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We had a fantastic weekend out eventing at South of England BE Horse Trials with both horses. SofE is one of my favourite events in the south east and this year was one of the best yet, although I have to admit I was a little nervous! It was Milli’s first Novice run and Roxie’s first Intermediate of the season so I wanted to get good runs under our belts as they are both horses I have backed / re-trained and produced to event myself…….no pressure then!
First to go was Milli and with a 9:18am dressage my alarm was set for some ridiculously early hour once again but we made it there on time. On arrival I got the horses settled then we set of to walk the XC courses, I concentrated on Milli’s mainly but also had a look at Roxie’s as I went round, and as usual at SofE the novice course was a nice introduction for younger horses to this level with alternatives at some of the more complex combinations and the Intermediate was, well let’s just say, it looked a TOUGH track!!
Dressage was first and Milli is now so much fitter and feeling very well indeed which resulted in a rather wild Milli in the warm up. She did calm down and performed some lovely movements in her test but she also added a few extra movements in which resulted in us scoring 38.5 which was mid-field after dressage……I think she must have asked Roxie how you make dressage more fun!
Next was the jumping and it was a very big track, with two doubles downhill but it seemed to be riding well so after warming up well we went in. Milli jumped really well and as usual made it feel like a 95cm track not 1.10m! We did pick up a very unlucky 4 faults at an oxer half way round after she dropped behind me leg a little bit so she didn’t quite make the width, but after touching that pole she made sure she didn’t touch another that was for sure!
Next was our XC and I hadn’t decided if I was going direct at some of the combinations so I decided to wait and see how she felt once we got out on the course. This question was answered very early on as she felt like a pro, so we went all the direct routes and she gave me an awesome ride. We jumped a super clear and she felt very bold and brave for a young horse who’s not 6 until May! She felt quite fast too, I steadied her up so she could assess what she had to jump, especially at the combinations, but she still took out the odd stride out like at the fence into the water…..that felt a big jump! We later found that we picked up just 6.8 time penalties which was great as quite a lot had double figure time penalties so with a bit more experience under her belt she’ll make the time easily J
After sorting Milli out once we returned from XC it was now time to get Roxie all ready for her dressage…..the term no rest for the wicked sprung to mind! I was trying a new warm up routine with Roxie which has been working well at home so I thought I’d put it to the test in competition! I think it’s safe to say it worked, she remained calm and attentive all the way throughout her test and walked when she was supposed to walk and didn’t jog…..for once! I was very pleased with how she went and even more pleased to find out later that the judge agreed with us and scored us 35.0 which is a PB for us at Intermediate level!
Although it felt like we’d been there hours it was only 1pm but I now had 2 hours before Roxie ‘s jumping so I went and got something to eat and went out to look at some of the combinations on Roxie’s XC course again. I love my XC but being only just over 5 foot does make the fences big, especially the bullfinch fences which I can’t see over!!! Even though it was a big course I couldn’t wait to get out there, but first was the jumping, which we all know can be Roxie’s nemesis…..
I have been trying a variety of bits recently and, ‘touch wood’ I think I’ve found the right one. She was jumping brilliantly in the warm up so in we went. Like the novice it was a very big track, 1.20m all the way round with two doubles downhill and a treble as well, 10 fences, 14 jumping efforts which I did think was quite a lot for an eventing SJ track. Roxie jumped a really nice round, in fact it felt like the best round we’ve ever jumped. Unfortunately we did pick up 8 faults, the first part of the double of up-rights downhill…..I think she was busy looking at the filler on the second part and just didn’t jump quite big enough, and the last part of the triple where she just got a bit close. I was really pleased with how well she jumped and there was very few clear rounds across the intermediate sections and many with double figures faults!
Now with a quick change the adrenaline really got pumping and off we went for our XC round. The plan was to go direct at all the combinations and really test Roxie out, and her response was……challenge accepted! She really responded well and jumped her little socks off for me, flying through the direct routes all the way round and jumping a super clear! We went quite fast as well but this still didn’t tire her out as we got, one of those ‘flyer’ strides to the last fence and she just took off after…..I think she was disappointed when she realised she’d finished! I was even more pleased when I found out we only got 5.6 time faults, 6th fastest in our arena!
It was a very long day, not quite as long as our day out at Goring a few weeks ago but I was lucky as mum did the driving then, this time round I had to do the driving and I have to say the drive home felt very long! The horses and all of us in the car wanted our beds!
Although there was no placings this time I couldn’t have been more chuffed with how well they ran, with both horses performing brilliantly in all three disciplines and more importantly showing how much more they both have to offer for the future I'm getting rather excited…………roll on the next few events J! For more pictures and great videos of Roxie and Milli please check out their Gallery pages!
***Keep Calm & Canter On***