Lily at Tweseldown - Copyright Dave Murray
But life does go on! Thank you to everyone who has been so kind and wished Punch and I Well Done since Badminton - I am still so excited and we have had the fab video from Total Recall showing every fence - a fantastic way to remember a great couple of days.
The last time I wrote I was off on Hockey tour - I managed to return without alcohol poisoning and in one piece which for me was a miracle as I am accident prone playing hockey sober.. maybe that's the answer! However it was an amazing weekend and thank you to everyone who made it happen!
Our first event after Badminton was Aston Le Walls Intermediate with Coco, which after all that had gone on was a little bit of an anticlimax. The dressage left a lot to be desired - I was on too long in the warm up (not helped by them running late, but one of those things) and by the time we were in Coco had had enough! It was very tense and tight at times but there was also some good work. It was a harsh mark of 43.5 - but plenty to work on!
Then we had hours before I showjumped so we went and walked the XC which looked really good. The showjumping was then running an hour early so we were in a rush - but we gave ourselves time in the warm up and he felt good. The first four fences were foot perfect and he was jumping amazingly - so I stopped riding. He then had the out of the double at fence 5 down and the front rail of the related distance at 6. So then I got flustered and not only galloped at the combination, but missed him at it too. Being a genuine little horse he tried his hardest and cleared the first two parts - putting in an extra stride but couldn't quite make the out! So I gave myself a virtual smack and got my act together. He then jumped through it fine and the last two were great as well, so I was really cross with myself as it wasn't overly big - I just made one very bad decision - but I will learn.
The cross country was amazing - he absolutely flew round making it feel like nothing - and I finished with a big grin on my face, which is the main thing. He felt way within his comfort zone and is as genuine as they come - if in doubt he jumps a bit higher which is a very reassuring feeling! We weren't placed but it was a solid start with plenty to work on!
I had an lesson on the Saturday with both Lily and Coco round at the fantastic LMEQ with Ernest Dillon. It was just what I needed to regain both mine and Cocos confidence so I was much happier and finished off jumping round a course of 1.20m/1.25m and he felt great. Lily was also jumping round 1.10m/1,15m easily and they didn't have a pole between them!
This weekend was then very busy. We decided to take Coco down to Felbridge just to make sure he hadn't lost his confidence in the ring. We popped him round the Newcomers and he jumped a lovely clear in the first round to get into the jump off. I didn't go crazy in the jump off as thats not why I was there, but he jumped another lovely clear to finish 5th! Clever boy!
On Sunday we were off to Tweseldown for the BE100 with Lily. She did a good test, and it could have been even better if I hadn't gone wrong (despite having ridden BE102 about 30 times before!) Still many improvements to be made but on the whole she is a different horse, so a score of 33 was about fair! Showjumping was annoying. As I was told to warm up and inform the stewards when I was ready. So I did that and when I was ready I told them and they said that there was now a coursewalk and I would have to wait. So I did - but I lost Lilys concentration - so when I had a flyer into the related distance at 3 and 4 she didn't come back to me quick enough and had the upright down which was a pain as she was jumping the best she ever has in the warm up! She was fab cross country - as straight as anything - despite me trying to make her run out at the corner (Not deliberately but I didn't help!) So we have made the decision to step her up to Novice earlier than planned at Borde Hill next week - exciting stuff!
We had originally entered the Novice Regional Final on Coco at Tweseldown but quickly realised it was going to be a dressage competition and I had no chance of qualifying! So we did a (very) last minute swap to the Intermediate and I am so glad we did!
The dressage was much better - I got the warm up spot on and the test started off with mainly 7s, but he got a bit tense in his canter work towards the end so lost marks but a 37.7 was a fair mark, but not really in contention. I thought the show jumping looked enormous and knew I really had to attack it. I did and he jumped really well, he got a little tight at times and touched a couple but only one hard enough to come down - but 4 faults was average in my section with just three show jumping clears! The cross country was a good track with enough questions but confidence giving too. Again, Coco just popped round, and apart from a little look into the coffin - which was open rails to a ditch with running water I couldn't fault him - he really is so cool! At the third last was a sunken road, a house one stride and down a step, a long stride in the bottom then up a step and two very long strides to a skinny out. I came up the step and decided I was going for two strides. Coco was going for 3 - and despite me flapping away he was like 'no mum, we do it this way.' Put three strides in and popped out - lucky someone knows what they are doing. I had 11.6 time faults but again this was about middle in my section and it was good enough to leave us in 5th place! I am so pleased as he really deserved it - he was awesome!
A quick note to say if anyone is struggling to get weight on their horses after the tough winter we have had, look no further than Simple Systems Topnosh. Pickles was worryingly poor at the end of the winter but having had nearly two months on it now, he looks like a different pony - and although he is still losing his coat it is shiny -
Lilys at Borde Hill Novice and then Mattingley BE100.
Coco is at Little Downham Intermediate and then hopefully Nunney CIC2* if all goes to plan!
Thats all for now
PS. you can see my Badminton Grassroots album by clicking HERE!