bin for the barn. On the way back we stopped in at a local pub and met a character named Nigel. He told us about a great place to eat near Badminton. We turned the horses out for an hour or so on the afternoon. It was still raining!

April 5th I felt like a whole new person ready to rock and the rain had stopped. It was still pretty chilly so we turned the horses out first and did their stalls. We went into Ann’s lovely apartment which is on site and had a cup of tea while catching up online.

I asked Jess what I could do to help so I went and picked rocks off the gallop. I believe they plan on resurfacing it soon. It’s an all weather gallop track about 3.5-4 kms total, two mins of that being uphill. It’s made of chewed up bit of rubber with a special sand base underneath. It’s so fantastic that people ship in to use it as well as some race horses that hack over to use it sometimes. For the first hour of doing that I stayed crouched knees bent, dragging my little skip bucket around with me chucking rocks into it. For the next 45 mins I decided to bend over and stretch my ham strings while picking rocks. I felt pretty good, but could only do it for that long before I started to realize there was no comfy way of continuing. While I was out there a few different people went by. One eventer who started spoiling at the four wheeler parked on the side, then my skip and finally me. After he passed me once the rest of the time he was fine. Then a young race horse who needed kicking past the quad and then was ok past the skip and myself. The jockey was very funny. He said “Have you been naughty?” I replied “No, I’ve just volunteered for the job that no one wants.” He then proceeded to tell me (as he was passing) “when I was apprenticing I got sent out to do that job when I was bad.”

So I hope it earned me some brownie points with Mark’s crew. 😊

Wanting to catch the best weather, we then caught the boys and started tacking up. We took them for a nice walk around the xc field to start, then across the gallop to the field that leads you down to the bottom of the gallop. Instead of turning left onto the gallop we turned right and trotted up the hill on grass that we had asked them up on Tuesday. Both horses loved it as did we. Off we went to the ring and I practiced in front of the mirrors a bit while Ann schooled Snow’s trot transitions. Woody felt a little flat, I suspect he was still feeling his long journey from Florida. We practiced transitions without dumping the front end as well as canter pirouettes to flying changes before finishing with square halts from canter. He was a very good boy. ❤️🐴

I was coaching Ann a little while I walked around on Woody. She was having a fabulous ride! Snow did the best canter work he’s ever done. Totally smooth and rhythmical. It’s so fun to watch the two of them figure each other out and progress. It looks like they’re both smiling. 😁 After we groomed them it was time for the walker again. Such a useful machine for so many different reasons. They looked very pleased with themselves and satisfied when we tucked them in for the night.

Mark’s crew are taking some of his horses to an event on Saturday so I’m going to help in the barns as they will be short staffed and then I think I get to ride Leo. 🤩 Eeeek!