Well what a start, however horses never fail to keep your feet firmly on the ground!
After a warm up at Munstead Combined Training last weekend, I felt I was ready and prepared for the eventing season to get under way. Picking up a few vital pieces of information on the way.
1. Its never good to be in a field, the first weekend of March when British weather decides its time to rain (being a geography geek, it is to do with a depression, where areas of high and low pressures meet, creating frontal rainfall!!)
2. Lily likes dressage on grass, even in the rain (always a bonus)
3. Dressage judges do tend to like Lily (makes a nice change from the others!!)
Anyway on to Tweseldown, and the weather could not have been more opposite. We were then in an area of high pressure, bringing beautiful clear skies and that lovely warm weather, what a treat!
We had a nice leisurely start, leaving the yard at 10 am. Punches dressage was 12.45.
Punch was tense in the warm up to begin with as he knew he was eventing! However I kept my cool and just worked him long and low in trot until he realised that it was only dressage after all. I think I got my warm up just right, and in I went. He did a lovely test, a couple of mistakes, a little head shake in his trot walk transition and a not very square final halt, but apart from that it was good, so now all I could do was hope for the best. Luckily for me, to pass the time, I had Lily's test to do in the BE90, as she was doing day before dressage! We have realised that she really only needs 20 minutes warm up, so she was slightly bored by the time I went in, and was a bit cheeky really. She kicked up in her trot, however not in right lead canter, which was an improvement, but she was just a little inconsistent, and babyish, which was fine really as that was only her 3rd ever test on grass. It was then time to go and walk the course, however mum went and checked the scores whilst I popped to the toilet!
She came back, and said 'I don't think you want to know your score, do you?' Not knowing whether it was good or bad, I went No, Yes, No, Yes, No... I don't know, do I? At which point we decided I was better knowing before I entered the show jumping arena and it was announced! Well it was a 29!!! So pressure on!
The cross country looked great, but needed attacking, just right for what I needed to do. However the first bridge to cross was show jumping clear, and I should never doubt Punch, as he pulled it out the bag, and never got anywhere near a fence, so with a clear under our belt, it was cross country time!!
Into to the warm up and Punch was so excited about going cross country for the first time since September! He reared in the start box but we were quickly under way! He was great the whole way round, gave me a great ride - I love riding him cross country as he makes it all feel so easy, and will get deep, or will equally jump off a long one! I think he will be able to do Novice tracks easily, but no chance of that this year now. We went clear and inside the time. Meaning we lead from start to finish, beating several pros in the first place, including Bettina Hoy, even in the dressage! Good Pony!!
Then it was Lilys go, we were back at Tweseldown by 8 o clock on Sunday morning, so that made up for the lie in we got the day before! She was on good form and show jumped clear, which was great. We had a few bucks and bunny hops, but nothing too bad, so I was really pleased with her, as on grass, if she is in any doubt, she just jumps a little bit bigger!
This meant we were on a good score going into the cross country. And we have been feeding her on Red Grass Nuts from Simple System to try and give her a bit more energy. They have definitely been working and were a little bit too good when mixed with adrenaline in the cross country warm up. I honestly thought I was going to die!! She was leaping and bucking, and even put in a small rear for good measure. I am not sure why or how I managed to stay on, but I think it was something to do with my air jacket going off through being bucked off in the warm up, and the embarrassment which would come with it! There was a long queue and with Lily being so stupid, mum managed to get me up the order, however this then meant I was rushed, but trotted down to the start and kept moving. Well I rode the first fence well until 2 strides out where she had a look, so I forgot I knew how to ride, through everything at her, and she went what the hell are you doing and ground to a halt. A quick kick up the backside for both of us and we were off! She then jumped clear the whole way and gave me a great ride, apart from at the water, where she jumped the fence in front fine, then turned violently left on seeing the water, very nearly depositing me head first into it, but I refrained!! We finished with 5.2 time, but she felt great and if the jockey hadn't have been such a muppet, we would have finished in the top 10. So slightly disappointed but something to build on!
As I said, horses never let you get to cocky and I was greeted with the phrase 'how the mighty have fallen' I just love horses! But really I love them to bits and am thrilled with this weekend, so here is to eventing 2012! The year started with me getting bucked off less than 12 hours in, yet it has just got better and better, although I suppose it cant get much better from here!