HANNAH TOWNLEY – Badminton was great as it is my aim for 2019 to qualify for the Grass Roots Championship

May got off to a great start with a trip to Badminton Horse Trials. I went up on Sunday to watch my old boss Alex Bragg show jump. Alex has always been a huge inspiration to me, he is a fantastic cross county rider and it is really good to see him competing at this level. Watching the last 20 riders jump in the grandstand was so tense, as we got down to the last 3 riders, everyone was on the edge of their seats, you could hear a pin drop!! So exciting and such a great result for Jonelle Price.

Badminton was also great as it is my aim for 2019 to qualify for the Grass Roots Championship. I have 2 Regional Qualifications under my belt and aiming for a 3rd to give me and Rhingo every opportunity to qualify this summer.

Rhingo (The Domino Effect) is my super cob. He is my only horse and I work full time, so fitting in riding is always before or after work, so I for one, am very grateful for the lighter evenings and warmer weather!

I am an active member of Shillingstone & District Riding Club and take part in as many of their events as I can. I enjoy their monthly flatwork sessions and use these to prepare us for our events. Delerie Chambers took the last clinic and she has known me since I was tiny, and has taught me from the start on Rhingo. We work on straightness and relaxation as he can be a little tense in the arena, so she is great for tips and exercises to work through this.

I have a weekly jumping lesson with Pippa Tucker. At Pippa’s yard she has a grass show jump arena as well as a grass dressage arena and we find this invaluable to practise on.

Rhingo is barefoot, and I find the more practise I can get in on grass, the more confidence I can give him. Competing at affiliated level on a barefoot horse does not go without its worries, I pay a lot of attention to the weather, and the ground conditions, and I also adapt my riding to help him be more upright. This helps him to balance and not lose his footing. Rhingo was barefoot when I had him on loan and when I bought him, I was only competing unaffiliated and there did not seem to be a need to shoe him. When we affiliated, I took the advice of my farrier, who actually advised against shoeing him – being very slightly pigeon toed, he advised that at his age, shoeing would not help him, in fact there was every possibility that it would have the opposite effect and make him worse, so we agreed to leave him as he was! So with good management and correct riding on my part, we cope and we compete and we do well!

Rhingo has had his monthly session with the physio – Wendy Southcombe. This session really helps Rhingo relax and relieve any tension or stiffness. He has an old SI injury and I find that monthly physio sessions really keep everything in check and him ticking over.

Having to work full time, I find it there is not enough hours in the day for me to visit a gym, so I incorporate my fitness training into my daily routine. With 2 dogs to walk, I power walk them every day and keep my cardio fitness up this way, and now that the evenings are lighter, poo picking the fields helps with the toning!! Im always careful with what I eat, so this helps keep me healthy too.
May has been a great month for the fields to dry out, and now finally at the yard we have a field that is dry enough for us to work in, so this means that we can now use it for canter and fitness work – which we both love!

I had a birthday last week, and was very pleased to spend it having a show jump lesson with Pip, although I wasnt so keen on spending 2 hours waiting for my lorry to start to get home!! My friends at the yard had secretly planned a birthday cake and cards for me on my return, but got very bored waiting for me after 2 hours!! Oh well, I still got cake so that was all good!!

Rhingo and I are now in full preparation training for the Riding Club Horse Trials Qulaifiers at Moreton Equestrian Centre in June. This is really exciting and we hope to do well, so keeping everything crossed, and I will let you know how we get on next month!!

HANNAH

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