I have just got back from a fantastic week’s holiday travelling around Croatia with a couple of great friends. It was the perfect break, getting some sun, rest and relaxation — although to my dismay I got back to hear England had been basking in a heat wave too!

Before I went away we were at Barbury Castle and Tweseldown. At Barbury I had Archie (Arise Cavalier) in the Dubarry Burghley Young Event horse qualifier, Skippy (Abakala Flagmount) in the novice and Myrtle (In Vogue II) doing the guinea pig test in the CIC2* arena.

Archie (pictured) went really well but sadly the dressage judge and conformation judge didn’t take to him so we didn’t make it into the final 10. Still, it is a great education for the young horses to be able to compete at such a big event as Barbury with all the atmosphere and lots of things to look at.

I was thrilled with Skippy in the novice as it was quite an ask for only his second one, with a tough cross-country. He did a good dressage for 35.5, but a jockey error showjumping meant we had one down. But he flew round the cross-country for a lovely clear, gaining in confidence as he went round.

Myrtle had a really good practice doing the two-star test. It was quite a lot for her to do but she coped well and was given a decent mark, so it’s encouraging to know there is a lot more to come. I now know what I need to work on for when she does her first two-star towards the end of the season.

We then had Archie and Myrtle at Tweseldown where Archie was doing his first novice and Myrtle her second intermediate. Although the results don’t look great on paper I was so excited by how Archie went. As only a five-year-old — and having been quite a challenge at the beginning of the year — he felt very grown up and took the step up in his stride.

He just had a really silly baby stop very near home, when he missed his stride into a combination having done a lovely clear showjumping. Myrtle also went well but a jockey error meant we had a silly run out cross-country. A slightly frustrating day when it’s only silly mistakes — but they happen and you just try and make sure they don’t happen again!


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