So it is now February 2016.. I can’t believe how quickly time has gone, although probably something to do with the fact I spent a week in Austria skiing and I currently have three gorgeous ponies who are on mega form in anticipation for the eventing season.
I managed to fit a quick trip to Merrist Wood eventers challenge with Oscar on the 2nd of January. Although it wasn’t overly up to height, it was a really useful outing. The courses were technical enough with lots of skinnies and an angled double of skinny brushes which were causing trouble. IN the 90cm he rolled poles on two of the skinnies where I was making sure he understood the question, however I needn’t have worried as he is one of the straightest and most genuine horses I have ridden. In the 1m he had fences 2 and 3 down (they were the same as the class before and I don’t think he realised they had gone up!) however, he then realised and jumped the most awesome clear round, including several skinnies in the cross country section. You can see the video by CLICKING HERE.
I then had a fabulous week skiing in Austria with lovely company and we even had a decent amount of snow (it all seems so long ago now). Huge thank you to Mum and Jenny Wijsmuller for looking after and exercising the horses whilst I was away, not only did they get soaked all week, but I then had three horses ready to crack on the day I got back. I think they took it too literally though as Lily was wild and Mum and I had to swap horses half way round the hack (luckily Oscar is so chilled that he was oblivious to Lily’s antics!!).
The 15th January saw Coco head to Felbridge Combined Training for his first proper outing since Aldon in October, a rather overenthusiastic dressage test lead to a generous score of 34, followed by a totally overexcited SJ round for one down wasn’t a bad start and he felt fantastic. The 18th of January and Lily got to have her first jump since June 2015. She was hilarious, but felt so good to be back jumping and definitely better for her enforced holiday. It was also exciting to find out that the photoshoot for Horse and Rider that I did back in August last year was printed in this month’s magazine.
The horses continued to play around jumping at home and all felt on top form so last Thursday we headed back to Felbridge with Oscar in the BE100 (his first proper 1m) and Coco in the Intermediate. Oscar was very excited to be back out and therefore his test was a little tense for 34. He then went a little green in the jumping where it was a bit bigger, so I let him take his time and turned a couple of circles. He then went back in and jumped a lovely round for one down, I am so impressed with how hard he tries, it is such a pleasure to ride a horse with an attitude as ‘can-do’ as his. Then it was Coco’s turn and he was much more settled in the dressage and did what I thought was a lovely test (unfortunately I went on my own, so no video footage) but the judge seemed to disagree giving him a 41. Which I thought was very harsh considering he has done much worse tests and never got above 40 before! He then flew round the jumping for a really unlucky 4 faults coming out of the combination.
This weekend was where it got really exciting, I had Lily and Oscar at LMEQ BE100 Arena Eventing on Saturday and Coco at Wellington JAS on Sunday. LMEQ was a feat of organisation on all parts, huge thanks to Sophie for giving me brilliant times allowing me to jump both horses within 10 minutes of each other at the start of the class. Then to Mum for taking the horses home for me and sorting it all out whilst I jumped in the car and dashed across Reigate to play hockey (it was worth it though, we won 10-0 and I scored…)
Anyway, I got side tracked! Lily was up first and her first competition since June. She was wild and I was convinced I was going to get bucked off! However, she settled down and jumped round nicely (if a little speedy) for 4 faults, making it feel tiny! Oscar was up next and I didn’t know what to expect as the course was up to height and technical (not ideal for his 2nd ever 1m course). However he exceeded all expectations, making a couple of green mistakes early on in the show jumping for 8 faults and then settling into it and jumping round the rest of the course clear. With only 4 double clears all day I was delighted – he really is going to make someone a lovely horse. He is completely genuine and just keeps trying.
Sunday was Coco’s turn! He was entered for the Open, and had a silly pole in the show jumping section where he wasn’t quite concentrating, and then I turned quite short to the bounce on the cross country and he had the out down. However, it was a smooth round good enough for a style score of 7 and we were one of just two combinations to finish inside the tight optimum time, as a result it was good enough for 4th place and a qualification for the final. You can see the round by CLICKING HERE.
The horses are all looking fantastic and feeling even better. They are still on their winter feeding regimes and I am delighted to announce that Simple System are going to continue their support for the 2016 season, and I honestly believe I wouldn’t have the horses on the form they are on, without all the help from the company alongside Mum keeping them in one piece physically. It is all about having a good support team in order to get results and I am very lucky to have a phenomenal support team.
Oh and somewhere within all this I completed and handed in my 10,000 word dissertation on the impacts of grazing ponies on biodiversity – pleased to have that out of the way and now just 6 exams and 4 deadlines stand between me and freedom!!!
Click Here to see the plan of events over the next month
A few pictures below from various goings on over the past month..
That is all for now