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 a quick results update after a fantastic weekend with all three of my girls out competing picking up many placing's and prizes. On second thoughts it might not be that quick so maybe grab a coffee and some biscuits before you sit down and have a read! :)
With a relatively early start I got Roxie and Milli schooled, the yard all sorted, fields cleared, Diaz bathed and plaited, the lorry loaded and off to Munstead BE Horse Trials we went! The weather was lovely and after the journey taking us longer than expected due to traffic and road closures we arrived safely, unloaded the horses and set of to walk the XC. This was Diaz's first run around an affiliated 90cm track and after her super run around the unaffiliated 90cm track at Chilham I was sure she was ready for it!
Dressage was first and she started warming up brilliantly doing some lovely trot and canter work! She did unfortunately begin to get a bit tense before we went in which reflected in our test and mark which I think was due to the SJ arena being so close and also lorries and trailers going past close to the dressage arenas. Despite slight tension we scored a respectable 38.5 for our test.
With our times being at the end of the day we had very little time to do much in between other than change tack and clothes so before we knew it we were changed and in the SJ warm up which Diaz found very exciting - change of seasons and all that, I think she is feeling very well. After a warm up we went in and started our round. Due to it being later on in the day there were some patches of shade as one side of the arena had trees near by, on the approach to fence 3 I came around the corner in the shade and then there were two strides in the sunshine before the fence. The fence was bright white poles with very spooky wall illusion fillers underneath and it took Diaz by surprise causing a run out! I think it was because of dark into light and her eyes didn't adjust in time and it just caught her off guard, bless her! On second approach she flew straight over it and finished the rest of the round beautifully. I cut the corners a bit but we still picked up 3 time faults unfortunately.
Putting this behind us we had a quick change of tack and got ready for our XC. I was keen to get out there and see how she responded to it as there was plenty of questions being asked of her with skinny angled fences, angled palisades, coffin combination, an owl hole and a big trakehner with an angled pole across the top! Considering the majority of the fences were also in the BE100 Diaz made it feel like a complete walk in the park and she flew around clear! When we jumped the owl hole I had a little chuckle to myself as she hesitated slightly on approach as the 'hole' through was very small and considering she has never been asked to jump a fence like this yet I was chuffed she took it all in her stride, on take off she poked her nose out as far as possible, taking the streamline approach through with her ears flat back....bless her!
I was even more pleased when I found out that we were 20 seconds inside the time XC and considering I didn't push her that much for speed she is definitely learning how to open up her stride when running across the country which is great news! On looking at the score boards later on I was very pleased with how she had gone finishing in 11th place even if finishing that close to the placing's can be a little frustrating I came away chuffed with the day and it was another confidence building run under our belts and she is continuing to learn more and more each time out which is what is most important! My sister Sophie did very well on mum's 'big' Milli picking up a 8th placing in the same section!
With a not so early start the following day the horses were all put out in the field for a bit of a leg stretch whilst we did the yard, cleaned and unloaded the lorry and trailer from our trip to Munstead and started to get everything ready for our next competition. We didn't have so far to travel for this competition which is always a bonus, just 15 minutes!! It was Shotfield Farm Equestrian Dressage championship show, they have had a series running through out the summer and after only going to two shows due to eventing commitments I was lucky enough to have qualified both Roxie and Milli for the Novice and Elementary Championships.
We had four horses from the Team Gadd / SG Eventing yard there and the day got of to a great start with Adele Kleeman, a friend of my sisters who has been helping us on the yard a riding Todd a bit. They finished in 3rd place in the walk and trot championships! Sophie then did a great dressage test in the second Prelim championships to score 70+% and won the class!
Next was The Roma Hollingworth Novice Dressage Championships and Milli and I were first in. The prize giving for the prelim championships had got her a bit excited as they all did a lap of honour in the main arena to music but I used this to my advantage and managed to get some lovely work out of her! Milli was excited to be back out after having a bit of time off so called to other horses once and put in the odd little buck of excitement which made us loose some marks, we still managed to score 71% which I was very pleased with and this resulted in a 4th placing!
Next up in the Novice was Sophie and 'big' Milli and they did a lovely test to finish in 5th place! Last to go in the Novice was Roxie and she warmed up brilliantly but she has done this many times before and then turned into a tense over excitable TB in the actual arena. I was trotting around before my test waiting for the bell and she was still remaining nice and chilled and she went on to perform an absolutely stunning test remaining calm throughout! The walk at the end of the test was a big question for Roxie as she is prone to a small jog as I pick up the reins after a free walk and we had to walk up the centre line to finish but she didn't jog once!! As I left the arena the judge got out of her box and commented on how elegant and beautifully ridden our test was!
