Punch at Munstead Hunter Trials
So at last my blog is going to contain some reports of actual eventing - and I couldn't have asked for a better start. However let's go back to where I left off saying I was going show jumping on Saturday 23rd of March! That plan immediately backfired as we woke up on the Saturday morning to a lovely blanket of snow (again!) Felbridge had to cancel and posted a picture to prove why. Snow disrupts play once again! However by Tuesday the worst of it had gone and we had been able to keep them ticking over enough to go show jumping. Off we headed to Royal Leisure with the 3 of them. Punch was first to go in the 1.05/1.10 handicap and jumped a really fab double clear, he popped round making it feel easy which was a great feeling with Badminton looming up - and at least if we hadn't got him to an event he would have been jumping and felt on good form. We then jumped Lily in the same class and she was a little excited to say the least. When the fences are 1.05 she doesn't really bother to jump - her back feet almost stay on the ground until her front feet touch on the other side! However she pinged round in a good time to finish 3rd! Then I jumped her in the Newcomers - and 1.10m is about the height she actually starts to really jump. She pinged round it with for another double clear and finished 2nd - such a clever girl! Then it was Cocos go. He jumped really well but felt a little ring rusty - I'm not sure why as he had been jumping the week before. He still jumped a lovely double clear which was good enough for 4th but I decided I would get brave and jump him in the Foxhunter - my first ever and the biggest course I would ever have jumped! It looked huge to me but Coco made nothing of it at all and pinged round. He was really unlucky to just catch the back rail of the second last in the jump off for 4 faults which was a shame but none the less I can't really complain!
On the 30th of March with Somerly and Goring having to cancel due to the delightful weather, we headed off to Munstead Hunter Trials with Lily and Punch. The course looked good however some of the landings were really quite stoney and being a hunter trial we just avoided the 3 or 4 fences which were like it on Punch as we don't want him injured before Badminton Grassroots. He went well but hit a dip in the ground just wrong which meant he jarred his shoulders up - but still jumped round the rest of the course fine! Lily was awesome and just pinged round making nothing of it! She feels like she completely understands now which is great as she has the talent to progress but it is just getting the brain onside. So a great outing and a perfect prep run before South of England.
On Easter Monday we headed down to Felbridge for some BSJA. To say it was busy is an understatement, there were at least 50 people in every class apart from the Foxhunter! It was also like the arctic - I have never been so cold at a competition ever! They were kind and sensible enough to let us jump in coats, I was wearing a base layer, my stock shirt, my show jacket, a gilet and a coat and was still freezing! It didn't seem to make much difference to the horses though as they jumped brilliantly! Lily jumped an awesome double clear in the Newcomers to finish 4th in a class of 65. She has got all her Newcomers double clears now - which is quite scary as I don't think I am brave enough to jump that big - she is more than capable! Then it was Cocos turn and he was also really good. He jumped a good round in the Newcomers but had the last 2 fences of the jump off which was a shame as apart from that he jumped really well. We then jumped in the Foxhunter and he was even better. He just had an unlucky fence where I turned up a little too tight to an oxer in the jump off and he clipped the back rail. The bigger the fences get the better he seems to jump which is a really great feeling - and I feel more than ready now to tackle an intermediate show jumping track!
On Friday 5th of April it was eventing time at last! We had put a last minute entry in to Aston Le Walls with Punch when they announced they would run an extra day of competition. The day couldn't have gone much better. I felt much more confident in the dressage - not only in carrying it out but fixing mistakes and keeping calm. It paid off as he scored a fantastic score of 29! He then jumped a great confident clear round show jumping to go forwards to the cross country on his dressage score. The cross country was a great track with a few questions - Punch loved it and flew round with no trouble whatsoever. He gave me so much confidence like he always has done across country and he really is a pleasure to ride! I didn't push him so we ended up with 0.8 of a time fault but made no difference to the overall placings and even on 29.8 we finished 5th, which I was delighted with.
On Saturday the 6th we headed off bright and early with Lily to South of England - I had to walk the course before her dressage which was at 8.12! She didn't do the test I know she was capable and although she felt a bit behind my leg - which she normally doesn't when she gets to competitions I think it was through tension and it just shows in a different way. She scored a fair 35.5 with plenty of room for improvement. She then popped round the show jumping clear but was definitely rather insulted by the height of the jumps! Then onto the cross country and there was not a moments hesitation! She jumped a beautiful clear inside the time to finish on her dressage score which was good enough for another 5th place! It was very exciting as her two full older sisters and her full younger brother were all there competing - which I should think is a very rare occurence to have 4 full siblings competing on the same day!
On Sunday the 7th we were back to South of England again - this time with Coco who had an 8.18 dressage (lie in!!) He was a bit tense in the warm up but settled down nicely to do a great test - and the judge agreed giving him a 28!! Two sub 30s dressages in a weekend is a record for me! I usually only manage one per year! He then capitalised on it with a confident clear show jumping. He was awesome cross country and he just cruised round! I kept the handbrake on as there was no point in going for the time being the first run of the season and aiming for other things. He only had 4 time faults despite this (and the time was really tight) so it was a great first run. He finished 6th! So 3 double clears and 3 placings to kick the season off - even if it is somewhat belated - is not too bad at all!
On Monday we had Pickles' (My 12'2 pony) 30th Birthday party.. Yes we had a party for a pony, but he loved the attention and his cake, and he is rather special after all! We have just put him on Topnosh as he lost a lot of weight over the cold winter and it has made the most fantastic difference in a short space of time. It is good because he doesn't have the biggest appetite, but despite aiding weight gain it doesn't add too much bulk to the feed which is ideal! Coco is also looking a little bit light of condition after his first run so we have just started him on it too - just to give him that little boost.
Little Ozzie is also going amazingly for his new jockey who managed to pilot him round into 9th place in the Dengie warm up class last weekend off just 3 hours sleep - and anyone who knows Ozzie will be aware of the fact you need all your energy to be able to maintain any control - so Well Done Tasha (see the picture below.)
This weekend we are off to Ascott Under Wychwood with Punch and Lily so fingers crossed for a repeat of last weekend!
Thats all for now - and apologies for the essay