Again, another very overdue blog so I don’t really know where to start as there has been so much going on!
I’ll start by recapping on a brilliant week at Tattersalls back at the beginning of June.
We took Lady Venetia Hardy’s, Max (Maximus Meridius), for his first CCI2* and my father’s, Archie (Arise Cavalier), for his first three-day in the CCIYH*. I buddied up with my great friend Jess Acheson and big thanks to her for letting us travel in her lovely lorry.
Both horses did good dressage tests. I was slightly disappointed with Archie’s as we had one really big mistake in an otherwise lovely test but I was still pleased with his general way of going and how he coped. Little Max tried his heart out in his test but it was a rather intimidating warming up alongside Jonelle Price and a very leggy, beautiful big grey mare and I felt decidedly small! However, he still got a really good mark and we were all delighted.
The cross-country courses were beautifully built, up to height, very ditchy and there were five water jumps!
I am not going to lie, I was definitely very nervous for Max in the two-star as everyone decided it was one of the biggest they had seen at this level. However, I need not have worried as the little legend positively flew round, eating it for breakfast, finishing well under the optimum time and as I found out later was actually the fastest round; not bad for a horse with his little legs! He really did give me such a great ride and I was very proud, as was his delighted owner/breeder.
Archie was a superstar too and felt really confident in the one-star, coming home with a lovely clear and also comfortably within the time.
Both trotted up really well on the Sunday. Having not done a three-day with either of them I wasn’t sure how they would come out and showjump. Sadly it wasn’t quite our day. Archie had an uncharacteristic two down and although Max jumped really well he also rolled two poles. Both still finished inside the top 25, so although neither of their performances were completely polished there were lots of positives to take out of the week.
While these two had a little mid-season break after Tattersalls I could really concentrate on all my babies.
Di White Hamilton’s five-year-old mare Sweet Pea (Wish Upon A Diamond Too) has been improving in leaps and bounds. In her last three outings at BE100 level she has jumped double clear, latterly picking up a sixth and seventh in two very competitive five-year-old sections at Bicton and Dauntsey.
Di’s other five-year-old, Balou (True Blue Too), has also had a couple of good outings but we have decided to take him off the circuit for the summer to concentrate on strengthening him up and improving his dressage. He has a very big canter so had just begun to struggle in the arena which then started to get him a bit worried about it all. Taking a step back and giving him time to work it out himself will hopefully prove to be the right thing to do in the long run.
The lovely Dougie (Doograne Commanche), owned by Rupert Nuttall has also been going great guns. He has now completed his first two novices jumping double clear and finishing third and 10th. He is a super six-year-old who is improving really fast and is a serious prospect for the future. I took him on as a project to sell for the owner which is sad as I would love to continue competing him!
Nick Engert’s six-year-old Effie (Augusta Firely) has had a bit of a stop/start couple of months having picked up a couple of minor niggles. But she felt better than ever in the novice at Dauntsey having an unlucky rail but a lovely clear cross-country.
My mother’s homebred ex-racehorse, Smartie (Aberdare Lady), did her very first event at Dauntsey last week jumping a lovely double clear to finish ninth. She took everything in her stride and seems to be really enjoying her new role. She is also sadly for sale.
In the midst of all this I managed to sneak away on holiday for a few days of sun and R&R. It was great just to completely switch off and I came back freshened up and ready to get cracking for the second half of the season. This wouldn’t be possible without my fantastic team at home so massive thank you to mum, head groom Bridget and our part-time girl Kelsey.
I have a very busy schedule for the rest of the season and I’m looking forward to consolidating all the young horses at their respective levels before hopefully stepping them up for one or two runs at the end of the season. Archie will be aimed at an autumn CIC2*, Max another CCI2* and Dougie and Effie a CCI1*.
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I must say a quick thank you to my fantastic sponsors, Unicorn Saddlery and Hermione Gayton Equine Physiotherapist, for their continued support.