Merlin had the saddle fitter a couple of weeks ago and it has definitely solve the bucking problem.

Neither saddle was fitting correctly any more as he’s changed shape so much since he came. I managed to get back on board a couple of days before the local unaffiliated dressage finals at Alnwick Ford Equestrian. I decided to take him just for the experience, knowing we weren’t very well prepared. He was a little stressed in his first test, running away with me in the canter and popping in a couple of extra special moves during it! But all in all I was pretty pleased as he seemed happy to be being ridden again! He then produced a lovely test in the final and managed to come 4th against some very established combinations.

We had a couple of lessons, one jumping and one flat. My flat lesson was with my trainer Vicki Wilson. She’s always been fantastic with me and I definitely ride better when I’m in front of her. It was the first time she’s seen Merlin due to our travelling issues and she really liked him. We worked on getting him a little sharper off the aids and into a better contact and he felt amazing. It was good to get him away from home and working properly.

Jumping terrifies me so I was looking forward to that lesson a little less! I shared with a friend as it makes me feel a bit braver knowing someone else has been round and survived! Merlin hadn’t jumped in over 2 months and, given he’s only 6, I was expecting him to be a tad fresh. I honestly don’t know why I worry with him, he’s such a pro. He took to it like he had always been jumping, popping round everything, changing leads, landing on the correct leg and never hitting a pole.

Unfortunately a few days later he went lame… again. The fields have turned really slippery and he’s found a new play mate in the field so I think he’s just slightly tweaked his shoulder muscle. I’ve given him a couple of weeks off and tried him tonight and he feels almost there; probably 99% sound. So my instructor is going to have a look at him on Thursday night and hopefully that’ll be the green light to get cracking again! Our last show of the year is a championship (unaffiliated) show at my yard, Lane Farm Equestrian Centre. We’ve managed to come 6th in the league for intro and prelim and qualified for the finals and I’d really love to compete him in it so fingers crossed!