Bridget and Nikki Brown - first competitions of the year
Bridget Brown tells us what she's been getting up to this month:
April is always abit of a blur for me as lambing time takes priority over everything as little bundles of joy or misery, as the case may be, arrive with their many and varied needs. A couple of weeks ago the farrier looked rather pale as he arrived to find me lambing a ewe with a breach lamb with both legs back, it arrived after some delicate turning and there was a scurry of activity to get it breathing but all was well in the end. But I digress, The end of March saw Nikki and I taking four horses to Wootton to do the 40km. Nikki took Tink and Kassy the night before to Linda and Caitlin's and stayed the night there so they could get a good start in the morning and I was to take Murphy and Zeph in the morning. It was a 4.30am start to feed all the cattle, sheep and other horses but with Irene, Steve and David all helping we got done in time and even set off when planned. Irene was riding Murphy, Me on Zeph, Nikki on Kassy and Caitlin on Tink. All four horses flow round the course with ease, eating up the miles like they were nothing with boundless energy. All four humans thoroughly enjoyed the ride but I think we all finished with different things hurting, note to one's self, must get fitter !! I am delighted to say that Zeph, Murphy and Kassy got a grade one and Tink finished on a grade 4, she needed a wee when she went to the vet, a successful day all round.
Murphy (above) and Zeph (below) out training on the North York Moors
Irene was able to upgrade to open after this ride so it meant that we could go to Haywood Oaks to do a 64km, it was only 6 days after Wootton, so quite tight and not what we would normally do, but Irene needed the ride so that she could have a chance to qualify for what we were hoping to do later in the year and this was the only 64km that was going to fit into the time scale. Murphy and Zeph had the next 5 days off and on the Friday before the ride we loose lunged them in the round pen to see that all was well. The Saturday of Haywood Oaks saw another early start but with Nikki staying at home to feed everything we managed to set off in good time for the 3 hour journey there. Both Murphy and Zeph went fantastically, trotting and cantering the whole way round, they were just brilliant and at one point I felt quite overwhelmed thinking how lucky I was to own these beautiful animals and part take in our wonderful sport with family and friends. We came into the vet gate and presented quickly and Murphy and Zeph tucked into their mid ride feeds while I made Irene sit down and eat herself. The second loop flew past with much the same speed and enthusiasm and there was only one point where David and Steve weren't quite where the horses expected them to be and sulked. Considering that it was the beginning of the season I was surprised when I wasn't to tired when we got to the end and delighted when the boys came away with a grade one and a grade two for Murphy. Irene was quite overwhelmed at achieving her first 64km and rightly so.
Tink (above) and Casi (below) getting in some hill work
After that the boys were scheduled three weeks rest anyway so that fitted right in with lambing but in between time I did find the time to go out with Nikki and Tink and Kassy a few times but have to say that with work constraints for both of us and Nikki getting a horrid virus that knocked her flat all horses have had a good rest and are only now just starting to really get back to fitness training. Nikki has managed to keep Sandy ticking over and her has had his saddle refitted to accommodate his ever growing physique. He is turning into a true gent, it dosn't matter if he has had a few days off or if Nikki is having problems with her health, he is totally devoted to her and adjusts his manner to her. Chico has also had some time off mainly due to his feet and having an argument with a gate he tried to jump but he has been employed quite abit recently moving cattle about as we turn them out to grass and needed to sort them for the sales etc.. With luck and a fair wind, May will bring us more adventures and challenges so watch this space
Sandy and Nikki on the moors