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Coral Keen’s eventing blog: lots of things have happened, good and bad…

Hi everyone,

Lots has happened since my last blog, good and bad!

It was great to spend a rare weekend off at Badminton. It is such an incredible event and you just get that big moment feeling every time you head through the gates, even as a spectator. Although the eventing drive in me always makes it a bit bitter-sweet that I am not there competing. Having said that, as I drove past the lorry park early on Saturday, I just knew there would be a group of riders in there dealing with the pressure of pre-cross-country nerves and I was actually relieved at that point not to be one of those people — it is such a horrible feeling! But at the same time, as I watched everyone on the big screen, it just made me want to be out there competing alongside them.

I thought cross-country day was a really great day of sport for eventing, with the time being appropriately influential and a few places on the course too. But it was nice to see some friends and first-timers putting in fantastic rounds. I am really hoping that we can get Total Belief (April) there in the next year or two. She will only be 10 in 2020, so we absolutely won’t take her unless we are 100% happy that she is ready, but if she is fit and well and feels up to it, it would be amazing to realise the big Badminton dream on her.

She is putting in some very promising results including finishing fifth at Withington advanced and we had a successful run at Chatsworth last weekend (pictured top and video below). Here, she instilled even more confidence in me that she is ticking all the right boxes as a potential five-star horse. She dealt brilliantly with the terrain of the cross-country course, giving me a fantastic ride. All weekend, she felt like she was loving her job and was a real pleasure to ride throughout. We very much treated Chatsworth as a prep-run for Bramham (where she will be doing the CCI-L4*) and didn’t over-push for time cross-country, so it was an added bonus that we ended up finishing in the top 20 — a great weekend.

I also competed Leaping Lord, owned by Margaret Cuff, at Chatsworth in the CCI-S2* and he jumped a great double clear.

In more sad news, I am really gutted that April’s son Total Miracle (Leo), has gone wrong and will no longer be eventing. He got his name, as he had an accident as a two-year-old and it was a complete miracle that he survived and that we were able to continue with him. But the injury that he sustained in his neck has created more issues for him now as a six-year-old meaning his jumping career is over. He is such a beautiful type of horse, and knowing how well his mother is doing, it really is sad to not carry on with him, but you have to do what is best by the horse.

I had another blow on top of this, with Total Darkness (Ted) having an accident at home which has ruled him out for the rest of the season. I really felt I had turned corner with him this year, so it is deeply frustrating that he is going to miss the season, but all being well, he will be back better than ever next year.

Millie (L) and Juno

In more positive news, my ginger little duo of sisters Juno and Millie are being fantastic. While a lot of event riders were at Badminton on the Thursday, I headed to Moreton Morrell with Juno in the BE100 (see video below). At just five and at the beginning of her eventing career, she literally skipped round making it all feel so easy to finish second, just getting 0.4 time-faults to add to her dressage of 25.2. This little mare feels like she has been eventing all her life and I love riding her.

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Interestingly, this time last year she had just been brought back into work having had four weeks initial breaking during the winter. Arguably I started her a bit late, but it just goes to show that with nice young horses, there really isn’t a rush and I’ve always felt she was one for the future. Her little sister Mille is just re-starting her education again, like Juno did. And I’m really pleased to report that she is showing all the right signs of being another cracker. They are both stabled next to each other and it melts my heart every time I walk pass their lovely chestnut heads!

Starting Millie off under saddle

That’s all from me for now, next time I will hopefully be able to tell all my Bramham tales of our mid-season feature event — fingers crossed for a goodun’.

Coral

For all the latest news analysis, competition reports, interviews, features and much more, don’t miss Horse & Hound magazine, on sale every Thursday.

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