This week, my lorry has been taken to PAC HorseBox Repair to have its end of the year check and have a few bits and bobs changed. I only bought this lorry in March (in fact, only the day before our season started at Oasby) and it has been absolutely amazing to work in. Having PAC HorseBoxes help me with the general workings of the truck means that a completely useless mechanical mind like mine is never stuck in a horrid situation!

Unfortunately, not having the truck for a week means that I haven’t had the chance to get horses out showjumping or dressage test riding. However, it did mean that we had the opportunity to sneak up to Newcastle to see the fellow event rider Amy Young and her family for her father’s 60th surprise birthday party. With all this socialising, I don’t know how I’m going to fit riding in!

I have, however, started looking at the event diary for next year with the horses — it’s a long old winter and we’ve all got to have something to look forward to! The international fixtures aren’t finalised yet, but it’s exciting to see where in the country we could take the 8-year-olds, such as Quality Purdey (pictured), who was second in the 7-year-old championships this autumn.

I have been asking a lot of people’s opinion lately on where you are best to aim 8-year-olds. I know it is individual to each horse, but there are so many differing views on the best progression for this age group.

A move up to advanced level is a big step, but one I feel an 8-year-old who is on track in its training should make without any real issue. The big debate seems to be when to do a first CIC3*, or even a CCI.

Unfortunately, as these horses are all individuals, the best option I feel is to play it by ear. This means that I don’t think you can make concrete plans with a horse of this age until you see how they move up to advanced. This ideally happens in the middle of the year anyway, so then you only have the latter half of the season to work with.

I suppose looking at the event calendar so early might be a bad idea! I think it might be best to just stick to doing lots of dressage and showjumping, and see where next season takes us. We have to survive the freezing conditions first anyway…

Lauren

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