Sunday, 19 April 2009

Visiting South Of England One Day Event: Intermediate and Novice, Trying on new Air Body Protector & Riding Hamlet

Sunday is very very rarely on the map of my days off and I was rather happy for the weather to appreciate that fact. Although windy it was gorgeously sunny and I spent a fab several hours wandering around the grounds of the South Of England British Eventing One Day Event. The classes today included Intermediate and Novice with the higher one running first. 
The show-jumping was interesting to watch - most of the riders didn't really ride their approaches correctly which cost them knocked poles. 
The XC courses were set over some stunning terrain. I've gotten used to the flat and boring Berkshire and must say that West Sussex is way more pleasing to the eye. I used to spend quite a bit of time in Kent/Sussex area and have almost forgotten how much I liked it. 
Jenny and I walked around the whole course which probably took us an hour or so as we stood for a bit at each fence to see it being ridden. 
I must say that I think I should go and watch those events more often, all the schooling fences we have at the centre and even the novice course looked tiny in comparison to the Intermediate jumps. 
We watched a little bit of dressage too which was set on a rather downhill slope. I reckon pure dressage riders would be positively shocked by the degree of it! It meant your final halt had to be really ridden and balanced properly. Laura Collette rode a lovely test on one of her horses, a pleasure to watch. We concluded she just has a very good saddle ;)))) 

Here's a little video remix from the day.

(From manufacturer: "The coiled wire of the jacket connects with the holding strap placed at the saddle. After the rider has mounted the saddle, he or she clips the 2 ends together. The coiled wire enables full movement in all directions for the rider. The airbag will only be activated if the rider is separated from the horse. The airbag jacket will then inflate within 0.15 seconds, protecting the all important areas of the body, the neck, ribs and coccyx.")
The sales man from put this weird gillet like clothing on me (which is VERY lightweight and doesn't feel like a body protector at all, rather like a thin gillet) and plugged the demo valve into a pipe and to a gas bottle.  
Let me tell you, you certainly feel well hugged by it when it gets filled with air!!!! Seems to have a super neck protection and it felt a bit like being wrapped in a life-jacket that is custom made and molds to the shape of your body. 
I was told that it was tried on tarmac at some stupid speeds and the testers reported the feeling of 'falling down in a bouncy castle'. 
I was quite impressed by the feeling of being in a protective bubble the jacket gave once inflated but...1) it costs almost £400 and 2) what if it doesn't inflate (guess it's a bit of a 'will my parachute definitely open' dilemma...). 

Then off we went back to Kent to ride Hammie boy. 

He's such a super little horse, didn't do that great on him today but miss riding him as he never really accepts anything but good. It has always made me so much more disciplined and attentive. This on/off riding situation I am at right now isn't great at all...(will put some pics up once I've received them from Jenny).
I also had a chance to say hello to a lovely lady who I used to teach and her horse I used to ride: here they are doing Rex's daily carrot stretches after arriving from a dressage show. He is excellent at them now! :)

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