Coral Keen’s eventing blog: Full steam ahead

  • It’s full steam ahead after my holiday in Thailand. It was lovely to get away and mentally switch off but the jet lag really hit me last week. I came back raring to go and rode six horses and clipped two that day, then had to take a bit of a pull as it took a while for me to get to sleep at night and then stay awake during the day!

    At the moment there are six horses to work each day, which is a nice amount. It gives me time to do all the jobs that don’t get done during the competition season such as de-cobwebbing, steam cleaning the feed room, painting the stables and giving everything a really good clean.

    By 1 December all of the horses will be back in and starting their walk work. It’s so tempting to get them all in now, but I will wait another week and then there will be 11 on the yard.

    I have two lovely young horses that have been sent to me to be produced. They hadn’t had a lot of handling when they arrived, but they are really gorgeous with beautiful temperaments and are adapting to every question really well. They’re both mares and very well bred; one is four and the other five.

    I was riding the five-year-old within a week and she is now doing pole and grid work. She’s such a sweet horse and enjoying all the attention. The four-year-old was broken just before I went on holiday and Maya, my working pupil, has done a super job riding her on.

    As soon as they have brakes and some steering installed I like to get them out hacking as I think it’s the best way to educate them. It teaches them to go forwards and it’s far more natural than going round and round in the school. They also don’t get bored with the lovely hacking I have on my doorstep.

    I love producing the youngsters as it’s really rewarding. You learn something from every horse you have.

    Derby (Wellshead Fare Opposition) is on holiday until next week. The vet checked him over the other day and he’s great but he’s very bored, as is April (Total Belief). They’ll graze in the morning and then start hooning around wanting to come in by the afternoon.

    Lola (Cascadelle), meanwhile has taken to her holiday very well and looks like a very hairy Thelwell pony. She is enjoying her days in the paddock.

    Ted, my homebred four-year-old, has been out cubbing and he was great, much to my surprise, but they do always say it’s the second time that can be tricky.

    He’s been cross-country schooling and he did a hunter trial at Larkhill around the BE90 course and he went clear. He flowed more than I thought he would as he’s very spooky and green. He handled everything very well. He’ll start eventing next spring, but it will depend on whether and when he’s ready.

    Ted will do some dressage and showjumping this winter and we’ll see how we get on. He feels very special and he definitely has the wow factor being jet black with a tiny bit of white on his back feet. He’s quite impressive and floats along with a huge trot that I can’t do anything with, but we’re working on that!

    With the exception of Derby, who is being aimed at the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, I haven’t made a competition plan yet, although the BE fixtures list is out. Once the horses are all in, I’ll start thinking about that probably after Christmas.

    Meanwhile I might take the youngsters out hunting and I will take Ted drag hunting, which will be great fun.


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