Well, the 2011 eventing season has finally come to a close. It feels like it’s been a long season, yet I don’t want to wait until March next year to be at it again!

The last two events of the season were a big contrast. Oasby turned out to be a very successful weekend and even though I thought the horses performed better the next weekend at Aldon, we didn’t quite get the results I wanted.

Crunchie (Kilcannon Credit Crunch) did her first novice at Oasby, managing to win it on a 35 dressage and a double clear. It was great to feel her make the step up so easily, but she seemed exhausted by the drive down to Aldon and the excitement of living away for the week. Although she did a nice dressage in the novice, she had four down jumping (very unlike her) and so I took her very slowly across country. Good experience for her, but she now wants a rest!

Smartie (Smart Lady) also did a great double clear at Oasby, to finish 4th in the open novice. She did a lovely dressage at Aldon in the CCI* the following week and a great clear cross-country inside the time, so was lying 14th going into the jumping. She touched a pole, but was jumping her socks off, so really didn’t deserve it! Unfortunately that moved her down the order to 17th. Not a bad result, but I would have loved to be in the top 10.

Robbie (Ballyengland Twilight) capped off the double clears at Oasby, but did a very tense dressage. He is still learning about eventing, this being his first year, so I wasn’t upset. I also wasn’t holding my breath for a brilliant test at Aldon for the CIC*. But riding him a couple times a day from when we arrived really settled him and he did a 56 in his first ever international test.

I was over the moon and he of course showjumped clear to lie in 13th going into cross-country. I then got my competitive head on and kicked him out the start box quite quickly. He has been quietly taken round every course so far this year and I think I just spooked him by going too quickly at the start. He had a run-out at a straightforward skinny and he has never run out before. I jumped the skinny and then pulled him up as I didn’t want to scare him and end the year on a bad note. He can come out next year and be successful at two-star.

So now all the eventers are out on their holidays and the sale horses are in and ready to be advertised. The clocks go back this weekend, which means the yard will now start at 8am rather than 7am each morning, so at least we can catch up on some sleep!

I have to say that this year has been hugely successful and that is thanks to my great team of supporters, sponsors and owners. I couldn’t do it without them. I also couldn’t do it without the great interaction I get to have with people on Shannon Eventing’s social media networks, so let’s all keep in touch over the winter!

Lauren

Full report of Aldon in H&H this week, out today (27 October)

Lauren will be continuing her blog through the winter, with it appearing every two weeks until the eventers start their spring preparation when it will go back to weekly. Find all Lauren’s blogs at www.horseandhound.co.uk/laurenshannon