The experiment is working

Reading my blog since the start of the year you would be aware of the little experiment going on in handing over the reins of my good horse Tempus Fugit (Murphy) to my less experienced partner Ben Mitchell to take around. The aim was for someone else to ride Murphy and to try and get Murphy to enjoy his job again, showing a less experienced rider the ropes.

At the end of the last blog it appeared that the experiment had worked – I had attended some training days and some clinics with coaches like Jon Pitts and all was going well. But the real test came at the next competition.

Wooroloo CNC was Murphy’s first competition with me back in the saddle, running in the CNC 3 star class. And I have to say, the experiment seemed to work!! Feeling rather nervous for the dressage, the aim was to work on keeping the tempo of the test the same as the warm-up and work on the rideablility. He put together a good test, with some really nice moments to score 52.2.

The aim XC was to not focus on time, but work on control and rhythm – all things were going great until halfway around we pulled a shoe, watching it go rolling past us at a million miles an hour, and the jumping quality after that was not great – which resulted in me seeing my life flash before my eyes as we jumped into an A element of angled rails Murphy uncharacteristically left a leg…

Thinking I was definitely eating dirt, and hitting my head on the flag of the B element, somehow Murph being the superman that he is, managed to jump the B element with me half hanging off him!! Very grateful right in that moment for having a freaky chestnut pony under me!


We finished the event in 1st place and some great photos to take home! The next event was 2 weeks later, travelling all the way to Moora (some 6hours from home). We seem to have really bad luck with cars/floats and tyres and going to Moora, always managing to blow one either on the way home or in this case on the way up.

Murph was entered in the CNC 2 star alongside some flash horses. The aim for the test was to again work on rideablility, and to not be so tactful in the warm-up. It worked a treat, the trot work was great, we walked the entire walk without jogging, and halfway through the canter work I started thinking ‘wow this is going really well just stay calm’ and I forgot the part about ‘keep riding’ and he broke back to trot!!! Finished the dressage day in the lead on 51.9.

XC at Moora started in the fog, a lot like Melbourne of previous years, and our aim this time was to establish a rhythm right from the start and maintaining it all the way around – as I sometime start slow, finish fast. This also worked a treat, and I had the best XC run I have ever had aboard Murph, zooming home. We also showjumped clear to finish on our dressage score and win the event!

So I guess it is safe to say that the experiment worked a treat, and Murphy is now becoming so rideable. The aim now is to work on consistency and re-establishing our partnership (yes more marriage counselling work!) – the motto for Murphy at the moment is

‘Don’t ruin the 95% to get the extra 5%’

Which seems to be working well…I am currently writing this blog from inside my gooseneck at Brigadoon CNC where Murphy and I are on a personal best dressage score of 47.9!

Thanks Ben!

All photos courtesy of Red