As there was mounted prize giving's after each test I stayed on as I knew Milli was placed and had hoped that Roxie would have got in the placing's as it felt like she did a super test. They announced over the tannoy who needed to be on for the mounted prize giving as I was called on both horses which I was pleased with and even more pleased when I was approached and asked to dismount so they could put the rug on Roxie and I was given a sash.....Yes we had won!!!!! We scored a whopping 78.1% which is by far the beast score Roxie has ever achieved with mainly 8's down her sheet!! There were a few tears from me and mum when we found out how well Roxie had done, especially when we both thought back to how we so nearly lost her 18 months ago and how hard she has fought despite the odds to still be here today let alone be back out competing and doing what she loves best!! Roxie loved being centre stage and posed for lots of pictures during the prize giving and for the lap of honour she didn't want to canter she wanted to show off her medium / extended trot!!
After all this excitement I was first in the Elementary Championships on Roxie who had gotten a little bit tense but after a while in the warm up she calmed down a bit a performed a nice test, Roxie always performs better when there is more asked of her so this test really suited her. Unfortunately we lost 6 marks as I went wrong twice, well didn't really go wrong - I had learnt E49 from 2002 and not the one from 2009 which has two additional movements in it.....note for next time - always check I'm learning the correct year for the test!!! I was so annoyed as I later found out, when we finished in 3rd on 68% that losing those 6 marks cost us the win!!
Milli was last to go in the E49 and after my mistakes in the first class someone very kindly called the test for me! Milli performed a lovely test and it really feels like her medium trots are starting to come along nicely now! Plus I was very pleased that she didn't offer me a flying change in the counter canter which she tends to be cheeky and do. I was called on both horses for the mounted prize giving for this class and knew Roxie had finished 3rd but was unsure where Milli had finished. Milli and I had finished in 2nd place with a score of 69% just 1% of winning which I was very pleased with.
For the Elementary prize giving Milli found it all very exciting doing the lap of honour to music! We were then called to a final prize giving for the points championship and I got 5th place....not bad considering I've only been to 3 of the 6 of the competitions!
To view Gallery updates with lots of lovely pictures and videos of tests please click on the following links for each horse: Roxie.. Milli..
After a busy weekend, a weekend at home would be nice but not as nice as being out at an event.....Diaz is back out again this weekend competing in the BE90 class at Tweseldown Horse Trials. I'm very much looking forward to this event in particular seeing the improvements and new fences that have been built at Tweseldown since it has been taken over by new people! Plus it will be nice to have a much needed catch up with Paul from Ultimate Images who is the photographer at the event! Apologies for this update being so long but I hope you have had a good read and liked the many pictures and videos!! :)
***Keep Calm & Canter On***
We had another great weekend out eventing with Diaz last weekend, this time back at our most local event Chilham Park. We were having only our second run at the 95cm level and it was nice to get around the majority of the BE90 course at Chilham in the unaffiliated event.
Dressage was first, and after picking up comments about her looking slightly tense at her last event I was determined to get some softer work out of her and have been working very hard on it all at home! She was warming up very well and just as I was thinking we were ready to go over, the steward came and called us to say we could go over.....good timing!! Diaz performed a lovely test and I came away very happy with the work and it was by far the best test we have done together so far! I was even happier when I found out we had a new PB score as we picked up a score of 33.5. There were a few scores in the late 20's so we were about mid field.
I had a bit of a break between dressage and the jumping phases so I headed out to walk the XC course. After Diaz not being too sure of the skinny fences at Bonfleur we have done a bit of work at home on narrow fences so I was keen to see how much she had learnt, and I also took time when walking the course to concentrate on the lines up to the skinny fences, both those as 'B' elements of combinations and those skinny fences on their own.
After having a bite to eat it was time for our show jumping. The course seemed to be jumping well and after Diaz warmed up nicely I was confident and ready to go in. Diaz jumped a super round for me and after a change of bit recently she responded and listened to me the whole way round and jumped a super clear!!
On to the cross country and I knew we had it all to play for now so I was determined to give Diaz another confident boosting round but this time I was also asking her to pick up the pace a bit to get as new to the optimum time as possible. Diaz felt super and kept responding every time I put my leg on and asked for a bit more speed. She was also jumping very confidently, flying through the water at a strong canter and out over the brightly coloured house, wasting no time at all. She grew in confidence the whole way round and I think she wondered why I was steadying her up so much in front of some fences, but I wanted to ensure she was presented correctly at the skinny fences, which she just popped straight over without any hesitation so my work at home as obviously paid off! She flew over the last fence and still felt like there was still plenty in the tank which was very good as it is very hilly at Chilham!
