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New blog post Natalie Povey

June has been a bit of a mixed month as we said goodbye to Elton who was sold at the beginning of the month, but has also come with an exciting start of a new chapter as a new member has joined my team.

I was very lucky to be contacted by the Stud who bred my old mare who I competed up to international 3* level both at home and abroad with much success on the national competition circuit in the seven years we owned her. They contacted me asking if I knew of a para rider looking for a 14.2hh with very good paces with an especially big over tracking walk – very important for a Grade 1b para rider as quite a lot of my dressage tests are in walk. She was a half sister to my old international mare by the same sire Fulton, a breeding line that I am quite fond of knowing quite a few of him progeny. She sounded perfect for me as I had planned to down size to 14.2-15.1hh and was described as being very laid back with a calm outlook on life which is also important to me – she sounded just like my old mare who suited me perfectly, she almost sounded to good to be true but I knew her owners were very honest and lovely people. She hadn’t done a great deal in the way of going out and about as she had only ever been to two shows their daughter wasn’t interested in competing but that was unimportant if she ticked the rest of the boxes on my checklist. I just had one slight problem that I couldn’t afford to buy her until Elton had found a new home which I knew was going to take time as I received the email from the Stud in March – it was by complete coincidence that the Stud emailed me not long after I had advertised Elton for sale. So I wrote back to them expressing my interest and explained my position but wasn’t expecting what was to happen next as although I couldn’t afford to buy her at that time the owners offered for me to go and try her, with an offer that I couldn’t refuse of keeping her for me until Elton was sold – they are lovely people and so generous as I know she would have been snapped up should they have advertised her as she was a dream pony – a horse in a pony package with the kindest of hearts and lovely paces, something which is so difficult to find. So I arranged a day and went along to try her – I will be honest and say I was quite nervous as the mare hadn’t been in much work and there wasn’t a rider to show me her so I just had to jump straight on and not to help matters it was blowing a gale and raining outside – we were lucky they had an indoor school for me to try her although you could still hear the wind howling. My first impression was that she had a fantastic unflappable temperament with a para rider with completely different aids getting straight on her as well as not being ridden with a whip before so it was all new to her – she was foot perfect consider she hadn’t been ridden or worked for quite a while. On first attempt I had walk and trot directly off my aids which where completely new to her, she just tried so hard to understand, and wanted to help and please. She ticked so many of the boxes on my checklist of what I would like as my dream horse with temperament and paces being on top of the list. After trying her the owners of the stud very kindly offered that they would keep her for me as her home was so important to them as they owned her from a foal and she was their daughters pony. It was so generous of them and I will never forget their kindness.

So this month we welcomed Caecolley Fulltide to the team. She is an 11 year old, 14.2hh, liver chestnut, Welsh x Warmblood mare. She has had time this month to adjust to her new home and routine as she was at the stud for so long – she soon made herself at home and is very settled already. I have spent a lot of time with her bonding on the floor and getting to know her as for the first couple of weeks we hadn’t got a saddle to fit her, she has the most honest, gentle and genuine temperament – I am able to lead her from the field and she just follows me, groom her myself and put her boots and bandage on so I can be more independent although still require assistance with some of the more difficult tasks due to my disability but I am enjoying doing as much as possible.

Towards the end of the month a lovely friend who is also based at the livery yard where I keep Fulltide borrowed me her saddle that she wasn’t using which was a good fit until I could get another saddle sorted out. So we cracked on with some ridden work as well as lungeing her to help develop her fitness. We took to each other straight away and she was foot perfect even though she was a little unsure of the mirrors. Before putting our head down to some training next month I have spent time getting to know Fulltide and developing our partnership and trust. She is a fantastic mare I feel like I have been riding her so much longer; she really looks after me and tries her hardest – she has already made a big impression.

Latest Blog from Para Dressage Rider Natalie Povey

Hi All,

This month has been split between viewings and training. Elton has made huge progress in his training and is much straighter in his work, so we have started to introduce lateral work to develop his suppleness as well as giving him more to think about. At first the lady who rides Elton for me, Helen, taught him what the moving sideways was all about and taught him to move away from the leg as well as positioning her shoulders and seat so Elton would understand what I was asking when I am schooling as I wouldn’t be able to give him the leg aids, Elton picks things up quite quickly and is trying very hard to understand. The lateral movements that we have been focusing on are leg yielding and shoulder-in. Elton has been working very well, and has picked shoulder-in and leg yielding up. We have also been working on the impulsion and keeping the impulsion through movements, turns and corners. We have also continued our work from last month on developing his trot towards a medium trot when asked, I have done this by doing lots of ‘on and back’ transitions when working large and across the diagonals, gradually increasing the distance he is expected to keep the bigger trot, this is also helping to develop his working trot. Our next step will be to work on achieving smoother transitions both from one pace to another as well as within the pace. I have also been working on Elton’s freewalk and gradually he is gaining more confidence to take the rein down and forward to give a greater stretch, although we still need to work on keeping the impulsion in the walk.

