Nicki Strong’s Blog: Great foundations laid in February!

Nicki Strong has certainly been full steam ahead in February! She and Blue have trained, attended fixtures and attended a clinic with a Badminton winner – all in the shortest month of the year! Find out how she packed it all in, and how Blue performed …

“With the new event season approaching, I’ve been keeping Blue busy in February to make sure we’re ready for the off. First up in February, we ventured to Sparsholt for some BE100 combined training which would be our first dressage for a little while. Blue felt pretty flat warming up, and his test was much the same, so I struggled to keep him forward and through. He did, however, give me some excellent lateral work each time we passed the judges box at C with some excellent spooks! Whoops. He jumped a lovely showjumping round with just a pole, added to 61% dressage for 7th place.”

“On the 12th we took part in the new BE Arena Eventing series with a fixture at Wellington Riding. Blue felt like he really enjoyed the arena eventing challenge, and came home clear in 6th place out of a large field. This will gain him four points towards the overall league so I hope we can get to a few more. Go Blue!”

Rachel Corry & Flamenco Dancer

“Next I headed to Larkhill with a friend for some XC schooling – we actually jumped all the Novice fences and combinations which he felt very comfortable with. Now that’s exciting! Finally on the 28th we joined a South Oxon RC SJ and XC clinic with Paul Tapner at Wickstead farm, using the all weather surface. It’s not every day you get to train with a Badminton winner! We had a really productive session, working over corners, steps, ditches and water, and I got some great advice about keeping Blue straight and active enough without letting him get long and strung out in his frame. Not only that, but operation dressage diva is under way, so Blue and I are having some sessions with Grand Prix dressage rider Katharine Lewis as I really don’t want our dressage to hold us back this season.”

nikki 27-min

“Ruby is slowly coming back into work after her Kissing Spine op including lots of Horslyx stretches to keep her supple, and we’ve just introduced trot work under saddle. Monty had some intermittent lameness which I hope we’ve got on top of now, and is building back up so we can hopefully get to some more dressage with the big fella soon. Most importantly of all, it’s almost Spring at last – well it’s about time! I’m not going to lie the last month has been a bit of a slog with lots of rain and mud, but the recent sunshine is making me feel better already. March, bring it on!”