So it is now April and my last blog was at the beginning of February.. Sorry! I will try to keep it as short as I can whilst trying to remember all the exciting things that have happened since February. So in brief, since February all four of the horses have been out competing. Coco is back out Eventing and on fire, feeling better than ever. Lily has been back out show jumping and out of 3 competitions has jumped 3 double clears for two wins and a 3rd! Joey has also been out show jumping and Arena Eventing picking up some placings and some double clears. Hudson has also been back out after a quiet winter building strength and fitness and he is feeling better than ever.
We went to Wellington BS at the beginning of February with Joey and he jumped two super double clears in the British Novice and Discovery for 5th and 3rd. Click Here to see the video. He then went Cross Country schooling at Tweseldown and loved it, taking it all in his stride. Coco then went to Felbridge BS jumping a super speedy double clear for 3rd in the Foxhunter with over 60 entries. The next outing was to Aston Le Walls arena eventing with Joey for the BE90. He did a sweet test but still a bit wobbly. I proceeded to fall off at the first fence in the jumping and join the 2017 tumblers club but once I had caught him and got back on, he jumped a super clear! To see the video Click Here. To make sure Joey hadn't scared himself at Aston, we headed to Felbridge combined training where he did a lovely test and a super jumping round with the wind blowing down one pole(!!). I also rode Nathalie George's 'Tully' in the BE80 who did a 31 dressage and finished on it to win. Then I rode 'Cedric' in the BE90 for a 27.5 dressage and clear show jumping for 2nd.
Back to Aston again the next weekend with Joey and Coco. The 100 for Joey was a huge ask and I managed to fall off for the 2nd time in a week (whoops) but it was really educational and he tried so hard! Coco saved the day by jumping the most amazing double clear in the 2* Arena Eventing class, including clearing two big uprights after the cross country to be one of only two double clears and taking the win! You can see Coco's winning round by Clicking Here. To prove it wasn't a fluke, we then went to Felbridge BS the following week where he rolled a couple of poles but followed it up with our first 1.30m double clear - what a star!
Then it was time for Lily's first outing in nearly a year, I have been rehabbing her slowly since November from the field and without shoes on. She is the happiest she has ever been. We went to Petley Wood BS and just jumped the 90open but a speedy double clear was enough for the win! Joey was a little tense and tight in the British Novice for a couple of rails, but settled down beautifully for a really unlucky pole at the last in the jump off, there were so few double clears it was good enough for 4th. I couldn't recommend Petley Wood as a venue enough. Lovely arena, lovely atmosphere and friendly organisers. We haven't had time to get back yet, but we definitely will be back lots! The video from Petley with both horses can be seen Here.
First event of the season was Aldon with Coco. Unfortunately he insisted that the dressage required some extra moves as we trotted down the centre line, but there were nice moments so 36.8 was a fair score. He show jumped really well for 4 faults at the smallest upright on the course. As always, he cruised round the cross country for 10.4 time which was good enough for 10th. A great start to 2017. The highlights of the day are Here.
Hudson's first outing of 2017 was to Windsor Park Equestrian Club for his first dressage test. He was an absolute joy to take out, scoring 68.7% for his first time ever on grass and so much potential too. We took Coco for dressage practice after his attempts at Aldon and he disgraced himself again - but we hired the arena and I schooled him through the test again which was a major breakthrough. Unfortunately we had a disasterous journey home, breaking down on the m25 and being stuck there for 5 hours. In the end the road had to be shut both ways whilst we transferred the horses from one lorry, to a friends lorry which they had never been in before at 10pm at night in the dark along the m25. Coco was a superstar and this rubbed off on Hudson who was so patient and brilliantly behaved throughout. A very stressful experience and very disappointed in the emergency services who took 40 minutes to get to us when we were broken down in a live lane and then as soon as we were on the hard shoulder, re-opened all 4 lanes with no speed restrictions so cars and lorries were flying past and shaking our lorry constantly.
Event number two of the season was at Belton. Very much anticipated after all the recommendations we had about it as such a lovely event. Safe to say it did not disappoint, a real atmosphere, super courses, super ground and fantastically organised. We stabled at Hannah Westropp's on the Friday night thanks to a recommendation from the Upton's, Coco was in heaven and we had dinner cooked for us - it was very civilised! Having had some help in the dressage from Jenny Watson and Alison Craig, Coco performed to his best in that phase, I was delighted with how well he listened to me and stayed relaxed in a buzzy arena. He scored 50, his best mark today and makes me even more determined to break the '50' barrier this season. We had a long wait before the show jumping and when we went in he was very tense and slightly worried which resulted in two early poles, he then settled and jumped well before an unlucky rub at the last for 12 faults. On to the cross country and he was incredible, one of very few horses to take the direct route clear at a tricky combination at 17 and was so focused on his job. I never pushed for the time so finished with 7.2 time leaving us in 23rd of over 50 starters. The highlights can be seen here. I also bought the full Cross Country Round from An Eventful Life which can be seen Here.
Event number 3 came a lot sooner than expected, Coco was feeling so good and the ground holding up brilliantly that we thought we would put a last minute entry in for South of England AI. The gamble paid off, with a super dresssage which was the Badminton test, scoring 37.7 (flying changes were a little exciting!) and not being far off the pace in good company. He followed it up with an awesome double clear and one of just three across all the intermediate sections to make the time which left him in 2nd place between Pippa on Sandman and Tina Cook on Star Witness - so not a bad result. He picked up 10 points which has now taken him into Advanced points! The days video can be seen Here.
Finally this week we have had two show jumping outings with Lily and Hudson. The first was to Coombelands on Thursday, where both horses jumped the British Novice. Hudson had a couple in the jump off where he got a bit tired and Lily jumped a super speedy double clear to win the open section. We also took Hudson for his first taste of XC whilst we were there and he showed a lot of potential! The next stop was Felbridge today for the British Novice and Discovery. A super round from both horses for 4 faults each at the same fence!! However they were both super in the Discovery with it being Hudson's first ever 1m track he was unlucky to have one down in a decent jump off. Lily jumped a super speedy double clear for 2nd in the open section.. She would have won if the jockey had remembered where the timer for the jump off started!! Still 4 shows, and two wins a 2nd and a 3rd isn't bad going!
Hudson's Video: Click Here
Lily's Video: Click Here
So that is a brief summary of the goings on with the dream team of bays for 2017 and so far they really are proving they are the dream team and I am feeling very lucky to have such super horses and an awesome support team. I have also been getting on very well with my teaching, absolutely loving the work I am doing at St Teresa's Equestrian with a super bunch of kids and a lovely environment to work in. The Royal Holloway Riding Teams have been amazing this year, winning 9/11 competitions as a team and qualifying all 3 teams for Regionals. As a result I was lucky enough to follow up my 'Sportswoman of the Year 2016' award with 'Coach of the Year 2017' which is a true honour and I could not have done it without the support of a fantastic club.
So exciting goings on over the next month includes taking Coco back to Withington to fix the result from last year, a trip to Royal Windsor for some show jumping and Hudson is entered for the BYEH 5yo at Badminton! So the next update will be after Royal Windsor where hopefully I will have lots more exciting news to report.