Now the weather is getting better I have been regularly hacking Elton down our off road track and around the field a couple of times a week which he loves, it gives him a change from schooling and also allows him to see the world a little. I often do this to cool down after a schooling session.

Elton has also enjoyed a little bit of jumping this month with a few of the people that have come to try him and enjoyed himself, although hasn’t found a suitable home.

My next aim will be aiming for the qualifiers for the 2017 Para Dressage Winter Championships, once the dates are published as we weren’t quite ready for the qualifiers for this years Championships. I would rather the horse be comfortable in its work than rushing and making costly mistakes, after all the horse future has to come first.

Latest Blog from Para Dressage Rider Natalie Povey

 

My thanks to Amy Pottinger for these photos of Upsalls Elton. I’m going to share them throughout this blog as they are so lovely!

Last month was been fairly busy for Elton. He was visited by our equine dentist for a routine 6 month check up and routine work which went well. Elton also had his first clip since he has been with me, I decided to have him fully clipped but left his legs on for extra protection – he was a complete super star and stood very still, I think he quite enjoyed being clipped.

Later in the month our saddler visited to check if Elton had changed shape since her last visit as his custom made Harry Dabbs saddle is currently being made – he had changed shape quite a bit so Katie took a new template.

We have also been on our first two outings together which was a learning curve for both of us but in a good way as it is all about preparing Elton for what is to come as I have high hopes for him.

Our first outing was to a competition which we just used as experience so we could learn from each other – it is always daunting taking a new horse out as you never know how they will react to their new surroundings especially as a baby who is only just learning about life as a competition horse. He was a very good boy for our first outing together, considering he’s only 5 and still has lots to learn. He travelled very well on his own in the trailer and stood patiently to be tacked up – I was very pleased with his grown up attitude. There is more on this in my last blog.

Elton’s second outing was to a development training day which was held by Nicola Tustain MBEat Clwyd Special Riding Centre. I booked him a stable at the venue as I thought he might get a little impatient waiting in the trailer on his own – he likes to see where he is, very nosy! First I had a pyhsio session so Elton chilled in his stable tucking straight into his haynet which is good to know for the future when we stay away at competitions. In my physio session I worked on exercises to help my position and effectiveness of my aids which is even more important when riding a young horse so they understand what the rider is asking. After my physio session I headed down to the stables where Elton was already being tacked up so we were ready to head up to the indoor school for our training session with Nicola Tustain MBE. He worked very well during our lesson as he was very nervous to start and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, lots of homework to do over the next few months before the competition season starts again next year.

I hope you enjoyed the foal photos!

Nat x

The latest from Para Dressage rider Natalie Povey

On Sunday we took Elton to our first competition, he was a very good boy for our first outing together, considering he’s only 5 and still has lots to learn. He travelled very well on his own in the trailer and stood patiently to be tacked up. I decided to get on him in the car park and hack him to the warm up so I could get a feel to how he was feeling. As we approached the warm up he was a little tense wondering where he was going but soon settled and warmed up fantastically for his first time considering he was rather nervous but he was very focused on what I was asking him and tried his hardest.

He found the main arena very scary and froze on entering the arena where we were going to be doing our test but with a little reassurance took steps towards the very scary red car where the judge was sitting (for some reason he hates red cars, trailers etc.). I walked him around the arena scratching his shoulder so he knew everything was okay and he started to relax a little but still found it all a little much to take in. During both our tests he listened very well and did everything I asked of him but found it all very scary with white boards, the red car and banners so we had a few spooks and he was very nervous but tried his best. So he did well to score 62.59% and 64.80%. Onward and upwards for his future and the more experience he gets the better he will become, its all a learning curve for him but I was very impressed with his overall outlook as he still listened and tried his hardest in a scary new environment.

On Wednesday, we took Elton to a development training day which was held by Nicola Tustain Mbeat Clwyd Special Riding Centre. First I had a pyhsio session where I worked on exercise to help my position and effectiveness of my aids. Then we had a training session with Nicola Tustain MBE in the indoor school.

We gave Elton a little time before my lesson so he could settle to his new surroundings before our training session, we worked on our straightness, halts and keeping him forward as he was a little lazy. He worked very well during our lesson as he was very nervous to start and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, lots of homework to do.

Best wishes,

Nat