I must firstly apologise for my lack of blogs — I will be keeping you all more regularly updated in future!
The season is well and truly underway and there has been lots going on here.
I have to admit, I wasn’t that happy with how my season began for various reasons, but mainly because I felt I was letting my horses down. After some really good regrouping sessions with both Emma Fisher and Eric Winter I feel like the horses are all going really well and I’m much happier with my riding.
Eric Winter said some very insightful things to me and made me realise that I’m doing this job because I love it and that one shouldn’t get so wound up in getting good results as you forget all the basics. I have therefore slightly adjusted how I’m working the horses, especially the young ones who are just learning their jobs. They are just small adjustments but I’m much happier with how they are all going which is beginning to reflect again in their results.
Bearing all this in mind, I was absolutely delighted with the week we have just had at Houghton Hall International Horse Trials. Ruby (Rubabell Cruise) and Archie (Arise Cavalier) were both contesting their first CCI2*s.
Ruby tried very hard in her dressage, a phase which she has always slightly struggled with, but was rewarded for an accurate test with a competitive score of 50.1. Having struggled with a few injury problems over the past few seasons, it was fantastic to get her to a three-day event and she flew around the cross-country, just picking up a few time-faults. I feel this was just due to her lack of runs over the past few seasons and having not asked her to run fast very often. She came out on Sunday really well and was very unlucky just to have the very last showjump down. She just got a little flat through the treble and couldn’t quite hold it together over the last part — always gutting but she still finished in the top 25.
Archie really pulled it out the bag. He has always promised so much and is the most talented horse I’ve ever sat on, but to say we’ve had our moments along the way would be an understatement! He was so close to having two fantastic two-star results at the end of last season but missed out due to silly mistakes. I was so thrilled it finally all came together at Houghton and what better place than at a big three-day!
I felt his dressage was a little flat and he didn’t get the marks I know he is capable of, but still scored a respectable 47.8. He started the cross-country a little green and spooky at the crowds but soon got going and got in a really good rhythm to come home comfortably inside the time. He too came out fantastically on Sunday and warming up for the showjumping I knew he was on tip, top form. He jumped a beautiful clear to finish on his dressage score and ended up sixth in a very hot section. I couldn’t have asked for more from him and the long drive home was a very happy one.
I must say a massive thank you to Emma Fisher for all her help and support during the week and to supergroom Kirsty Borriello for looking after my horses so well and turning them out so impeccably (see pic of her insane plaiting skills!)
Both horses seemed to come out of it all really well. They will now have a little break before being campaigned at their autumn schedules.
There’s a bit of time now to concentrate on the younger ones and they all go to West Wilts and Nunney Horse Trials for their next runs. Six-year-olds Balou (True Blue Too) and Edie (Aunt Augusta) have coped really well with the step up to novice level so they will just be working an consolidating all this before tackling an international later in the season.
I promise I’ll be back soon!