The Honeymoon is Over

Brook Corey head shoulders website

by Brook Howells

The honeymoon is over, quite literally!

I had my first ride on Corey just before Christmas; just a couple of short hacks with his trusty friend Danny (our retired eventer) for company. Despite having had two months off he was so well behaved I even got him all tinselled up on the Sunday! We like to take them out all decorated on Christmas day, but as Al and I were spending Christmas with his parents this year we got the tinsel out early.

After those two hacks I handed the reins over to my Mum, who had volunteered to walk him for me whilst I was on my belated honeymoon in New Zealand. I prefer schooling to hacking and the start of the year, when Corey only does roadwork, is always a bit difficult for me. Plus, we needed to start his fitness work early in order to have him ready for Badminton, so this was a great solution. I’m already plotting a similar three week holiday next Christmas… Mum also got help from our friend Tyler Cassells, a local professional rider, who helps us hack Corey out each winter when the days are too short for us to ride before or after work.

Al on Hunter and Brook on Dex smallThe honeymoon was amazing. We both loved New Zealand despite the weather not always being the best, and we made the most of it by trying out all sorts of adventure sports whilst we there as well as sight-seeing; jetboating, sea-kayaking, glacier-walking, rafting down rivers, taking a helicopter flight, caving and of course riding. I’m generally of the opinion that I don’t want to pay someone else for the privilege of going on a hack, but I knew with the scenery of New Zealand it would be worth it - and Al was keen too (I say keen, ‘happy to indulge me’ is probably more accurate). The two-hour trek round Lake Okareka in North Island was beautiful, a lovely way to enjoy the views and we even got to have a couple of canters through the bush.

Far too many hours of travelling later, we got home with only 3000 photos to share (the perils of going to a beautiful country with a photographer husband!) and a keen event horse to ride. Mum and Tyler’s hard work meant that he was ready to start doing some light flatwork so we clipped him, went for a little hack and then into the field. We don’t have an arena at home but schooling on grass is really good for coping with different surfaces at competitions so on the whole I don’t mind. Mum shouted “get ready to hold on tight” as we started (thanks Mum!) but Corey was actually brilliantly behaved despite the excitement of his first trot in 3 months. By day three of trotting he was not so calm, so I think he’s ready to have some more serious work to focus on!

I focused on a forwards relaxed trot, not worrying too much about his outline as this was only week 1 of schooling, and on keeping my hands still. I’m absolutely dreadful with my left hand so this is a great opportunity to not worry about what Corey is doing and try and get myself out of bad habits. In the next couple of weeks we will start a bit of light jumping, we have our first dressage lesson and a dressage competition at the riding club to see how much we’ve forgotten over the winter so watch this space - and my twitter feed, @EventerBrook, for more news!

Brook

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