Coral Keen’s eventing blog: Last minute trip to Oxfordshire

  • Coral Keen was H&H's Burghley blogger and as her updates were such a good read, she will very kindly continue to keep us up to date as the eventing season continues.

    Derby (Wellshead Fare Opposition, pictured above) and I are at Blenheim having successfully made a late entry on Monday evening following our slightly disappointing time at Burghley last weekend.

    That morning he’d had some time in the field before I took him to Lucinda Green’s at Marlborough who had very kindly offered to give me a hand after our run outs at Burghley.

    Lucinda is fantastic for giving advice on everything from your tack to your general way of riding which might be affecting the horse.

    She changed his noseband from a combination to a grackle which has given him more movement through his jaw while at the same time making it harder for him to lock against my hand.

    Then we worked him over a series of fences that appeared to be at the most impossible distances but I had a really good feeling down the rein and a great reaction from him in that he came back to me straightaway.

    When you ride across country, you expect this to be halved, but even so I was very happy with him.

    We didn’t do too much as he’s had a lot of work in the build up to Burghley so we put him on the lorry and then made some plans.

    I’d initially decided to take him to Ballindenisk but the issue isn’t how big and bold he jumps and whether he has the capability of jumping around the bigger courses but the fact that the atmosphere and crowd affect his concentration and the adjustability I have with him.

    Blenheim is a hugely popular event so there’ll be a huge crowd that will be perfect for our continuing education.

    Yesterday I had a jumping lesson with Corinne Bracken. I rode the five-year-olds and Wiverna, Zoe and Aprhodisiac who are all going to Pontispool on Monday ahead of their three stars, with the first two heading to Ballindenisk and Aphrodisiac going to Waregem. Derby had a little pop at the end and he felt lovely.

    I’ve come up to Blenheim on my own as the girls really needed some time off this week. My friend Gemma Pudney, who is working at Blenheim, has offered to stay with me in the lorry which is great so I won’t be a complete Norman no mates!

    Megan Lockyer will join me at the weekend when she drives up with my Dad who has been particularly understanding.

    Not only does his company Total Equestrian Construction sponsor me but he’d also bought a load of tickets for a Radio 2 concert in Hyde Park on Sunday that we now all have to miss.

    I do feel incredibly selfish with so much having to change so that we could come here but I hope the decision to re-route will pay off in the long run.

    I got to Blenheim yesterday and gave Derby a pick of grass before settling him into his stable and unpacking the lorry. I had a lovely hack in the afternoon around the parkland and beside the lake.

    I’ll be focusing on encouraging Derby to stay as relaxed as possible in the dressage and not worry about what’s going on around him before trying out my new brakes across country on Saturday.


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