You'll find regular blog updates below with all the very latest news and updates on everything that we have been up too!
Just wanted to give you all an update following our trip to Tweseldown last weekend to compete in the BE100 class. It was Diaz's second affiliated run at BE100 level so I was keen to see how she went and after such a positive run at Chilham I was hoping for a good run!
We had relatively early start times and with my alarm going off at 3:30am, by the time I had got up and dressed I have to admit, it was slightly depressing that it was still dark outside, and raining!! Thankfully after getting the stables mucked out and Diaz loaded it started to look a little brighter and when we were on our way to Tweseldown there even looked like there were some breaks in the clouds, which later went on to give us a lovely sunny day at Tweseldown.
On arrival Diaz came off the lorry for a leg stretch and I then went to walk the XC course, which I have to say is the best course I have ever seen at Tweseldown and the new water looks fantastic!! I couldn't wait to get out there with Diaz and although there were quite a few questions I felt she was more than ready for the challenge!
Dressage first and she was warming up very well, she got a bit excited when she saw some of the horses jumping XC fences right by the fence line over the other side of the road but she knuckled down and produced what I thought was a lovely test other than the slight fright of the dressage boards to start with! It later turned out that the judge didn't agree with the way I thought she went and scored us 34.3 which in fairness isn't a bad score but the comments on the dressage sheet don't match up with our test! I have sat and watched the dressage test and looked at the comments and really can't see the connection between the too! The judge felt she was tight and tense throughout the test which she felt far from, but I guess you win some, you loose some and this is the first judge that hasn't liked her way of going!
Putting this behind us we went got changed and headed down to the showjumping, she was warming up nicely and jumping well so we went in. She started jumping the course well but was backing off my leg a little, I have been riding her in small spurs recently which have been helping but she clearly didn't like them too much in the ring for some reason. As we came round the corner to fence 6 a helicopter flew over quite low and this coupled with the spurs made her have a slight temper tantrum putting the line I was on to fence 6 very wrong so with a quick cirlce round to re-approach she went on to jump the rest of the round clear. I do love my mares but they do have the odd temper tantrum which can be frustrating! With cutting the corners to the last fences we ended up with 2 time faults which wasn't bad as I heard quite a few competitors got time faults as the course designer had been rather clever!
On to the XC and Diaz felt great warming up and was very excited walking around the start box waiting to go. The starter counted us down and as we left the start box, with a slight "leap of joy" from Diaz we were off! She absolutely flew round, making nothing of the combinations what so ever, taking all the direct routes and she jumped an awesome clear! We finished well inside the time and Diaz was still full of running too which was a good sign of her fitness! Our round at Tweseldown has to be up there with one of the best XC rounds I had the pleasure of riding, she felt like a true XC machine!!
All in all a very positive day out, and although we didn't come home with any prizes I was very pleased with how well she went and more importantly how easy she found the XC! The other two disciplines we can put plenty of work in and train hard ready for our next event which will be at Stratford Hills mid June. Please find some pictures below from our day and there are some more to follow courtesy of Paul from Ultimate Images.....they are great pics too! Please Click Here to view pictures from our outing along with a video.
With regards to the other two girls, Roxie is loving doing a bit more fast work now and we went for our first canter / gallop since she has been back in work the other day and although I wished I had muscles like poop-eye it did feel great to be back out doing fast work with her. Milli and I had a SJ lesson with David Pearson-Smith last Saturday afternoon and David got very excited when he saw me unload the "good one" off the lorry.....think he quite likes Milli! All I can say about our lesson is WOW! We had a great lesson and Milli was on fire, pinging over a short course of 1.40m / 1.45m fences like it was a 75cm course! I can't wait to get her back out competing in the near future! I went on my own to the lesson and then left my phone in the lorry so haven't got any pictures or videos to show.....next time I will I promise!
We have a relatively quite weekend ahead of us which will make a bit of a change and with it being the bank holiday weekend too it will be nice to have a few days at home to catch up on all the little jobs that get 'forgotten' about when I'm busy out competing! I have a few lessons planned over the next few weeks with my girls so will let you know how these go with plenty of pictures too :)
Until Next time,
***Keep Calm & Canter On***
Apologies for the delay in sending out last weekends report, I have been so busy with work and horses this week - it's been manic! Last weekend I was competing at the area 10 Riding Club Horse Trials Qualifier at Bonfleur with both Icarus and Diaz. Icarus was at the beginning of the day and Diaz was after lunch which made it a rather long day!
For Icarus it was his first ever event so we decided to enter him in the Senior 80 section in the hope it wouldn't be asking too much of him, he would find it all rather easy and most importantly enjoy his trip out! We got of to a great start performing a nice consistent dressage test to score 32.2 - not bad for his first ever time seeing white boards and doing the test on grass!
