We were out eventing again, this time with just Milli competing in the BE100Plus at Chilham castle BE Horse Trials. After completing her first Novice run of the season at South of England a few weeks ago Milli felt like she was more than ready for the step up to Novice level. However I don't want her to ever feel over-faced so I had decided to run her round the BE100Plus at Chilham as she will still have the tricky Novice dressage to do and then SJ will be Novice height but the XC is only BE100 level so I was using it as a bit of a sweetener for her, not that she needed though as we found out on Sunday!
The weather forecast wasn't looking too good but thankfully Sunday morning it had brightened up slightly and the rain wasn't due until mid afternoon......hopefully once Milli and I had finished! It was so nice to have an event which didn't require an early start and even better when it's a local event too, only half an hour journey for us :)
On arrival I picked up my number and slowly got Milli ready for her dressage. She warmed up well but the warm up was very busy which made her a little anxious as she isn't a fan of other horses going past her too close! She settled though so we went in. I knew from previous comments that Milli needed to be a little more forward and up-hill so we have been working hard on this at home and when I came out after our test I almost thought I may have rushed her a little but the judge disagreed and used the comment 'laboured' more than once which none of us could understand! It wasn't the best test she has performed but I felt the 40.5 we were scored was quite harsh and it was consistent but obviously there is movements to work on but I have to remember she is still only rising 6! Bless her.
Putting our dressage score behind us we set of to walk our XC course which looked very straight forward, especially after walking the Novice and Intermediate tracks at SofE last time out, but just because it looked straight forward didn't mean it would ride that way! It was a nice course though for a sweetener run after Novice at SofE, there was a few questions then more forgiving fences so we were hoping for a nice round.
Before that though we had our jumping to contend with and from rounds I had watched during the day it was causing a few problems. I must be getting used to walking the bigger tracks now as it looked like it hadn't gone up! Milli was a little fresh in the warm up with the odd buck and squeak moment, I'm getting used to it now at competitions! We went in to the arena, and Milli had a slight babyish moment when she saw all the trade stands around the arena but after giving her a quick pat and saying 'good girl' she quickly concentrated on what was asked of her and went on to jump a lovely clear round!
With a quick change of tack the clouds were fast approaching so I, and many other riders, were quite keen to get the XC done before the rain started! She warmed up well, and I could really tell how fit she is now as she felt full of it so we went of to the start. Milli flew out of the start box and started in a great rhythm, perhaps a little on the forward side of things as a few strides were taken out at some of the fences but she felt full of confidence which is always a nice feeling in a young horse! She took it all in her stride and jumped a lovely clear round, taking all the direct routes and it felt like quite a fast round too! We later found out we were well inside the time, in fact the fastest in our arena which is great, showing she will easily make the novice times once we have a 'few more miles under our belts' as it were.
Milli was very lucky as we had a great support crew with us at Chilham, including one of our super sponsors, Sofia Graham, Veterinary Physiotherapist. Sofia very kindly gave Milli a treatment after her XC to help her relax and recover and as you can tell from the picture to the right Milli was relaxing and chilling really well, in fact had she had a nice straw bed I'm sure she would have had a nap!
Unfortunately our not so good dressage score resulted in us finishing just out of the placings in 11th place, but to be honest I wasn't too bothered as I know the dressage will get there as she's been working so well at home and most importantly she jumped two super jumping rounds making it feel easy!
For more pictures and a video of Milli competing at Chilham please 'Click Here'
We have a few weekends off eventing now so lots of training to be done at home with Roxie and Milli. This will allow us to get the others out to a few local competitions as Mum's 'big' Milli has been coming on well and I am taking her to Chilham unaffiliated horse trials in a few weeks, so we are aiming for a dressage competition before that so she can see white boards etc. It will also give us time to do a bit more work with our homebred rising 4 year old 'DidHe IV' who has been a very grown up boy and went for his first hack this morning! I think all of 'Team Gadd' will be competing at Chilham Park unaffiliated so it will be an incredibly busy day that's for sure!
***Keep Calm & Canter On***
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