I enjoyed a fabulous weekend at Burghley horse trials (pictured) — super down time for me just to relax and watch a competition for a change. A fabulous new course, great weather and a fun time with friends; the perfect way to end the summer.
My return to school wasn’t the best; only 5 days in, I developed a high temperature and vomiting which was awful as I’m really never ill and hate having to catch up on schoolwork.
We’ve just heard that the pony I rode for owners Bev and Sam Brown, Peanut (Le Chiffre), has made the GB pony squad with his very recent new rider. I am thrilled for them and will be keen to watch their progress, knowing that I introduced him to international level. I would love to have another ride (preferably a horse this time) for an owner, as now I am back to only one, so if anyone is willing…
This weekend I performed an evening display of dressage to music with composer Gaynor Colbourn who produced medal-winning music for me last year when I came 3rd in Saumur and 4th in Compeigne internationals.
This was chance to try out a a new routine and music in front of an appreciative audience where I could show Kaja’s two- and one-time tempis and give her more experience of a clapping and cheering crowd. Also riding was Matt Burnett with his gorgeous palomino stallion Treliver Decanter doing a grand prix freestyle and Shaun Mandy and Ollie Booth doing youngster and pony displays. We had fun and it was nice to catch up.
Next day was my debut at advanced and prix st georges (PSG) level. I had to enter the PSG ‘HC’ [riding non-competitively] as you need to have scored over 62% in the advanced 102 test, and get special permission from British Dressage, before you can become a group 3 rider and ride competitively at PSG.
On the day I awoke to howling wind and rain and was not looking forward to an outdoor test in these conditions. My competition time was towards the end of the day and the weather got worse and worse with torrential rain and sideways gusts of wind!
Since the European championships Kaja and I have been teaching each other (with help from my trainer) to work at PSG level. I had planned for this weekend for 2 months. If you are thinking of doing something new I would recommend setting a date and committing yourself. It really helps focus your training.
Despite the weather and being new at this level, Kaja was really well behaved. I was pleased with her performance of the travers on a 5m circle (immature canter pirouette movement) in the advanced test as we scored an 8. I was really pleased to win the class on 66.47% and then went on to do my first attempt at PSG. In this test the canter pirouettes were a little large, but remained in rhythm, and I was very happy with them. All changes were accurate — Kaja loves tempis! As I entered HC I received my test sheet, but your score doesn’t count in the class (another good way to try something new) but as it happens, I would have won as I scored 67.4% — so pleased for my first go and with shocking weather!
This weekend brought a trip to the National Dressage Championships at Stoneleigh. It seems much longer than a year since I won my advanced medium national title there in what became the start of a fantastic 12 months for me! This time I was watching my trainer and my friends as I did not campaign Kaja due to all my international commitments.
My next (ahem) arduous task was to travel to Tuscany (pictured above) to meet my sponsors Cavalleria Toscana and do a photoshoot with the other riders they support. I am so excited to get the chance to meet with some of the best riders in the world, dressage, showjumping and eventing. I also have another equestrian photoshoot with a ‘famous’ photographer coming up so, watch this space — it will be very different!!