Winner winner! I’ve had my first victory of the season. I was delighted that Effie (Augusta Firefly) won her novice section at West Wilts. Her owner, Nick Engert, is a fantastic supporter and I’m so pleased to get a win for him on his lovely mare.
Effie is only little but she always tries her hardest for you, a very important trait in an event horse. She followed up her win with a fantastic third in the intermediate at Nunney last weekend. She was a complete pro from start to finish. She isn’t a big, flashy mover but was rewarded for a very accurate and obedient test for a 29.3 — her personal best at intermediate level. She then jumped an immaculate double clear, picking up a handful of cross-country time faults. The cross-country course was very educational and caused plenty of problems, but I think Helen West did a great job in her first year as course designer. Effie is only seven but gave me such a classy ride — I am very excited about her! She now has her qualification for the intermediate championships at Gatcombe in 2018 and will be heading there for the novice championships this year.
Nick Engert’s other delightful mare, Edie (Aunt Augusta), has had a good couple of novice runs. She is quite a big girl and is taking longer to mature and strengthen up so we have given her plenty of time. She was fourth at West Wilts and just finished out the placings at Nunney but gave me a lovely cross-country ride.
Di White-Hamilton’s, Balou (True Blue Too) had a little mid-season break and enjoyed a good run back in the novice at Nunney. He too just finished out the placings but he is a six-year-old I am incredibly excited about. He makes everything feel so easy and is a very scopey horse in both his jump and gallop. He has a bit of a delicate personality so we will be taking him steadily to make sure he grows in confidence every time he runs.
The baby of the yard, five-year-old Leo (Sportsfield Global Warrior), has had his first two BE100 runs. He did his first one at West Wilts where he behaved exceedingly badly in the dressage! I certainly did not appreciate the extra movements he decided to throw in, so unsurprisingly neither did the dressage judge! He redeemed himself slightly by jumping well. I was therefore delighted when he was like a completely different horse in the dressage at Nunney. He did a stunning test marred only by a baby wobble in the canter to get a 29.3. He went very green in the atmospheric showjumping arena and sadly had the second fence down. He was then super cross-country around another educational Helen West track. He grew in confidence all the way round which is exactly what you want. He is a very big horse and is going to take time to grow into his frame but he is exceptionally talented. I feel very lucky to have some seriously nice young horses in my yard to ride and I have to thank my owners for being so supportive and encouraging, even when things don’t go to plan.
I’ve now got a weekend off to get all dressed up and spend a day at Royal Ascot and then we are off to Ireland next week with Archie (Arise Cavalier) running in the CIC2* at Kilguilkey House.