Well everything has got back to normal after a magical week away at Badminton, which seems ages ago now. Blue has had a week off and managed to grow a very sucessful food baby! So I had to get back to work with her and make a plan as to what we do next. Everything this year had been aimed towards to Badminton, so now that it’s over and I didn’t fall off or crash in the show jumping I feel that we could try to move up a level and try some BE100. We will just have to see how it goes and although she made the trip Xc at Badminton feel easy, the extra technical lines and quicker time she will need to do at BE100, may not be so easy to get. If she starts struggling with the time Xc or the Show Jumping we may have to stick at BE90 but we will give it a bash! Firstly though I just needed one more regional final ticket for the BE90, just incase the wheels fall off in the BE100, so I can try and go back to Badminton next year.
On one of the wettest days of the year so far we headed off to Mount Ballan, I’ve been to Mount Ballan for the past two years and although it is generally wet up to the day, I’ve always managed to stay dry and dodge the rain. However this year it wasn’t going to be the case and it was definitely a day when no hoof oil was required! After walking the course, early in the morning, I thought we might be ok and that the ground was holding up well on the top part of the course. After the first change of wet clothes, I was leaving it to the last minute to get her out of the lorry and get us both wet through again! The dressage arena and warm up resembled a rugby pitch after 10 games of rugby, we were all just ploughing about trying to warm up. She actually goes ok in the mud better than hard ground but this was pretty slippy, the girl before me, in the dressage, had to get the dressage judge to pluck her shoe out of the arena, which was sucked off by the mud! We did a good test in the conditions, I did have a little chuckle to my self half way through the test as it was just ridiculous really trying to stay upright let alone, bend, balance and be supple. It must be awful for the judges to try and mark these tests especially as the day goes on and the ground conditions deteriorate. We slid back to the lorry to get ready for the show jumping, which luckily was on a surface.
She jumped a great round show jumping and we heard we had a dressage of 31.3 I didn’t know whether that was good mark in my section or not. The lorry by this stage was filled with wet and really muddy tack and clothes and condensated windows, I was glad to get my jacket off which was stuck to my arms! I got ready quickly for Xc and we headed off to the start. The warm up again was pretty brown so I kept it to a minimum, the parts of the course that you could see from the collecting ring didn’t look as bad as I thought they would, so we set of at our normal pace from the start. I was quite late to go in the section and the course, down the back, showed that a lot of traffic had passed through and made the going really deep and boggy! I pushed on on the bits I could but I wasn’t prepared to gallop through some of stretches of deep mud, she’s too good to damage, She jumped everything but we got 2.8 time faults. This dropped us from second to eighth, slightly frustrating after going through all that, but we were home safe and sound and Blue was all in tact. Unfortunately for the organisers the competition was abandoned at the end of my section, Mother Nature had won the day on this occasion.
After a few days off and a change in the weather to baking hot! We got back to some training on the flat with Nicola Buchanan, we have BD regionals coming up so we need to revist our mediums and have a tweak up. We had a really good lesson and I felt she was going really well by the end of it. Although it was on one of the hottest days of the year, in the afternoon, I resembled a beetroot by the time we finished!
Next was some British Showjumping at West Wilts. Show jumping is the discipline I’ve neglected most, luckily for me Blues very careful and helps me out a lot. I have to make myself go to SJ, I think it’s because it’s just training as I’m very rarely quick enough to be competitive and because we don’t do against the clock in BE it generally more about doing nice rounds than anything else. I’m also used to having times at either BD or BE and find the waiting around to go or sudden influx of late entry’s boring! However today I was on mission to do the British Novice and then the Discovey, so I am up to speed with the BE100 showjumping. We did a good round in the BN and although we could have done with a little bit more impulsion into a few, we made some good turns and managed a win! Part of me wanted to leave it there and go home on a good note but I made myself stay and jump the Discovery, we did another good round but I just rolled one pole. I was really pleased, as that was the first Discovery I’ve done on her, we can now progress on with a bit more confidence that, We Can Do This!!!!
Pontispool was the next event on our calendar, the Last BE90 before we move up a level. I sat down in the week and gave myself a bit of a talking to to try and get myself back into the right mindset of being competitive and organised at my events. I went over stuff I had learnt with Charlie Unwin and looked back at my notes that I make after I compete or have training, which I have neglected to do off late, I felt well prepared and positive. I arrived early and after sorting Blue out with some breakfast, went and wálked the course on my own, concentrating on my minute markers and fences. When I got back I walked Blue in hand over to the dressage arenas to stretch her legs and see what the ground was like and whether I needed any studs. Blue had a nice pick of grass and a piddle, which was ideal before dressage! I sat in lorry in the quiet and went through my test and then the Xc course again. Tacked up we headed to the dressage, I made sure I was really strict and made her go through the movements we had done in our previous lesson. She was on my side today and was being really responsive and obedient. We did a really good test and although I had to work hard it felt really good and I was really happy we had done our best.
Show Jumping at Pontispool BE
I walked the show jumping and watched a few go, the commentator was announcing the dressage mark half way round the course so I needed to find out what mine was before I jumped. We had got 25! That’s more like it, shame she couldn’t have done that for me at Badminton, but we were back in the game! I tried to block the score out of mind going into show jumping but it’s quite difficult when you know you definitely need to get a clear and make it count. We went clear, relief, our round was ok, not the most stylish but clear none the less.
Xc at Pontispool BE
Now the fun bit, luckily the weather had cooled down a bit by the time I got to Xc and we had spits of rain, which was nice on my overheating red face! We set of and we’re hitting the minute markers on time, she was not as fluent Jumping the Xc fences as she was at Badminton, I think the going there was so lovely it gives the horses lots of confidence and what with going to mount Ballan in between where the take off and landing were not so nice, she was just a little hesitant at the take offs a few times, but we went clear and in the time to finish on our dressage and Win my section!! Get In!!
Quite a few of my friends were also there competing and had also got some really good results, my friend and neighbour Cheryl Chamberlain competed both her chestnut mares for a Win in one section and a top 5 placing. Alisha Coombes who we camped, competed and partied with at Badminton came 5th in the under18 BE100 which is a very competitive class. So a good day was had by all! I had the tunes on going home singing away to myself and I would love to say that the journey home was a good one after a good day but after finishing Xc at 5ish and sorting Blue out, I left later to find the A303 was shut and had to do all the windy back roads to get home. Alan and the boys were waiting and ready to help me when I arrived home at 9.30pm It was a really long day, but a very enjoyable day out eventing!