Next was the showjumping and I had to make sure we took it steady as he isn't that used to jumping on grass and we didn't have any studs in! Not that this was a problem though and he went on to jump a lovely clear adding nothing to his great dressage score which I believe left us in the top few after this phase which we were very pleased with.
Next was the XC and I was intrigued to see what Icarus' thoughts were like as he has only been XC schooling a few times and for 80 level it was quite a tough course with plenty of questions! We left the start box and jumped the first two very confidently and then on to fence 3a and 3b. Fence 3a was a log which we had to approach up a slight slope and jump and then 3b was a rather big step down only a few strides away from the first part. Icarus popped over the log and then hesitated at the drop, so I just let him look at it and figure out what he had to do. I turned him round and re-approached the drop down, he had another look and then popped very nicely off the drop and went on around the rest of the course very positively, well until we were flagged down and pulled up at the second to last fence to be told that we had actually been eliminated at the drop! We all felt this was a bit harsh as it was just hesitations other than one turn away but I suppose being a qualifier they have to be quite strict! Never the less, we were all very pleased with how he behaved during the whole day and with how well he went! Please Click Here to view pictures and a video from the day.
Icarus' owners very kindly sorted Icarus out after the XC as I had to get changed and get Diaz ready for her dressage straight away! she warmed up very well and seemed very focused on what was being asked of her. this continued and she performed a lovely calm and quiet test! The judge agreed and we scored a mark of 32.3 which I believe left us in the top few after this phase.
On to the showjumping and she started of jumping well in the warm up but just felt a little unsure of the ground - last time out at Chilham it was a bit muddy and holding, this time round it was really quite hard! In the ring we got a bit too close to the first two fences as she chipped in a little stride but as the round went on she got more confident and finished jumping well, just picking up an unlucky 4 faults.
We had a little break before XC so time for me to go over the course once more before getting ready. We were doing the 100 senior section and I thought it would be the perfect run after the BE100 at Chilham as from previous experiences I have found Riding Club XC courses to be more inviting than BE ones - I couldn't have been more wrong. All combinations were flagged A, B and C so there was no option to circle, you had to go direct. Quite a few people commented that some of the combinations would have looked out of place on a BE Novice track either!
After her not feeling 100% confident in the showjumping I decided I was going to use this as a training round and not push her too fast, especially as the ground was so hard!! She started off very confidently, making nothing of the first few fences. 5a was the side of a castle on top of a mound with the landing being downhill and then there was a sharp right turn on 3 strides to a target skinny fence, Diaz popped straight through this very well. Fence 7a was a straight forward roll top with brush on top and the 7b was a skinny brush arrowhead fence on a curved line which was being made very difficult to get to because of some clearly placed little trees! We got our stride to 7a and the stride before take off I looked across to 7b so I could land and follow the line, unfortunately Diaz is so in tune with me that as I looked over to fence 7b she started to move her whole head and neck to where I was looking, taking her concentration completely of 7a and we sort of came to an abrupt halt! I gave her a pat and came around again and she jumped through brilliantly. Diaz continued well, jumped over 13a and then had a slight hesitation at fence 13b and c, which were two rather large steps down only a bounce distance apart. I think it took Diaz a few seconds to realise she had space to land and then drop of the second part. She continued on around the rest of the course showing real promise and how much potential she really has. Diaz finished full of running and was still pulling me after the last fence! Please Click Here to view more pictures and a video.
After sorting Diaz out I had to begin the trek home as Roxie and Milli were turned out and it was gone 7pm before we left and princess Roxie has a strop if she's left out in the field too late - I think she convinces herself that we've forgotten her! Once I arrived home and had put the horses to bed I found out that Diaz and I had finished in 7th place in our section which I was very pleased with. All in all it was a very productive outing and although not the best results on paper I'm thrilled with how well both horses went :)
We are out again this weekend, this time at Tweseldown BE Horse Trials and from what i've seen on Facebook the XC course looks fantastic! Although I'm not looking forward to the 3:30am alarm though! I will have a full report for you next week.
***Keep Calm & Canter On***
Just to give you a quick update, following many hours sitting in front of the TV on Saturday watching Badminton XC, I was out last Sunday with Roxie at a local dressage competition. We did the Elementary 44 test and although pleased to be out Roxie did a lovely test to score 77.8% which left us in 2nd place once the class had completed. In one of the medium trots I asked for a bit too much and Roxie broke to canter so I think this may have been an expensive mistake but I was very pleased with the rest of the test Roxie did! Please Click Here to view more images and a video of our test.
