Coral Keen’s eventing blog: ‘If I wasn’t eventing, I’d be showjumping’

  • As the new eventing season rapidly approaches — I’ll run two next Thursday at Tweseldown — things are getting very busy and we’ve been out training or competing nearly every day.

    I’ve had some more lessons with Nick Burton and thankfully Derby didn’t show me up this time. He did some lovely work and we were able to use the lesson in a much more constructive way than the time before as he was very settled, although I think it helped that I had cantered him the day before which took the edge off him.

    It was the first time Nick had seen Lola (Cascadelle)  and he commented that she has such lovely paces. Like with Derby, her paces are not something I have to try and improve which is really great.

    The following day I took them both to Summerhouse and they jumped very well with double clears which meant we picked up a couple of low placings.

    A super attitude

    On the Wednesday we went to Boomerang with Derby, Lola, April and Pluto (Aphrodisiac).

    They were all really super and I was really happy with them, particularly Lola. She has really grown up and I was able to ask her some more technical questions.

    April has such a super attitude. She’s green and always wants to have a good look but she is very willing. I tried Derby in a loose ring Waterford snaffle to see if I had any control and so far so good.

    On Thursday I took Megan Lockyer and her horse Sid to West Wilts for some British Showjumping along with Pluto who was fourth in the 1.10 and second in the 1.20. It was great to be competing him and he felt on very good form.

    Derby and Lola have also been to Nicky Roncoroni’s lovely yard near Cirencester for lessons with Yogi Briesner. Derby was really super and felt amazing.

    Again, he listened, was much more attentive and jumped very, very well. I was delighted when Yogi commented that we have much more of a partnership forming. Thank goodness for that after hours and hours of working on it over the winter!

    Yogi hadn’t seen Lola before and I was interested in his opinion. He really liked her and could understand why I am so excited about her.

    She’s a little diva but I really love her and if there’s any horse I will be having a cuddle with, it’s always her. I felt really positive, as I often do after a lesson with Yogi. It was a good day.

    Cross-country schooling

    On Saturday Larkhill opened their cross country course for schooling so it was a really good opportunity to ride around the BE90, BE100 and Novice courses and put into practice everything without the pressure of competition.

    I took Pluto and April on Saturday and they were both super. Pluto went round the novice track and April the 100. The ground is always really good there so it was great to get them into a rhythm, going forward and popping over the fences.

    Lucy Mayne, a hugely talented rider who I teach, took both her ponies and I gave her a lesson along with another girl called Jasmine whose pony I have had in for schooling for three weeks.

    On Sunday I went back to Larkhill with Lola and Derby. I rode Derby around the novice purely to get him out on a course and see if I had the control I needed. He is still listening to me and is much more responsive the first time I ask. Fingers crossed we can keep this up.

    Lola jumped around some of the BE100 and novice fences and I was very pleased with her.

    On Monday some of the horses had a day off then Corinne was here on Tuesday working on related distances and bending lines.

    New prospects

    We had a couple of nice days at home then it was off to Wales to look at some young horses including Lola’s half sister, a two-year-old. She’s really lovely so she’s being vetted next week.

    Since we bought Lola, we’ve loaned the dam and we had a lovely colt foal last year by Donnerhall and she’s back in foal again to the same stallion.

    She’s very similar to Lola, cheeky and mischievous with plenty of character and I am looking forward to her coming next week, subject to the vet.

    On Friday I had a really ‘exciting’ day at WTTL (transport training) in Devizes to do my CPC (certificate of professional competence) for driving.

    It was a healthy reminder of how much I hated school and being in a classroom. I have two more dreaded days left of that!

    Continued below…

    Read more of Coral’s blogs

    Showjumping at Summerhouse

    We had another good day at Summerhouse where the surface and courses are great and the competitions are outside in a big arena.

    April jumped double clears in the British Novice and Discovery although she was very green in the first class but we can forgive her that, as it was only her second ever showjumping show.

    Lola went very well in the 1.05 and 1.10 jumping two lovely clears and Derby was very good in the 1.20. I felt like he was really listening and he was an absolute pleasure to ride as it is all starting to feel a lot easier.

    I also jumped him in the 1.30 which was a big class with a lot of professional showjumpers competing.

    He pinged around and made it feel really easy and we finished second. We’ve qualified for something, I am not quite sure what, and if it fits in with the season we might go.

    To be placed in such a competitive class is such a bonus and I’ve really enjoyed showjumping. It’s always very sociable and its good to come home with some prize money.

    If I wasn’t eventing, it would be my second choice of career. It must be in my blood and I blame my great Aunt Marion Mould!

    Our first event of the season is next Thursday at Tweseldown where I’ll ride Derby in the open intermediate and Lola will go in the BE100.

    Yesterday I took them both to Parwood for lessons with Corinne Bracken and next week I will have some more lessons with Nick Burton and we’ll go through our dressage tests on Tuesday.

    Fingers crossed for a great start to the new season.


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