Here we introduce our first Blog of the year from Bella Innes Ker. Bella (Roxburghe Eventing) has just set up her own yard and is currently getting ready for what so many people are hoping for, a busy eventing season. Here she tells us what she has been up to, and how she is preparing her horses.
Hi everyone, I hope you are all keeping well and with restrictions slowly being eased, beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel from what has been very difficult and uncertain time for us all.
For my first Bedmax blog I thought it would be appropriate to write a little bit about my team of horses, what I’ve been up to the last month and how I am gearing up for my busy Eventing season to start! I currently have 10 horses in work ranging from 4 year old to 4* Event horses at my new yard, in South Dorset. I personally love having a variety of horses at different ages and stages of training. I feel I am constantly educating them individually with new exercises, and training programmes depending on their competition schedule. Every day is different and definitely never boring! However, this does mean I am always frantically busy with taking horses training to different venues on multiple trips, to educate them in all 3 disciplines.
The yard I am now based at is absolutely stunning and I am looking to add a few more horses to my slowly growing string. I am very fortunate to have unbelievable off-road hacking around the estate, lovely big outdoor arena, small xc field, gallops 10 minute drive away and humongous fields for grazing. I feel incredibly lucky to be based on Melbury Estate, and I am really enjoying producing my horses from this fantastic setup.
I always find the winter a hard few months to get motivated, with the endless amount of hacking and fitness work that is normally done in the pouring rain or snow!! But there is always a turning point where it all feels worthwhile, when the horses summer coats begin to come in, and those winter tummies begin to tighten up as you start to increase their work in the school and they feel fit and strong ready for the more exciting work to take place. As part of my winter training, once the basic fitness is established from the hacking, I always make sure I do a lot of pole exercises and little grids in the school – to get the horses thinking for themselves and concentrating on their own foot work. I tend not to interfere too much, as I think it is really important the horse doesn’t have their hand held all the time and the grids allow them to think for themselves. If they make mistakes it doesn’t matter you can come and do it again.
I feel very fortunate that I have been able to start training in March under the Elite rider status. I had great fun loading three horses up on our first lorry trip to some show jumping training (see video below). It gave me a huge boost mentally to get out and put the last few months training at home into practice. I think the horses equally loved their little outing, being back on the lorry and having a change of scenery. My first XC school was equally a huge highlight this month – too much fun was had by both the horses and me!! Although they all came out quite fresh and were a little strong at times (!!), you can’t blame them after such a long time and being back on grass for maybe the first time. It was lovely to feel them all super confident and ready to be challenged with some different fences and combinations.
I cannot wait for my Eventing season to start this Saturday at Tweseldown; with two horses (Cartown Wallabe & Highway II) competing at Intermediate and two horses (Coolrock Cooley & Monbeg Voodoo) competing at Novice level. I always find the first event quite nerve wracking on many levels as it shows how well prepared you are, if the horses are fit enough (and yourself!!) and if you have missed anything in your training.
Hopefully on my next blog I will be able to update you all on how things have gone at our first events in 2021, and if the horses have all behaved themselves!!