After a quiet-ish weekend I've had a very busy week that's for sure! Started on Monday with all the girls being exercised before I headed off to work. Then Monday evening we had the farrier round to put a new set of shoes on Diaz in preparation for upcoming events. Tuesday morning Diaz had a gallop which she very much enjoyed - it's lovely and quiet on the roads at 6am! After work on Tuesday Milli and Diaz had physio sessions with the brilliant Sofia Graham. Milli almost fell asleep during her treatment as she loved it so much! Milli and Diaz had a day off yesterday so before work I did some gymnastic-al exercises with Roxie and jumped her over some bounces, which she jumped very well and we didn't knock a single one down which is very impressive for Roxie! Yesterday evening I had a great SJ lesson on Icarus with David Pearson-Smith, we jumped some rather big fences but Icarus was really on top form, making a lovely shape over the fences and using himself a lot more. Following their physio treatments on Tuesday Milli and Diaz had long and low stretch schooling sessions and both of them felt fantastic, maybe Diaz felt a little too well.....!!
Weekend coming up we have the Area 10 Riding Club Horse Trials Qualifier at Bonfleur. It will be Icarus' first event so he is doing the 80 section and then Diaz is competing in the 100 class.....fingers crossed for good runs on them both and I will let you know how we get on early next week. #wishusluck
***Keep Calm & Canter On***
I hope you had as nice a bank holiday weekend as we did, wasn't the weather lovely?! Is summer finally here??
It was our most local event last weekend, Chilham Castle Horse Trials and this year there was a slightly different layout and a brand new XC course which was greatly received by us riders! I was there early Saturday morning as I was fence judging for the BE90 sections and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I've fence judged at PC events before but it was the first time I've fence judged at a BE event and the crew at Chilham looked after all us volunteers very well!
I was back there on the Sunday with Diaz for our first run at BE100 level and I couldn't have asked for a better run! We had our dressage first and Diaz started getting a bit lively and excited whilst I was tacking her up as I was parked right by the XC start but as I got on and rode down to the dressage warm up she soon focused on the job in hand and warmed up very nicely. This nice work continued and she performed a lovely, consistent test for me. So consistent in fact the when I saw our sheet after finishing our marks only ranged from 6.5 to 8 so I was very pleased with the scores of 32.3 which we were given.
Next was the showjumping, so with a change of tack we headed over to the SJ warm up, after a bit of a wait it was time to warm up and our turn in the ring. Due to the wet weather recently the ground was a little deep and holding, especially on take off in front of the fences. Diaz hasn't jumped in this sort of going before (first time for everything I suppose) so to help her out a little bit I pushed her up a few gears as it were so she found it easier to jump out of the mud. She wasn't a 100% sure about jumping from a slightly more forward pace so our round wasn't the smoothest round we have jumped but most importantly it was a clear round, in fact there wan't a chance she was hitting any of the fences, as I'm sure you can see from the photos!
With this being her third run so far this year she has already quickly worked out what comes after the showjumping - CROSS COUNTRY!! After a quick change for both myself and Diaz we were in the XC warm up and she was ready for it! I was keen to see how she was going to respond to the XC course as I felt it was quite a challenging course at BE100 level and not ideal for a first timer at this level but we headed down to the start and set of strongly. The first 10 fences were on a continuous up hill stretch which was really taking it out of some horses but each time I put my leg on Diaz responded and pulled harder up the hill. The first combination was a fences 5 and 6, two skinny logs in a wooden area but once she'd summed it up Diaz popped over fence 5, turned on the sharp dog leg to the right, to fence 6 without hesitation.Big pats and on to the next fence! We had to do a small circle between the steps down at fence 11 and the skinny log at fence 12 after a slight hesitation at the first step caused our line to go a bit wonky! Diaz continued around the rest of the course confidently and finished full of running after jumping a lovely clear for me! I was thrilled with her and so was her owner!
After un-tacking Diaz she was very lucky as one of our fantastic sponsors, Sofia Graham who is our veterinary physio had come to watch us compete, gave Diaz a little treatment after our XC to help her relax and chill! We then went to go and have a look at the scores to see we had picked up 11.6 time faults, (29 seconds over the optimum time) on the XC. This unfortunately did put us out of the placings, but this didn't bother me too much as it was our first run at this level and I was very pleased with how well she went! When the final results went up we finished 15th in an arena of 40+ competitors. After having a look I noticed that, had we gone inside the time XC (which I know she is more than capable of doing with a bit more experience under her belt) we would have actually won the section! As mentioned earlier I couldn't have been more please with how well she ran and can't wait for our next outing. Talking of our next outing, we are heading to Bonfleur for the Area 10 Riding Club horse Trials qualifier on Sunday 15th May.....wish us luck! :)
For pictures from our day at Chilham Castle and to watch our video please Click Here!
***Keep Calm & Canter On***