Coral Keen’s eventing blog: horses to get excited about

  • Our homebred Total Belief (April) has been a star of the season. At the beginning of the year, when plans were laid for each of the horses, we pencilled in the seven-year-old championships at Osberton in October for her. With that aim, I took her really slowly in preparation for her first CIC2*.

    She started off very green and gangly — she’s a huge mare at 17.2hh — but she very quickly grew into herself. She stepped up to intermediate at Aston-Le-Walls in July and was in the top 10 in her four runs and then finished in the top 10 at Osberton. It was fantastic and we’re really proud of her. She’s our first homebred too which made it even more special.

    Her offspring, Total Miracle, was broken in this year as a four-year-old and has started going out competing. We’re really excited about him, although he’s very big and might take some time.

    We also have another homebred four-year-old for next year, Quintessential, or Chilli as she’s known at home. She’s probably one of the nicest youngsters I’ve ever had as she’s very bright and very athletic.

    Total Darkness (Ted) has had some good results having stepped up to novice. He’s a very big horse and particularly spooky. We’ve taken our time with him and I feel he’s developing into a top class horse.

    Hand Painted came to me in the spring and I produced and competed him at BE100 level as a five-year-old and he’s now off to America where he’ll be competing in the popular hunter classes.

    Although it’s been disappointing not to have my top horses Wellshead Fair Opposition (Derby) and Cascadelle (Lola) out competing at the big events, they’ve made great progress with their rehabilitation and will come out next season all guns blazing.

    We’ve been really concentrating on the two four-year-olds and they’ve been showjumping twice and cross-country schooling three times. They’ve progressed well and it’s been useful to have a bit more time with them. They’ve been introduced to water and ditches and they’ve taken it all in their stride. We’ve done less rather than more, so that they don’t feel under too much pressure, with the option of returning a few days later to build on what we’ve already done.

    April and Ted are coming back into work as they’ve both had six weeks off, and I’ll build up their fitness over the next month or so with the aim of doing some indoor competitions early in the New Year. The youngsters will go showjumping and compete in some dressage and Lola and Derby are back in work too.

    Continued below…

    I recently qualified as a UKCC level 2 BE accredited coach and have been holding a number of clinics which have been really popular. Yesterday, we did grid work using three jumps and then at the end of the grid there was the option to turn on a bending line to the left or to the right to a vertical depending on what leg the horse landed on. So we were working on not only the horse’s technique but on the rider’s feeling and recognising which leg they were on.

    If you like to come on a clinic — I’m based in Wiltshire — please do get in touch coralkeenenveting@hotmail.co.uk.

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