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Alex's October Blog!

The 2015 eventing season has reached its conclusion and, overall, I am really pleased with the way it has gone. Weíve had some great results this autumn and Iím excited for next spring when I will have a strong team across the levels.

This year Iíve been without my two advanced horses, Zagreb and Redpath Ransom, but they are both back in work now. Theyíll showjump over the winter, and Iíll work on the flat so weíll be raring to go in the spring. Weíll work out a programme for them but Luhumhlen is likely to be a target along with some three star runs.

Iíve evented about ten horses throughout the season and I think weíve been placed in about 50 per cent of the competitions weíve attended. The emphasis has been on the novice horses and it's always so rewarding when they start to produce the results and I am very excited about next season.

Normally, at this time last year, I am pleased when the season comes to an end, but I had some super horses to ride at Aldon, and the autumn has been particularly good with lots and lots of rosettes!

There have been some low points when Iíve wondered whether all the effort is worth it, but each time my amazing team I have behind me has kept the momentum going and the effort has really paid off.

The highlight was probably LVS Stonehavens Quebec coming fifth in the five-year-old championships at Osberton. Itís a nice result as itís a high profile event where everyone tends to compete their very best horses. She also had the best dressage mark of the season of the horses in the yard when she scored an impressive 13.3 at Homme House.

Osberton improves massively year on year providing a great atmosphere and experience. Itís late on in the season so the pressure is coming off a bit, and it makes for a very enjoyable event.

Our Ladiesí Club Syndicate has also been a lot of fun. Its members are an enthusiastic and very vocal group of ladies who are involved with a great little horse called Bloomfield Tiger Too. He has had a fantastic autumn coming first, second and third in his last three events. The ladies bring lots of champagne, good spirits, fun and enthusiasm to the events, and with plenty of whoops and cheers out on the cross country course and at the showjumping, they bring a fantastic fun element to the sport. Itís been a brilliant highlight and Iíve really enjoyed it. Although I have to say how much fun you have at an event is really dependent on the weather! When itís not so good you just want to get the job done, but when the sunís shining it's lovely.

The horses will now have a month off and then come back in for a couple of weeks hacking before I begin schooling them again. The focus will be on their strength training and improving on dressage and jumping technique ready for next season. Eventing is so competitive that you have to put the work in all year round.

Weíll also source a few horses for owners and sell a few too.

Alexís winter riding tip

At this time of year it can be difficult for riders without facilities to find the time to ride their horses but you can still achieve plenty while hacking out over the weekend.

Donít put too much pressure on yourself or your horse during the winter and set yourself little goals that are realistically achievable, such as to increase the horseís suppleness and connection.

Try and go to a showjumping venue during the week so that you get to ride in an arena.

While you are hacking on the roads you can do a little bit of leg yielding. You can also work on the horseís walk, letting your reins go longer and then shortening them up again. Itís a huge part of a dressage test and one that often gets over looked. Donít let the horse slop along and maybe think of it as a schooling session.

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