So I left the last blog on a complete high, and even a month on, I still can't quite believe Lily and I managed to win a Novice!! I saw the words above 'live what you love' and thought that it couldn't be more apt. After finishing my University second year exams, I have the whole summer of playing ponies to look forwards to, and I have some lovely ponies to play with!
We took Lily and Coco to Hickstead dressage for two Novice tests each. Lily was up first and did a really lovely test which the judge agreed with giving her 70% which was good enough to take second! As a result we withdrew her from the second test as she tried her hardest and she is not the most willing when it comes to dressage so there was little point in asking any more of her! Then it was Coco's turn, he had not been out competing in nearly a year and he was so chilled (I don't think he quite realised what he was being allowed to do!). He did two lovely tests but they were calm and relaxed, I didn't have him really working from behind into the contact as I did not want to put too much pressure on him at his first event back! He got just over 66% in both tests for a 4th and a 5th, so a perfect first outing! You can see a picture of Coco below.
On the Sunday we took both horses to Felbridge for a bit of BSJA. Coco's first jumping show back and again he was amazingly calm - he is such a pro! He just popped round the 1.05m to get back into the swing of things. but jumped a lovely, relaxed double clear. Lily was just having a pop round the Newcomers and was unlucky to just roll a pole, but she jumped well so I was pleased with her. You can see their rounds by Clicking Here
Our next outing was Hambleden with Lily, where again she was a total superstar (just need to sack the jockey). She performed another relaxed and accurate test, so I was a little disappointed with 30.3 as I felt it was better than South of England however it was 5th after dressage so probably about right, see the video by Clicking Here. She then jumped a confident show jumping round for an unlucky 4 faults, but I was pleased as she was really jumping. Cross country she set off flying (as you can see from the video link, below). Going into the second water, I failed to set her up for the skinny and she never saw it until to late, gave myself a kick and represented her to it which she then flew! She jumped the next couple of fences well, but the number of questions one after the other made her really mentally tired, and when I didn't quite set her up for a log with a big drop behind it coming home she couldn't quite work out the question and we were eliminated. I am gutted as Lily never said no, she was just tired and had tried her hardest. On the positive side she wasn't throwing in the towel by any means so we dropped her to the 100open at Chilham the following weekend to consolidate. The video from Hambledon can be seen by Clicking Here
On Saturday the 2nd of May we headed back to Hickstead dressage with Coco, this time for a couple of Elementary tests. I asked for much more connection and had him really working over his back. He performed two fantastic tests, although he did have a mini meltdown in the canter of one of them, I think through excitement and proceeded to leap through the air! However it was still good enough for 69.4% and to win the class. The second test was mistake free and this was rewarded with a mark of 70.74% for 2nd place, so a very successful outing. You can see the pictures from this below.
Sunday the 3rd of May was Lilys turn to go eventing, this time at Chilham. We had ridiculously early times and were there to walk the course at 6.30am! The weather was appalling for all three phases and although not ideal, it was a great test for Lily as before when it was wet she used to really lose confidence. Her dressage was not as good as it has been, but she was still obedient and listening for a score of 29.8. She then went on to jump a faultless double clear with cruise control on! She finds BE100 rather small. But it was great to have her confident and happy after our little blip. We added a couple of time faults cross country to finish 5th. You can see the video by Clicking Here.
On Monday the 4th it was Coco's turn to party again! This time back to Felbridge to pop round the Newcomers. Mum (aka supergroom and lorry driver extraordinare) wasn't around so my cousin Katie and Liv who keeps her pony at my yard came to groom for me! Coco was really excited to be out - I think it is finally dawning on him that he actually is being allowed to compete again! He jumped a really fantastic round and was so unlucky to just role the last fence in the jump off, but he is jumping better than I have ever had him jumping. See his round by Clicking Here.
Next stop was a trip to watch at Badminton, and talk about inspiring me to want to get there!! I had my last exam Friday morning and headed straight there in time to watch the last session of dressage which was fantastic. Cross country day came round and I have to say it was one of the best, the course had problems spread around and there were no really horrible falls which is what the crowd wants to see. The time was tight enough that it created a competition and it set up an extremely exciting top 20 show jumping! I was so nervous on behalf of William - he has nerves of steel! But Nicholson the iron man definitely let the pressure get to him. I actually really felt for him as he is clearly so desperate to win Badminton. However what a win for William and Chilli! I also felt sorry for Oli Townened as I am not always a fan of his but he rode the most fantastic cross country round on the Saturday and he said himself that Armada's show jumping was 'mostly impossible'. He couldn't have ridden any better all weekend. I was really pleased for Pippa Funnell, Bettina Hoy and Ingrid Klimke too - who all had fantastic weekends! The other thing we came across at Badminton was a new piece of technology called Thermavet. It is an app and a case you can buy for your phone (currently only works with Iphone 5/5s, but android version is being released this summer). It is a thermal imaging camera allowing you to take images on a regular basis which is much more useful then having your horse thermal imaged once as you get to know what is normal and therefore can use it more effectively. We have been so impressed with it so far! To find out more look at their website: http://therma-vet.com
Finally, yesterday we headed to Parwood for some more BSJA. Coco popped round the Newcomers, again jumping really well but just rubbed the second last in the jump off for 4 faults. He then got to go cross country schooling in preparation for Rockingham Open Novice (sshh don't tell him as I don't think he will contain his excitement!). He was mega as always and hasn't lost his cross country know how in the year he has been off. See his video by Clicking Here. Lily also jumped in the Newcomers, flying round double clear for 3rd so I thought I would get brave and enter the Foxhunter! I was rather nervous but I didn't need to be because she took me round like she had been jumping them for years and was really unlucky to roll the out of the double for four faults. You can see her rounds by Clicking Here.
With Coco doing more now, we have increased his linseed intake to support his system and give him the best chance in his recovery. Touch wood, so far, so good!
Our next outing is Rockingham with Coco (eeeeek!) and then Lily is going to Borde Hill the following weekend before a break from eventing until the 20th and 21st of June where Lily is going to Farley Novice on the Satruday and Coco to Nunney Intermediate on the Sunday all being well!
Sorry for the essay - I seem to have done rather a lot more than I thought I had!!