I’ve continued to be very busy with the horses during the past few weeks. I was supposed to take Kaja to the BEF Excel Talent test day to perform the junior test in front of David Trott, but as she is injured it left a place for one of the four-year-olds. I took Diva (aka The Special One and Newton Feronia) to perform the four-year-old test instead.
She was very well behaved in her stable considering she lives out in the field 24/7. She warmed up well and did a good test in front of David. He loved her paces and said she had a lot of potential, giving her 76%.
However, we need to work on our transitions into canter so they look smoother and so she stays rounder in her frame. He also said she looks very established for a four-year-old, so he was very surprised to hear it was only her fourth ever show.
While I was there, I had a catch up session with David Hamer as we are halfway through the two-year Excel Pathway. He was very impressed that I had met my targets on Kaja before her injury and that I had gained two more rides.
The day after Excel I had a photoshoot with equine photographer Yvette Craig. We started off shooting with Kaja, who was very interested in the grass around her and not on the camera in front of her. You can’t blame her trying to take every chance she has to eat grass when she has been on box rest!
After taking photos in a variety of clothes, Yvette took photos of Diva and I in a rustic barn and she behaved perfectly. She loved the camera and couldn’t have been easier to work with.
I have just got some photos back and they are gorgeous! I am so happy with them — I owe a great deal of thanks to Yvette for taking the amazing photos.
Since the test day and the photoshoot, I competed both Santi (Tantoni Santorini) and Diva in local competitions at preliminary level.
In the first show, Santi was being naughty in the warm-up making it difficult for me to keep him off my leg and in the test he was a bit spooky. Halfway through the test he spooked at the mirrors and started reversing. Our scoresheet consisted of a variety of marks including a one, a three, two fours, two fives and a few sevens and a couple of eights and we still managed to get 63%.
Then it was Diva’s turn. She did a very good test but her contact was a bit unstable at times. We still need to work on improving this to gain even higher marks, but she got a great score of 75%.
The pair had a week until their next competition. It is good for them both to keep gaining competition experience so they build their confidence and there was a big improvement in both of their tests.
Santi started off being cheeky in the warm-up and napping going into the test arena so I had to be lead in, but as soon as I started my test, he didn’t put a step wrong. He showed great paces with lots of potential and had a great, stable contact and he scored 78%.
Diva was also tricky in the warm-up as she is in season, but as soon as we were in the test she was great too, improving on her last performance and scoring a massive 80%! This is my first ever score over 80%. I was thrilled with both of them so they enjoyed a well-deserved week off while I was on holiday.
Time with the family
My family and I finally had some time to go on holiday together. However, as my dad is being treated for blood clots in his lungs, we were unable to get on a plane.
We decided to go to Dorset for a week, which was great fun and it was nice to spend some quality time with my family as I have spent most of the summer with Lucy Cartwright, who I train with, and her partner Daniel Bremner.
We went to the beach and walked around the towns and played a few games of tennis to keep active. We were all sad to leave after a week, but we have just arrived back in time for my cousin’s 21st birthday.
I couldn’t miss the opportunity to ride both the four-year-olds before I got home. It was their first ridden session in a week and they were both very good. I am looking forward to going back to the yard in a day’s time.