Derby (Wellshead Fare Opposition) was brilliant at Houghton International Horse Trials (pictured) in Norfolk where he finished seventh in the CICO3* finishing on his dressage score of 45.9.
He did a beautiful test, with some room for improvement, and he felt great showjumping with a good, solid clear round.
The cross-country course at Houghton is always very difficult and I was under no illusion that we would get the time, but we set off in a really good rhythm and I was bang on my minute markers which meant we finished within the time and full of running. It was the perfect preparation before Luhmuhlen CCI4* in Germany next week, and I couldn’t be happier with him.
I had a jumping lesson with Corinne Bracken fist thing on Monday morning and he’s feeling better than ever. On Tuesday I had a dressage lesson with Nick Burton at Kitty King’s yard and we went through the Luhmuhlen test, working on specific things and he went really well.
I’ve had a few sessions with a personal trainer. I’m fitter than I’ve ever been and I feel much stronger having done a lot of strength and conditioning work particularly on my lower abdomen and lower back. My trainer also does my sports massage so he knows where my weaknesses are. I can really feel the benefits when I’m on the horses.
Derby had his final gallop on Wednesday which is always really nerve wracking, but he’s come out of that fine. He’s teeth have been done, he’s had a new set of shoes (I hope they’re lucky ones!) and we’re set to leave for Germany on Monday. I hope by the time I write my next blog I will have some good news from Luhmuhlem.
The other horses have all been going really well too. I have felt for a long time that Jake (Highmead Proposition) is an exciting prospect for the future, and it finally came to together at Pontispool on Monday where he was fourth in a BE100 section.
After a superb start to the season, Lola (Cascadelle) had a green stop cross-country at Pontispool in the novice regional final. We were in the lead after the dressage but out on the cross-country she jumped a table fence so high that she frightened herself a little bit and then was green to the next fence. But she’s still a very young horse and entitled to the odd mistake.
I will try and qualify her for the novice championships at the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe in August at Purston Manor in July.
April’s (Total Belief) confidence is on an absolute high after a stunning start to the season. So much so that she thought she knew more than me across country at Pontispool and was bowling along so fast that we had to take a turn and approach a ski jump a second time when I decided she needed to jump it in a much more orderly fashion! Again she is very young and green and very much learning the job.
Her results this season in her first season eventing speak for themselves with two wins, a second and a fourth from her only five outings.
We’ve also welcomed a beautiful filly foal (pictured above) by Wish Upon A Star and incredibly she has identical markings to Lola, even though they are not related. Our second foal is due by the end of the month.