Coral Keen’s eventing blog: double victory

  • It was great to have a double of wins at Larkhill Horse Trials in Wiltshire at the weekend where Lola (Cascadelle) and April (Total Belief) both finished on their dressage scores.

    My pupil Lucy Mayne, who is only 12-years-old, also had a great first ever event finishing 10th in a BE90 section.

    Larkhill is a beautifully run competition with a friendly team and I always love going there.

    It was April’s first British Eventing (BE) outing, but she took it all in her stride and was vey relaxed about the whole affair. She mooched down to the dressage and did everything as she would at home. She’s just such a pleasure to ride and it’s super special that we bred her.

    Before we started breeding I didn’t really get how amazing an experience it would be going through the whole journey with them. The horses are almost a little bit naïve, as they have no reason to have any fear so they just trust you.

    I’ve handled April since the day she was born when she was what is known as windswept — she was so big she couldn’t stand up for two weeks. So between Dad and I, we’d stand her up under the mare every couple of hours with a bottle so that when she was strong enough to stand on her own she’d naturally suckle.

    I broke her in last January and at first she didn’t like me leaning over her so I felt she’d be better just getting on. Within two weeks we were hacking out.

    Last year she went to a few events on the lorry as she was useful to babysit the other horses and it was good for her to go along and see what life is all about as part of her education.

    Last Autumn she did a couple of hunter trials and went hunting and this spring she’s really come on. She was a little green in the showjumping on her first experience on a grass surface, but she jumped a super clear.

    She felt really confident the whole way round the cross-country and jumped out of a lovely rhythm. We made the time very easily although when we set off I had no intention of trying to do so. She now goes to Bicton Horse Trials next Sunday for another BE100 and she’ll stay at this level for the rest of the season.

    Coral In the yard

    A real princess

    Lola (pictured throughout this blog) is just getting better and better. She knows it because she gets off the lorry and starts throwing her weight around. She’s becoming more of a diva by the minute, but fortunately my groom Emily was there to help me. Lola is such a monkey but you can’t help but love her.

    If she doesn’t want you in her space, you’ll know about it. But at the same time if you are chatting in the yard she’ll bang the door because she wants attention. It’s all about her. You go to walk out of her stable and she’ll pull you back in. She has us all wrapped around her little finger. Everyone loves her, but she is a real princess.

    She’s not frightened of anything. I think she’s an extra special horse because if she makes a mistake, she comes back fighting rather than becoming nervous and panicking, which will help us out at top level.

    At Larkhill Lola was delighted that so many people had come to see her and she strutted around before doing a very nice dressage and then jumped a super clear showjumping. Across country she felt really confident so I could let her gallop for the first time. The following morning she dragged me out to the field and was feeling very bonny.

    Coral Keen Lola2

    Back at the big time

    This weekend I go to Belton CIC3* in Lincolnshire with Derby (Wellshead Fare Opposition). It’s my first major competition of the season so it will be nice getting back to that level again.

    I had a super dressage lesson with Nick Burton on Monday when we ran through the test. Nick was really pleased with the improvements and fingers crossed he goes just as well this weekend. We galloped on Sunday on Salisbury Plain on Sunday and it was lovely as Mum also galloped Zoe with me.

    I’m really conscious about supporting my sponsors as much as I can and have had some new competition rugs made up with their logos on for the horses and Phoebe my dog.

    I think its paying off — there were literally millions of stitches, but they look lovely and a lot of people have commented on them. The support I have from Saracen horse feeds is incredible and Nikki McGee, their nutritionist, is brilliant at giving advice.


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