My Experience at Evolution Academy- By Amara Green

My Experience at Evolution Academy- By Amara Green

My Experience at Evolution Academy- By Amara Green

As of now I am a day back from the September Evolution Academy and I am already missing it so much! I had such a great time away with my fellow teammates; Grace Webb, Mia Gilbert, Lydia Carey, Ruby Carey, Francesca Ormsby and of course my 2 spicy gingers Daisy and Yoyo! So now I have decided to write a mini ‘diary’ if you like about my stay there and how my experience was:

Saturday: I arrived at Northgate Lodge to have a lesson with  Mark Wells on both Daisy and Yoyo before our practice show on the Sunday to make sure me and the horses were prepared and I had my eye in (what I mean by this is that I was able to see my strides clearly coming into the fence and make any adjustments if necessary)

Sunday: We arrived at Barge showgrounds with heaps of time to prepare for my classes i.e. groom horses, put studs in, go for a little hack around before my classes etc. I then competed Daisy in the 1m and the 1.05m class, in the 1m she was a fiery dragon to say the least! Let’s just say she was not a big fan of being taken away from her precious boyfriend and was showing off all sorts of dressage moves in the ring! So, she came away with a rail in the 1m and a beautiful clear in the 1.05m, then on to the Yoz monster! He was awesome producing 2 lovely clear rounds in the 1.05m and 1.10m, no placing though as this was just a training day. By the time we arrived back at Northgate all the other girls had gotten there and were settling in.

Monday: This was the starting day; we were scheduled to all arrive before 9am and start at that time but since we all arrived the day before a 5:30am start it was! At 5:30 we all bought our horses in if they were out in the paddock and gave them their morning feeds and then we were onto mucking out… every. single. paddock. Ok, maybe I’m being a little dramatic now but at the beginning of the week I thought it was a massive chore and it took way longer than it should have considering there were 6 of us. After mucking out we set out a course of ground poles in the arena which yet again, took way longer than it should have. I can’t even count how many times we were told to “walk with purpose” by Mark. We then had breakfast and got on to ride our pole course with no stirrups. Poles are an amazing way to get lots of jump practice (like seeing your strides) without jumping a single jump at all. After lessons we all headed off to the beach! The horses all had a blast and Yoyo went into the water for the first time (after a lot of convincing). We then finished with the horses and on to the much-dreaded schoolwork which I wanted to avoid, but knew I had to do. Then after completing our schoolwork we headed back out to the horses and more mucking out! After mucking out we feed our horses and set the jump course out for Tuesday whilst Mia and Grace were busy in the kitchen making dinner. No offence girls but the first dinner was definitely not a 5-star meal, the pasta was a bit hard and there was barely enough for everyone, it was definitely different to having our dinners made for us by our mums or dads.

Tuesday: Ahhhh the second day, if we all thought 5:30 was a pretty early start we were in for a shock! Since we didn’t move fast enough on Monday, today we had a bright and early 4:30 start!! The same as yesterday we bought in our horses, fed them and then onto mucking out. We had breakfast, I didn’t get the memo that we had to bring our own cereal, so I had a delicious meal of pretzels and milk! It actually wasn’t that bad! On to riding the course, with no stirrups! The jumps were only small, but it was still hard work, especially when riding 2 horses! Another beach ride today, Daisy had heaps of fun splashing around and dipping her nose in the water, and when she came out her legs were super clean. Then for lunch we had an ‘English Ploughman’s Lunch’ which was delicious, but we spent too much time trying to hard-boil eggs and missed out on our que for schoolwork meaning we had to do double tomorrow! So straight onto tack cleaning and setting out a pole course. Then for dinner was a chicken salad which was actually pretty good!

