Well, a busy week to report.

On Wednesday we went to Somerford Park Farm, near Holmes Chapel, with a lorry full of the youngsters, as they had put on a pre-season show jumping competition. All the horses jumped well, even though they had some new very scary fillers, nasty pigs and big bright rosettes.

We then took them down to the cross-country schooling field, which is an excellent facility to have so close to home as there is a 50 acre field with the whole variety of cross-country fences. Play time! They all enjoyed themselves.

Friday was our first eventing outing of the year — the BE100 at Stafford — and it didn’t go entirely without problems. Both Chequers Superstar (“Star”) and Precious Z (“Precious”) were very good in the dressage. For their first time, I tried to make it as enjoyable as possible, to help introduce the dressage as a stress- and tension-free exercise. Then they both jumped well over a very bright and dressed show jumping course, with just one pole down apiece.

Both were a little green on the cross-country, with a few teething problems for me to iron out before their next run. Precious needed to have an extra look at a few fences — she got to the end of the course but was actually eliminated for accumulated refusals. Star just had one stop at the water. The fence here involved jumping a crocodile and then one stride and down into the water, which I thought was strong for BE100 level. Both these two head to Draycott next week.

Badminton entries close tomorrow, and I sent in mine last week. On Saturday Big El (“Eliot”) had a good interval canter at home, followed by a hilly hack. Monday was his chance to have a play round the cross-country schooling, which he loved.

We go to Lincoln next, this weekend. I’m taking Chequers Playboy in the open novice and Eliot runs in the open intermediate. I’m looking forward to it — I just hope it’s not too windy.

Dee