I hope you all had a great weekend. We had a rather busy weekend with lots of riding, both out training and in competition.
Saturday morning I had fantastic schooling sessions on Roxie, Diaz and Tintin (a clients horse I'm riding whilst they are on holiday). Then in the afternoon I was out SJ training with Milli at a local venue where you can hire the SJ course which is very useful. There are a few pictures of Milli and I below. She jumped very well and is feeling a bit more like her normal cheeky self which is great!! To view more pictures of us training please Click Here!
Sunday morning I had a reasonably early start as had three to ride before going to a local dressage competition. It's that fun time of year again now and we are very lucky to be surrounded by lots of stubble fields so I took Diaz, Milli and Tintin out on the stubble fields for some canter / gallop fitness work. Milli and Tintin thoroughly enjoyed a bit of an open up across the corn fields and Diaz too found it great fun, well, once she'd realised how to actually gallop and not just do an over enthusiastic canter.....she can really shift herself!
That just left one horse un-ridden and, yep, it was Roxie who was getting to go to a party. It has been almost 18 months since our crushing XC fall last year at Tweseldown and it's safe to say she was just a happy to be back out competing as I was, especially considering the initial outcome we were given and the long recovery journey we have been on! Roxie started to get excited before we even left the yard! I think she just thought she was being treated when I started bathing her but then when I started plaiting her she knew that meant she was going to a party!!
She loaded herself on to my little lorry as soon as she was put at the bottom of the ramp. On arrival she unloaded and if horses could smile she definitely would have had a HUGE grin on her face! Her little eyes lit up and she looked like all her Christmas' had come at once! I tacked her up and we headed over to the warm up area. She was incredibly excited and just wanted to show off her party trick to everyone - her medium trot - she does love flicking her toes!
It was our turn to go in to do our test and as I'm sure you can imagine after not being out for so long there were some tense moments in our test but she did manage to contain her excitement and performed a nice test. We didn't score a brilliant mark due to some tension and her slight over enthusiasm in some moves but I was happy with our score of 62.8% considering the circumstances etc. This score meant we finished in the top half of competitors in the class in 7th place. I was thrilled with the result and can't wait to get her back out again after a bit more schooling and fitness work. I think the thing I was most pleased about was that she didn't jog in her walk! Simple thing I know but Roxie is prone to getting tense and over excited and has never been able to just walk on a contact so maybe this is the new slightly calmer quieter Roxie?!? To view more pictures and to see a video from our outing, please Click Here!
This weekend is our last weekend before we have lots of exciting competition outings planned including 4 events in the space of 5 weeks! #bringiton!! I may get a quick XC schooling outing in this weekend with a client and there is a SJ and indoor XC competition on at an Equestrian Centre near us so I may take Milli and /or Diaz there for a little play around too!
Until next time,
***Keep Calm & Canter On***
It was our most local event last weekend, Chilham Castle International BE Horse Trials. It has to be one of my favourite events of the season, not just because its 30 minutes away from us, but because it is so well run and everybody is so friendly which all makes for a great day out!
We certainly had a great day out with Diaz. It was her second ever event and after Borde Hill a few weeks ago where I'd hoped she learnt a lot I was hoping for a confident run with her and that's exactly what she gave me! We started the day off picking up a respectable 35.0 in our dressage which put us just outside the top ten after this phase. I was particularly pleased with how well she worked as there was a combine in the field behind our arena, and just as I turned down the centre line to start my test the combine emptied into a trailer which was parked behind the wall behind the judges car!! There was lots of little bits of wheat and dust blowing our direction but this didn't bother Diaz too much, just slightly frustrating as we would have lost a few marks for her head shakes due to the little bits up her nose etc!
We now had a few hours before our SJ & XC rounds so I got a bite to eat and went of to walk the courses. The XC course looked nice and inviting with a few testing fences as well. Considering the lack of rain we have had recently the ground wasn't too bad and they really made an effort to make it as good as possible with plenty of sand on the take off and landings.
After a wander around the course, sitting and watching some of the Showjumping and checking the scores it was soon time to tack up again and head for our jumping. 85cm looks very tiny after jumping some 1.15m / 1.20m tracks with Roxie last season and Milli more recently, but that didn’t mean it was easy! There was quite a few fences causing the odd problem and with all the trade stands and spectators around the arena at Chilham there is a lot for a baby horse to take in but Diaz coped very well and concentrated on the job in hand. She jumped a super round for me, popping over all the fences easily. We did pick up a very unfortunate 4 faults at the very last fence. It was a black and white jump in the shade right next to a tree and the top pole was mainly black with a small bit of white in the middle and I don’t think she saw the top pole at all as she was on a great stride and when she touched the pole she jumped and tucked her legs up again as if it had made her jump…..bless her!
On my way back from the jumping I heard them calling people for the XC so I decided to get changed and head over there pretty much straight away. In the warm up Diaz knew what part was next, the fun part where you get to go fast!! She really livened up and after a few jumps we headed up to the start box and were quickly off on our way. She started off a bit hesitant as there were lots of people at the start of the course as well as sponsorship banners and flowers by the fences so it was all very bright and gave her lots to look at but she soon got into a lovely rhythm and was jumping through the combinations recently. The further around the course we went the braver she got and she finished the course very confidently and more importantly clear!! I didn’t push her too fast as at this stage in her education it is more important that she has a good round than hammering her round inside the time, plus it was very hot on Saturday!! She finished the course well and got back to normal breathing very quickly which I was pleased with as the course is very hilly at Chilham and the last hill was taking it out of quite a few horses according to the XC commentator!
Once I’d sorted Diaz out I headed over to look at the scores and it showed it was quite hard to get home inside the time as only 9 finished inside the time in my arena, out of 40+ competitors! We finished with 11.2 time faults which resulted in us finishing in 16thplace which I was very pleased with! I also had a look at the top scores as we all do to see where we would have come, if… I was pleased to see that had we finished on our dressage score, which is easily within her capabilities we would have finished in 3rd place, with improvements to her dressage as her education continues she appears to be a very promising horse which is so exciting! I thoroughly enjoy riding her and we seem to have built up such a strong relationship in a relatively short space of time too.....roll on our next events!
Click Here to see some more pictures and a video from our day at Chilham!
Diaz looked great the next day and had a quiet day in the field on Sunday relaxing in the sunshine. I took Roxie and Milli out for a hack together which is something that I haven't done for about 18months but they both behaved beautifully and are much quieter when I ride Roxie and lead Milli. Milli has never been that confident in traffic so I think she feels safe tucked up next to Roxie, and Roxie being the caring horse that she is takes on the mothering role and looks after Milli! Well, until we stepped on to a stubble field and Roxie had a sudden adrenaline rush and started bouncing and cantering on the spot sideways, Milli contained her excitement and just trotted alongside us. They seemed ok so I braved it and let Roxie canter on and Milli was doing a nice extended trot alongside us......very easy way of getting them both exercised at the same time and they clearly love going out together....best friends forever!
Until next time,
***Keep Calm & Canter On***
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