Coral Keen’s eventing blog: it was a case of rather them than me

  • Wasn’t Badminton Horse Trials great this year? What a fantastic cross-country course from new course designer Eric Winter. He gave the riders so much to think about, over an extremely tough track, and this year I didn’t envy them on the Friday night before the cross-country, knowing what lay ahead!

    I had a busman’s holiday and had a weekend off to support my friends Danni Dunn, Lissa Green, Katherine Coleman and Lydia Hannon who were there competing. The cross-country caused trouble throughout, with no one particularly horrible fence. It was big and technical, and required really bold yet accurate riding. It was a brave decision of Eric’s and I think it paid off. The only thing I thought he might change for next year is the distance up the step out of the lake.

    It was fantastic to see Lydia ride a double clear at her first Badminton on My Royal Touch to finish 19th. She’s certainly a rider to watch.

    I was so pleased to see Lissa go round so well too. The week before she was sick and poorly with a nasty bug and I was praying she would make it all the way round. She rode every inch of the course so well and gave Malin Head Clover a tremendous ride. It was such a shame she didn’t get to showjump on the Sunday, but we’ll hopefully see them again at Burghley.

    Recently The London Riding Club asked me to do a talk in a bar in Mayfair about eventing which definitely put me outside my comfort zone and was possibly on a par with being in the start box before a four-star!

    But in reality, once I got talking it was fine. It’s easy to talk about something you are passionate about and I think people found it interesting. The feedback was good and hopefully I have inspired a few people to give eventing a go. Now I have my first talk out of the way I won’t be so daunted next time!

    Corinne Bracken came over last week for a jump lesson in preparation for Rockingham Horse Trials. Tiana Coudray, Dannie Morgan and David Doel also came over and we jumped some courses. It was great having a catch up with everyone. I jumped Ted, April and Jake and had a little play on my two homebred babies Chilli and Leo to see what Corinne thought of them. She loved them both, which is always a good start.

    Last week we travelled up to Rockingham which ended up being a long journey for a dressage test, as they’d had so much rain up there. The organisers did everything they could, and it was such a shame as the ground was great on the cross-country, but it was just too deep in the showjumping. April scored a 45 in the dressage phase of the one-star; a very competitive score, but I decided it was better to save them for another day. They will re-route to Pontispool this weekend and then in three weeks we’ll go to Nunney International.

    Total Darkness (Ted) and Total Belief (April) headed to Aston-Le-Walls where organsisers had done such a superb job with the ground. Ted produced a nice test. He did spook a little bit but he scored a very competitive 24, and jumped a double clear to finish fifth with a couple of time penalties in the BE100.

    Continued below…

    He’s starting to feel quite confident at this level. He still spooks, but he’s just one of those horses, and it won’t be too long before I step him up to novice.

    April did a nice test although she was a little tense in the indoor arena. She then jumped a super double clear. I was really pleased with both of them. Before Aston, Richard Waygood worked on some gymnastic exercises with me and my horses, jumping difficult lines and short distances to get the horses thinking for themselves. He really noticed a difference in Ted from when he saw him in the winter and he was really happy with how they all went.

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