It’s February already and despite the weather being against us for a lot of January we have managed to keep the horses ticking over on the whole and even made it to some competitions.
I am delighted that I have got myself a new JAS pony in little Joey! The first weekend of January we headed to Merrist Wood for the JAS. A slight military operation was required as my cousin and I had 4 horses going in 4 different classes with times from 9am to 5pm! We managed to get the early horses home and swap them for the others so none of them were stood on the lorry too long. I had Joey in the 90Open, his first indoor competition and first JAS, he was a star and although jumped a bit big and green to start with, he settled into his rhythm beautifully and despite having an unlucky pole he still managed a style score of 9 and with just 2 time faults he took the win. Second rosette in two weeks and his first win. He then jumped in the BE100 but conscious not to make him tired in the warm up I went in with a bit of a flat canter and with the jumps having gone up 10cm too I don’t think he realised! He rolled 3 of the first 4 fences and then jumped a lovely clear so I was delighted with him. Joey went home and Coco came back to have a pop round the Open Novice, so it was rather small for him but a good fitness run and some fun! He was squeeling every time he landed over the warm up fences and trying his best to employ the ‘faster we go the better’ tactics which I will admit I wasn’t such a fan of! Anyway, he went in and was ridiculously over excited so hit the 2nd fence which came down, then settled into his job and jumped a great clear with a style mark of 8 and just one time fault to finish 3rd. You can see the video from the JAS by Clicking Here.
I then had a fab couple of jumping lessons with Ernest on Coco and Hudson. Hudson just improves with each lesson as he is strengthening up and finding his jump. It is still going to take time with him though so whilst it has been snowing and frozen through January we have given him an easy time as we feel he will benefit more from lots of hacking now to build his base fitness. The jump is there and will get better as he strengthens up so we are in no rush this year – he will be a horse for the long term and we want to get the basics right to give him the best future possible. The video to him jumping with Ernest can be seen by Clicking Here. It then decided to snow before freezing solid for 2 weeks so the most we could do was hack them in walk. Fit event horses and no work isn’t the greatest combination but we managed.
Joey and Coco have been cross country schooling, Jenny Wijsmuller came and rode Coco for me as a nanny for Joey but he didn’t need it. First time on grass cross country and you would think he had been doing it all his life, jumped everything first time including ditches and straight through the water. So now I am actually letting myself get excited for the 2017 eventing season and currently hoping that he will start his campaign at Swallcliffe BE90Open. You can see the video of the XC schooling by Clicking Here.
Today we finally managed to get Coco out to a decent Show Jumping show (even though the weather tried to sabotage us again!!). We made the trip up to Addington which is always worth the journey, brilliantly organised, lovely arena and educational courses. As he hadn’t jumped for a while we just entered the 1.15Open and the Foxhunter to give him a jump and hopefully we will be able to step back up to 1.30m next time out. He was very happy, as only Coco can be, and flew round the 1.15m, unfortunately despite our best efforts and speedy jump off turns we were too slow to pick up any prizes but he jumped well. We never quite hit such a nice rhythm in the Foxhunter but he still jumped really well, unfortunately just coming down a little bit on a back rail coming out of a double which came down. See the video by Clicking Here. However a great outing to get our eye back in and set us up for more excitement over the next couple of months. The plan with him currently is to start his campaign at Aldon Intermediate before heading for Belton CIC2* as we have heard such great things about it and I have never been. It was lovely meeting fellow eventer Lydia Hannon at Addington today and she confirmed that Belton would be well worth the trip!
The University Riding Teams have started 2017 with a bang, continuing their incredible run of form from last term taking another two teams wins so far this year, making the tally 7 competitions, 6 team wins, and 1 team second. They have also picked up 8/8 Individual placings since Christmas. One team is already confirmed as through to Regionals with 3/3 wins so far so all to play for now.
We have got more BS planned, a trip to Aston for their Arena Eventing and an outing to Munstead for Combined Training on grass before we start our 2017 Eventing campaign!
That's all for now