Wednesday: Today was another 4:30am wake up, but I may or may not have turned off my alarm after it went off… and then got woken up at 5:10… whoops! This meant I had to race around and make up my lost time, when I was heading down to muck out everyone else was coming back up ahhhh! I eventually mucked out my part and headed back to the kitchen, with just enough time to eat breakfast before tacking up. Today we had to ride a pole course and I bet you couldn’t have guessed it, without stirrups! At this point my legs were dead, but later on in the week I really saw the no stirrup working paying off. Mark set out a little pyramid of poles to help Daisy establish her flying changes, how this worked was there was 6 poles in a pyramid and when going over if had to give her the aids to change her lead and if she did she got lots of praise and rewards. We would go over these poles 4 times let’s say on Tuesday and on Thursday and every week you take a pole off the pyramid until eventually there were no poles. No beach ride today as we had to complete yesterday and todays schoolwork. We then set out our new course in the arena, not going to lie it was very hard work and time consuming, until Joanne came in on a quad bike with a trailer, it was like one of those epic scenes in action movies when the saviour arrives and has explosions in the background and a ‘gangsta’ look on their face. Tonight’s dinner was teriyaki chicken on rice which was probably one of my favourites!

Thursday: We got a 5:30 start! Yay! Since we moved a lot faster yesterday, we got to have a bit more of a sleep in. Now we were getting used to the routine a bit more, feed horse, muckout etc. We walked the course and figured out how we were going to ride it, oh and we got our stirrups back! My first horse to go was Yoyo, he was awesome especially since some of the jump were a bit ‘frou-frou’, the height we jumped around was about 1.20m, which was perfect as it was just a little bit higher than what I was jumping in the weekend (1.15m). Next up was Daisy, again she was amazing and very eager too, she jumped around a course of about 1.15m which yet again was perfect since she was doing her first ever 1.10m on the weekend. We then went on a beach ride which was heaps of fun and got back to clean gear and build a new pole course for Friday, no schoolwork as we decided to do more work on the Friday.

Friday: Another 4:30 start as we had to squeeze the extra schoolwork in 🙁 We’d gotten pretty use to the routine of things by now, moved with far more ‘purpose’ and got everything done quickly and efficiently, we’d even finished all the lessons and riding before 11am right before the rain! We then went and put away all the jump stands and poles back into their assigned sheds for the arena to be groomed, Ruby learned that a quad had to have fuel in it for it to go and Grace learnt that it had to be in neutral first before you can put it in reverse… I think we were all getting just a little bit tired. No beach ride today since we had to fit in extra schoolwork.

Saturday: We had a 6:30 start! Woohoo! This is the first time I’ve woken up at 6:30 and it actually felt more like 8am! This was the day before the show tomorrow where we can make our last preparations. We did the usual; feed, muckout etc. then set out the course and rode it. The course was extremely small, and I only took my horses around once each, as we were just making sure we had our eye in and were prepared for the show, rather than tiring the horses out. Yoyo got a wash. Yoyo got very upset that I gave him a wash. Yoyo looked very handsome. My mum then arrived and helped me pack up all my gear, ready to go in the morning. Now onto the most dreaded part… clean up and lucky me got the bathrooms… yay (definitely not being sarcastic at all). For dinner we were supposed to have sushi but only 3 of us were there after others had left to celebrate Lydia’s birthday and spend time with their parents. So we ended up having an extremely healthy meal of pizza and fish and chips.

Sunday: ITS SHOW DAY! Nice and early 5:30 start this morning which gave us time to do our usual routine and then drive to the showgrounds (Barge Park). My Mum and I head out at about 7:30 and arrived at 8:15 thus giving them plenty of time to settle in and for me to stud them, groom them and of course pamper them. My first class was at 3:30 on Daisy and she jumped impeccably, even doing a few flying changes and picking up 5th place! Looks like our hard work in practice was paying off! Daisy’s second class was the 1.10m, which may I add was her first 1.10m! She jumped incredibly, I couldn’t have asked her to jump any better, we just had the most unfortunate rider rail after I overshot the corner and had to jump an oxer on quite a big angle. I was gutted but so proud of how she performed. Yoyo then went on to jump the 1.10m which he was very eager and excited to do and jumped an awesome clear round and placed 3rd. His second class the 1.15m was made into a speed class to make it go quicker, Yoyo and I went around with a slightly more forward pace and tighter turns and came first! Beating Mark Wells which was super cool!

Overall the Evolution Academy experience was incredible, I took so much new information away with me and improved heaps in the short time I was there which showed in my results. Big thanks to Mark Wells for giving me such an amazing opportunity to participate and how much hard work you put in to make it happen, thanks to Joanne Thomas for letting me and my horses stay at and utilise your awesome facilities and of course my parents for letting me go and driving to and from home, the showgrounds and Northgate lodge.



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