Victoria Bax - Thinking about road safety

Well that went pretty quickly, all the horses have had their time off and are back in work at various levels, so things are starting up for me again.  I am not working each of them every day more like 3/4 times a week. 
I started with quite a lot of hacking for the first few weeks for each of them, but have started up the schooling again now.  
Very sadly a week ago there was a horrendous accident at the top of my quiet lane near the junction to the main country road whereby a horse and rider were hit from behind by a car, resulting in the horse having to be put to sleep.  I am absolutely devastated about it because not only do I have to use that stretch of main road to get out to the bridle ways near me pretty much every day so it could very easily have been me, but I knew the horse and rider too.  I simply can not imagine what the rider feels like having gone out for a nice afternoon hack with her best friend and to return alone.  
The local community around here are in a state of shock and are now clubbing together to try and action some much needed extra road safety measures for that particular section of road as sadly this is not the first accident which has occurred there involving a horse and rider.  I am very much behind this campaign too and will willingly do anything I can to help promote this in order to lead to a safer road.  Meetings have been set up with local counsellors, petitions are being organised, a high viz photo shoot is being arranged too along with radio, tv and magazine interviews being conducted all on aid to get the word out.  So if anyone out there has any other ideas that they think could help our community please do contact me as I would be very pleased to chat to you.  A face book page has been set up to run all these, so please do have a look at "Canewdons Equestrian page" and show your support.
Since the accident I have not ventured back out on the road with any of my horses as I just can't bring myself to do so for fear of it happening to me next.  Even though when I hack out I am high viz'd up to the hilt with jackets, tabards, exercise sheets and my super Golly Galoshes, the high viz gaiter for horses which not only help to keep me seen, but also protect my horses boots and legs from mud and wet.  
This obviously means that my horses have not been out of the arena for work hence why they are not doing as much so as not to bore them with it.  I am trying to make things as varied as possible, using poles and various different exercises but it must still be a little boring for them seeing the four sides of my arena every time they work at the moment.  There is not much better than going for a lovely country hack in the winter sunshine now is there?
A couple of weeks ago, I got roped in by my local riding club Billericay and District to fill in a couple of spaces they had in their teams for a local team showjumping competition. I pulled out Alberta's Pride and Alberta's Rose, having both not really jumped for a while, popped them over some fences at home in the week then took them both out to help the team.  I couldn't have asked for anymore from either of them as they both jumped super, resulting in four out of four clear rounds between them and a second and third place for the team they were in.
Since then I have taken them both out to my local BS venue.  Alberta's Rose has been jumping successfully round the Discovery and the 1.05m classes and Alberta's Pride the British Novice and Discovery; the later proving the biggest he has jumped to date being that it was a single phase competition so the last 5 fences were of jump off height, but no need to worry as he had it all in hand!  I will continue to make these outings throughout the winter in the hope of really nailing the showjumping phase ready for next year.
I've had a couple of dressage lessons too with my trainer Tina Atkins in order to try to move us all up to the next level ready for next year too.  Both the young horses are really improving in self carriage and elevation is now starting to happen.
The winter training clinics that I run for my clients have been as popular as ever and will continue throughout the next few months with different themes at each one giving people the chance to practise things they wouldn't usually think to practice much and to get them more ready than ever to tackle the next event season.
I've had some very happy clients too when they have collected their horses after a week or two boot camp with me and I have a constant supply booked in over the next few months to improve their way of going too, to keep me busy and stop me getting cold, after all that is a little down side to this job, being outside in the freezing cold all day long!
Until next time...