As I mentioned in my previous diary instalment, I was lucky enough to be able to take Cosmos Du Figuere, my young 5 year old, ⅞ bred Selle Francais gelding with me, when I went to Piggy French’s yard.

Piggy drummed into me the importance of getting the basics right and with Cosmos we worked on maintaining the correct rhythm in all three paces in both our flatwork and jumping and if he made a mistake in training to let him learn from it.  Besides doing lots of exercises and gymnastic work to improve his ride ability, we also mimicked a competition scene, where I literally warmed up over a couple of single fences and then jumped around the whole course, focusing very much of being in competition mode, which was beneficial for myself and Cosmos, as we haven’t been to any competitions to put us under that sort of pressure.

On the flatwork we started to ask him to ‘sit’ on his hind legs in canter and then moving up a few gears, to come up in his frame a little more and then stretch his frame, whilst maintaining his balance.

He also benefitted from playing over some logs in a slopping field, with lots of jumping from trot, whilst staying in balance before moving into canter and jumping over a few hedges, that encouraged him to be brave, this was also a good way of educating him outside of the confines of the arena.  Although it was quite an intense few weeks for him, I know he has grown up so much from the experience and over the winter will continue to work on his development.

Last Touch and Well Foxed came back in from their holiday at the beginning of December and were enthusiastic to be ridden, which involved 1 month of roadwork before we start doing any trotting, at this stage they were still hairy and fluffy and the plan was not to clip them until they started to sweat a little.  Cooley Enno, Abacus and Langton, the dun 4 year old will all come back into work between Christmas and the New Year, all with different plans and targets for the upcoming eventing season.

With the event horses on holiday it enabled me to take in a few schooling liveries for a number of clients and also enabled me to do some teaching, in particular with the owner of Rebels Skytime, Hilary Ponti, who I have been riding this lovely mare for to give her more experience before handing the reins back to Hilary and it has been very satisfying to see them start to build a partnership together.

During these quieter couple of months, it has also given me time to work with Paul Newman of Klick Design Ltd (www.klickdesign.co.uk) who is building and designing my new website and logo that will be launched at my Open Day I am holding in February, which will give me a chance to showcase ‘Team Bacon’ and my plans for the 2018  eventing season to existing owners, prospective owners and sponsors.