Thursday, 29 September 2011

Interdressage out and about

Just had time to film this month's Interdressage entry today before the closing date tomorrow. We are entering the Happy Hacker class so I thought it would be appropriate to do the class out and about rather than in the school.......not that we've got a school anyway!

It is judged on "turnout- no need to plait (may use ‘high vis’ or traditional showing clothes), condition, manners, ability and performance, continuity of show and on the horse the judge would most like to ride on a long hack or pleasure ride"

Well we won't get much for turnout, they'll probably say he's too fat (good job they don't judge the rider's condition too!), his manners & performance are generally good (apart from reluctance to leave the horrible pony and trying to take off in canter at one point) and he's certainly the horse I'd most like to take out for a long hack.......

Shame I forgot to tighten his girth and the saddle slipped back when we went up the bank! Also shame none of the noisy vehicles going past (including a quad with a rattly trailer) ended up in shot......

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Our own TREC "Truc"

Having been to a couple of TREC competitions here in SW France and had a lot of fun, some friends and I decided to organise our own, nothing official, just to give our friends an idea of what it’s all about.

So what is it all about? Invented in France in the 70s, le TREC ('Technique de Randonnée Equestre de Competition') was designed to test how good a horse and rider are at going anywhere and doing anything. There are 3 elements to a competition, the POR (Parcours d’Orientation) which is basically orienteering on horseback, the Control of Paces, which involves cantering as slowly as possible over 150m, the slower you go, the more marks you get, if you drop into trot then you get no points, then walking as fast as possible back over the same distance, this time the faster you go, the more points you get. This bit is incredibly difficult, particularly as in France at least the 150m is not in a straight line and it’s a marked corridor 2 metres  wide, and if a hoof goes out of line, it’s no points again. The final element is the PTV (Parcours en Terrain Varié) or obstacle course. This involves 12 or 16 obstacles depending on the level you compete at, some ridden, some in hand, such as walking over a bridge or through water, under low branches, jumping a log, opening and closing a gate, mounting from the off side, in short, things you might encounter when out and about.

I can organise that, I thought, how hard can it be?

So after weeks of trudging round a 12km route for the orienteering checking that all the paths were passable, organising food, people to man checkpoints, printing maps, getting the obstacle course together and sorting out somewhere to put all the horses, we were ready to go.

All last week, it was warm and sunny. Saturday, the day of the TREC, it rained. Luckily I’d thought to laminate the maps, I had predrawn them to make things easier, in a proper competition you have to copy the map from a master copy before you set off on the ride. We had four teams, the first one went out at about 9.30. After they’d gone I realised that my checkpoint people were standing around drinking tea instead of getting out on the course so I had to chase them out sharpish.......

Then team two left 15 minutes later, one of them was on my horse, I didn’t realise at first that the dog had gone with them........I sent out the final two teams at 15 minute intervals, then set off in the car after the dog. Tracked the dog down, Team two were doing well, so I went back to base but never got there as on the way I found Team 4 going up the busy main road having misread the map. I escorted them back to the proper route before an impatient French driver could wipe them out, and decided it’d be a good idea to check where the rest of the teams were. Team 1 was steaming ahead and already at checkpoint 2, Teams 2 & 3 arrived together at the first checkpoint and stopped for coffee & biscuits, then I got a call from Team 4 who were lost again.

I went to find them and got them back on track, then had to go in search of Team 2 who had somehow managed to miss checkpoint 2 completely much to the consternation of the people manning it, but they managed to find checkpoint 3. By this time Team 1 had finished the ride, but there was no sign of Team 4 again. So I went to find them again and pointed out the route through the vines. I drove round the rest of the ride making sure the others were on track, then went back for Team 4 again who had gone the wrong way and ended up in a village 3km off the marked route. Teams 2 & 3 finished the ride, we waited for Team 4. Everyone else untacked the horses and went for an excellent lunch cooked by our hosts and all cheered when Team 4 eventually arrived back!