She had jumped a super clear so we had picked up our first double clear and I was even more pleased when I later found out that we were comfortably inside the time! This resulted in us picking up our first placing out eventing together too, on our dressage of 33.5 we finished in 5th place! Diaz had a little support crew of her owners, Janine and Kirstie Leightley along with some of their friends who came to watch her compete and Diaz certainly liked performing in front of a crowd :)
We have a weekend off competing this weekend and then we are out both days next weekend with Diaz eventing on the Saturday and Roxie and Milli out at a local dressage championship show which they have both qualified for on Sunday...wish us luck!
***Keep Calm & Canter On***
I hope you had a nice bank holiday weekend, we did, although it was a very wet one in the South East that was for sure!
Milli has been having a bit of a leisurely few weeks, just doing a bit of hacking and fun work at home, She's had a physio treatment from the fantastic Sofia Graham which showed up a few areas which needed treating. I also had Kelvin Williams, our Equine Dentist out to see all three of my girls last week and he found some sharp edges in Milli's mouth which Kelvin advised could have been causing her some discomfort so hopefully we'll have the usual cheeky Milli back to her normal self in no time. Roxie's teeth were all fine, she just needed a simple rasp around the edges. Diaz was in between them both, she had some little points which Kelvin got rid of for us and she now feels much much better in the contact, a lot more soft and consistent.
Talking about Diaz, it was Diaz that was out competing over the bank holiday weekend, and after her confident run at Chilham I decided that it was time to move her up to BE90 level. I decided as opposed to doing an affiliated BE90 it would be best to enter a Pony Club level 3 event which is the same height but I thought, being Pony Club it may be a more inviting course - how wrong was I?! More on that later.......
After getting stuck in some traffic on the way there we ended up having to get ready straight away for dressage to ensure I had enough time to warm her up sufficiently. She was working very well so we went over to our arena in the corner of the field right by a freshly painted white gate, which as far as Diaz was concerned was deadly! Once we'd got over that fiasco we began our test, she did try and keep one eye on the killer gate at all times which showed some moments of slight tension but there were also parts of the test which showed huge improvement on previous outings so I was a little disappointed with our mark of 38.7 which put us mid field.
We now had a few hours before the jumping phases so I sorted Diaz out and set of to walk the XC course. It started ok with some inviting fences to get us going then fence 3 was a trakehner fence which looked a bit daunting so early on in the course. Then after this there was question after question with very few 'let up' fences for a course at this height / level!
After a few hours sitting watching it was time for the SJ, which was in quite a tight arena and had a few spooky fences and square oxers without any form of ground line or fillers which was causing quite a few knock downs! Diaz was feeling a bit fresh and cheeky in the warm up, to the point that after jumping one of the fences she landed cantered a few strides, squeaked and then did some form of rodeo bull impression, catching me completely off guard which resulted in me having a quick flying lesson. I managed to keep hold of the reins and she looked at me with a very sorry look in her face as if it wasn't meant to happen! after this whenever she squeaked I was ready!! After a few more jumps we went into the ring and she jumped a lovely round picking up a very unfortunate 4 faults after putting in a stride last minute at fence 6 which was very close to the rope and horses were standing outside the arena.
With a quick change of tack, plaits out and a change of clothes we were warming up for the XC. I had decided to take all the direct routes as opposed to doing the alternatives and see how she responded. The answer was very well!! She went straight over the trakehner and straight down the bounce steps which I was very pleased with! We did pick up penalties for two stops unfortunately at the skinny after the castle and the skinny coming out of the water. Neither skinny fence had anything encouraging you to stay central like trees / flowers at the side which there are normally at this level BE so I think Diaz just got a bit confused and thought they were in the way.....mental note made to do some more skinny practice at home before our next event! There was two skinny bullfinch type brush fences on the course which had the top lot of bush shaped in a U encouraging you towards the middle and she went straight over these first time and on approach second time to the other two skinnies we came out of a trot and she understood it and jumped straight over it. at this stage in her education she is still learning from every outing so there are going to be the odd situation pop up but all in all I was very impressed with how she ran and coped with the more technical fences really well :)
I'm not entirely sure exactly where we finished as we left before the prize giving as it had been a long day so I wanted to get Diaz back home to chill out. I had hoped to find out how we did time wise as we really stepped up a gear speed wise and she still finished full of running which is always a positive thing. For more pictures and a video from the day please Click Here!
We are back out eventing this weekend too, another outing for Diaz, this time at an unaffiliated event at our most local BE event venue, Chilham Park. Fingers crossed for another positive run at BE90 level.....will let you know how we get on early next week.
***Keep Calm & Canter On***