Jackie Bennett's Blog

  • 13 Feb 2017
  • A kick up the backside!

Martin and I are not the most sociable of people; we enjoy our own company, however, this year we decided to go to the TREC GB ball. It was held at Ardencote Country Hotel in Warwickshire, so only 70 miles away and it is an excuse for all the TREC community to don something other than jodhpurs and wellies! It was an occasion where I even choose to wear a dress and heals. It was a pleasant evening with various awards being presented for the year just gone by. Unfortunately, my poor showing for last year left me well down in the league scores so although we came home with a rosette it was for 8th place.

Anna's wedding cake!

Now part of me wanted to throw it in the bin at disgust for doing so poorly but the motivational part of me has hung it on the feed room wall as a kick up the backside and a reminder to stop trying to do too much at the expense of my performance! It was a also good to catch up with friends from the sport. The winner of the level 4 League this year was Sheila Watson with Cricket. I was really pleased for her as she was also totally unselfish in letting one of the International riders take Cricket to Spain when their own horse went lame three weeks before we were due to go. Let’s hope Sheila now joins us in the International Riders and qualifies to take Cricket herself to another Championship.

Kick up the backside rosettes!

I have mentioned before that Bradley has suffered from sarcoids on his face in the past all of which were treated very successfully with the famous Liverpool cream . The latest ones though have come on his eyelid and after consultation with Liverpool and talking through options with Paul my vet, it was decided to leave well alone unless they caused a problem. Well, a few weeks ago B knocked the larger one and made it bleed, it then increased in size quite dramatically. After some research, I decided to try Tumeric golden paste and made some up. I applied it twice a day as well as giving it in his feed. After a week the growth had shrivelled up and dropped off. An excellent result, although it won’t have killed the root it has got rid of the actual growth which could get infected. Paul, my vet was very positive about this which was fab’ as vets can sometimes be negative about alternative treatments and there was precious little that we could have done without either causing him great distress or spending thousands of pounds.

B's sarcoid eye!

Bradley and I haven’t managed to get out this month; with working I can only enter competitions at the weekend and had hoped to get him out Arena eventing again. After our last disaster I thought it may do our confidence good. Unfortunately, I was struck down with the horrible cold and sinus virus that is going around and decided that trying to get around a course of show jumps and cross country jumps with my head banging and feeling absolutely awful was not the best plan, so Bradley and I stayed at home. The following weekend, I did load him up into the trailer and take him to the nearby Carsington Reservoir for a change of scenery. From home, we can go around the reservoir as a 35km ride but as he is not yet fit enough for that I thought it would make a nice change to just trailer over there.

It always amazes me how they are so keen once they get out of the trailer somewhere different even though they are still going to work. The reservoir is a lovely ride although all the walkers do so get in the way! Bradley seemed to be dragging his back feet, tripping over and finding the trail rather slippery. As I had the smithy coming on the Tuesday, a long discussion ensued as to the cause of the problems. B does have quarter clips on his front shoes to move the break-over back a bit to help avoid tripping and we had changed nothing there, so it was a mystery. Steve had put slightly larger, heavier shoes on behind last time to try and give him more support and help encourage him to pick his hind feet up. But we decided to go back to the slightly smaller shoe and see if this improved things.

A ride out round the reservoir!

The other thing that the ride did was to prompt me to ring Gerard, our equine therapist to come and check him over. It seems he had rotated his pelvis again. After a quick examination and a certain amount of manipulation, the pelvis was put right. The problem I find is that when the horse is at this stage of fitness it is very difficult for us mere mortals to tell if things like this are wrong. He is behind me when I lead him, I mainly see him in the dark apart from at the weekends and when I ride there are no obvious signs that something is wrong. But I am pretty certain now that that was the reason why our last Arena eventing outing was such a disaster.

It’s possible that B rotated his pelvis when he was clowning around with his sister in the winter paddock and slipped and fell. Gerard suggested that as he is not as fit at the moment, his muscles are not so finely tuned allowing things to go wrong more easily. So, hopefully, as I bring him up into fitness again the muscles should hold everything in place instead of having saggy bits, I totally understand that problem! I have also had a problem in my back with something irritating the sciatic nerve on my left side which had been causing my left leg to go numb when I sat for any time. Eventually, I decided there was a problem and got an appointment with the physio’. After two visits and plenty of exercises morning and night, I am pleased to say it is improving but it makes me realise how easy it is for me to tweak things, so I should apply the same theory to my horse. With that in mind I have re booked Gerard to check Bradley over again in April.

I have also been busy this month as somewhere along the line I mentioned to former blogger and good friend Anna Weston that I used to make and decorate wedding cakes. I started making cakes many years ago when I was an instructor and freelanced as a groom. A lady called Chris Perry I worked for made novelty cakes and at that time I had 6 young niece and nephews so decided to give it a go. For many years I made all sorts of cakes for their birthdays and when Martin and I decided to get married the natural progression was to make and decorate our wedding cake. I continued making wedding cakes for several years until I was doing a cake the week my mother died. I have never decorated a cake since as it bought back to many sad memories of that time.

Anna stays with us when she is working locally. So I was very pleased for her when she announced that she was to be married in February to her partner Ed. We got onto cakes and Anna wanted to make her own cake but not decorate it. I stupidly offered to do it. When said cake arrived it was two tiers and I set about the task of applying the marzipan to get it level and then build up the layers of flat icing. I have to say I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and found it very therapeutic. Friends used to be amazed that someone as impatient as I had the patience to flat ice a cake. Anna wanted her cake very plain and simple and wanted a tractor on the top for Ed. I am honoured that she has trusted me to do this for her with such little guidance. The cake is to be collected on Monday when she next comes to stay. I have sent her pictures of it and she seems very pleased with the results, so I wish Anna and Ed a long and happy marriage!

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