After lunch it was time for the PTV. It was raining again. The competitors had to start off on foot and negotiate a maze of poles on the floor, then mount from the off side with the horse preferably not moving out of the circle marked on the floor. There was a wooden bridge to cross, a couple of the horses were not happy with that, a log and brush jump to go over, a slope to ride up, a slalom and low branch (well, string of flags in this case), another circle marked on the floor for the horse to stand still in for 10 seconds (quite a few of them didn’t manage that) and a corridor of poles to ride through. Some of the obstacles like the corridor and the slalom get more points the faster you go, so there were horses and ponies bombing about all over the place.......

After that we did the COP, and it was very difficult, I think only a couple of people got any marks at all for that phase!

I totted up all the marks and dished out the rosettes and prizes, then we put the horses away and all retired for a drink and a barbecue.  It was a lot of fun but I don’t think I’ll be organizing more than one a year!!

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Fun day today, got up at stupid o' clock to get to Beaumont by 8.30 as we were first on the PTV course at 9.30. For once it started on time, Ali nearly missed her turn having been sent back to the stables as she'd forgotton to put her horse's boots on

G and I were first on the course, it was all going swimmingly until we got to the log that we had to go over in hand. I jump over it, land in the ditch on the other side that Isabelle had warned us about yesterday but I'd totally forgotten about, and go arse over tit and end up flat on my back looking up at a surprised horse still on the other side of the gotta laugh

Luckily for me Stewart wasn't there this time with his video camera but Isabelle reckons she got a photo.......

Finished the rest of the course no problems, he even jumped the two other obstacles with me on board.

Ches did a pretty good job of trashing one of the jumps, but wasn't too bad otherwise....

Ali had a great round on Karim, one of the school horses

and Caitlin did a lovely job with a very tricky TB.

After that the Maitrise des Allures where you have to canter one way as slowly as possible on a marked corridor of 150m and walk back as fast as possible the same distance.

I am dead chuffed we managed to stay in canter and actually got some points this time - if you drop out of canter or step out of the lines it's zero points

He wouldn't stay in walk on the way back though cos he wanted to get back to Ches so we didn't get anything for that.

Then everyone disappeared for aperos and lunch before it was time to saddle up again for the POR (orienteering) bit. The other members of my team weren't exactly queuing up to do the map bit so it was down to me and we set off in a nice bit of sunshine. Which quickly turned to rain. At one of the checkpoints the guy had an umbrella, pleased to say our horses were fine with this, unlike some of the other competitors!

We asked the chap with the umbrella to take a pic for us, as you can see, Cait's horse wasn't too keen on the others!

I put Gandalf's booties on for the ride as it's so stony round Beaumont, but it was like he wasn't wearing them, he still kept to the verges to avoid any stones and gravel. They stayed on though and after 14km hadn't rubbed him at all.

After all that we came.......second.

And on individual scores Ali & Cait got more points than us first time out.......

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Ride and run....

My husband ran the Médoc marathon on Saturday. Like you do. It's billed as the longest marathon in the world as you run through 24 chateaux, some of which sell wine for hundreds of euros a bottle, and you can taste the wine at each and every one. And most of the French leapt at the chance to taste the wine.....and to dress up in bizarre outfits.......especially involving posing pouches, apparently!

Mike went dressed as an English marathon runner, I did offer to make him some bunny ears, but he declined.

Anyway, the day after, he wanted to do a "recovery run", so he came out with us and the horsies.

He's the flourescent yellow dot on the horizon.......

Thursday, 8 September 2011

The girls are back!

Went to pick Sky and Kinna up from their summer holidays at Sarah's today. They loaded really well, were fine travelling and very calm coming out, could show missy Seraphina a thing or two about behaviour!!!

They started eating straight away, it's like they'd never left.....

They'll be here for a couple of weeks til we can get some new paddocks sorted out up where the others are. I love being able to go out the door and see them right here, I would love to be able to have all my horses at home all the time......