I cant believe we are nearly at the end of April already......where is this year going?! After having a slow start to the year competition wise due to me concentrating on my running training, now I had finished this and more importantly completed all 26.2 miles of the Brighton Marathon, although rather tired, I couldn't wait to get back out competing with Roxie and Milli and start to bring Diaz back into work properly.
With 2 days rest post marathon I was still feeling incredibly tired as well as feeling rather sore and stiff, but I started packing Fiona (my little lorry - Fiona the Ford!) slowly as I everything I was doing was slightly slower than normal, and after Roxie and Milli were loaded we started our journey 'Up North' for the Easter Extravaganza British Showjumping Show held at Weston Lawns.
After 5 hours on the road due to a bit of traffic we arrived, got camp set up and Roxie and Millie settled in their stables. As I'd arrived mid afternoon there was plenty of time to give them both a ride around and a leg stretch before the few days jumping we had ahead of us.
Milli was first to jump on the Thursday and we were in the main ring jumping the 1.05m open to get started. Milli was jumping a cracking round until the 2nd to last fence which was an open water. She has never jumped one of these, she is fine jumping water trays so I didn't think she would find it too scary so I didn't over ride it as she can then get a bit vary. Unfortunately on the stride before take off Milli decided that it was quite scary and stopped. I gave her a pat and brought her round to it again and she flew straight over it and finished the course well. Putting this behind us and down to experience as now at least she has jumped an open water!
After a short break over lunch Roxie was next and she was jumping in the back ring. We had the 95cm Open first and to say Roxie was rather excited to be back out competing would have been a huge understatement. We entered the ring flashing our twinkle toes and doing a rather impressive extended trot! We started our round, well I say our round, I mean Roxie started her round with me sat on top, holding on as a passenger. The only control I had was guiding her from fence to fence, she decided the speed. Because of this a few poles came down!
Day 2 and with a change of bit on Roxie I now had control.....a snaffle just wasn't enough when she hasn't been out competing for almost 3 months clearly?! Roxie was jumping in the main ring today and she liked it in there and jumped a super speedy double clear to finish in 8th place in the 90cm Open out of 100+ entries!
Milli was next jumping in the 1m Open class and lets just say Milli had a temper tantrum during her round! She can do this from time to time and become rather tricky and very cheeky! We came out, jumped a few jumps in the warm up and then went for a nice hack around the show ground and decided to leave it there for the day and start again tomorrow.
The next day Roxie was jumping her usual class and I decided to drop Milli down and jumped her in the discovery as well so she could have a confidence boosting round. They both jumped two great rounds to finish in 9th and 10th place.......I won't tell Roxie that Milli beat her though!
Day 4 and for the first time we got to have a bit of a lie-in as neither horse was jumping until after lunch. Roxie was first to go in the 95cm Open and she jumped a nice round but unfortunately had the last fence down after we did an incredibly tight 'pony' type turn and jumped the last on a very acute angle which was a same as she was very speedy! Roxie just jumped the one class on day 4 as she was starting to feel a little tired.
Milli was next and she rubbed a few poles for 8 faults in the discovery, she was rushing slightly against my contact and not really respecting the fences that much as they were smaller than what she has been jumping. After a few months jumping in a hackamore I was jumping her back in a bit which seemed to help but she was a bit argumentative over the contact. Persevering with this new way of riding we jumped in the next class, the 1.05m Open and she jumped a really lovely double clear. With cutting a few corners in the jump off section of the class we managed to pick up quite a speedy time too and finished in 4th place!
On to our final day now.....how times flies when your having fun!? As we were travelling back Monday afternoon I decided to only jump them both in the first class in the main arena so we could be on the road and heading home soon after lunch so we weren't back too late. Roxie was first and she does love jumping in the main arena there, she's a real show off!! Roxie jumped a lovely round but unfortunately we did pick up 8 faults. The faults didn't reflect the round she jumped the whole course in a lovely rhythm and did great turns, just with the fences being a bit bigger than what she usually jumps and her being a bit tired after the week away she just tapped two fences.
Milli was next and after how well she jumped in the 1.05m Open the day before I was hoping for a good round to end the show on. She felt great warming up despite the fact it was day 5 of jumping! We went in and Milli jumped a super round but just got a bit careless behind at fence 2 so we finished on 4 faults. After she had this I knew we had missed out on a placing as there was so many in the class so I thought I'd test her a little bit and she responded well and jumped a very quick jump-off part of the course so had she picked her tootsies up at fence 2 we could have had a top placing!
Despite it being a bank holiday Monday we only had one slight delay with traffic on the M6 during our drive home which was lucky and the journey took us just over 4 hours. As we had got home early evening and the sun was out Roxie and Milli got to have a bit of time in the field which they really appreciated. Diaz was certainly pleased to see us get home - hopefully she will be there with us at our next stay away show!
Although it wasn't the best results on paper, I was very pleased with how they both jumped and we learnt a lot which is always important. Due to all the fitness training I have been doing before Weston Lawns, we had only been out to one SJ competition and that was the second weekend of January so we were a little out of practice. With the horses feeling fresh and excited to be out jumping again and me not feeling 100% as I was still incredibly tired plus a bit sore and stiff from my marathon run two days before we left, I was pleased with how we got on.....roll on the next!!
For more images as well as a video of our rounds whilst we were away please click on the following links to be taken to the various Gallery pages:
Up next we have second round qualifiers with Roxie competing in the British Novice and Milli in the Discovery so fingers crossed for them both at these during May. Then as we approach the summer months I'm already looking for our next stay away show :)
Until next time,
You'll find regular updates on this page with all the very latest news on everything that we have been up too!