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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***