Coral Keen’s eventing blog: Outwitting the elements

  • We’ve been out and about with the horses, getting them to different venues and putting the training in which should pay off once the season starts for me in three weeks time at Tweseldown Horse Trials.

    On Tuesday we we at Summerhouse in Gloucestershire for a British Showjumping (BS) show where I took five of my horses and a pony for one of my pupils. They were all fresh and happy to be out competing but jumped very nicely. Derby (Wellshead Fare Opposition) jumped well in the 1.20m and he was quite jolly but settled well in the 1.25m to jump a double clear.

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    Jake (Highmead Proposition) was a real star jumping a double clear in his first 1.15m for third place in a competitive class. I am really pleased, as he’s come on so much from last year. Although he’s for sale I am very much looking forward to riding him until he does go.

    The others were all good too. I tend to use competitions at this time of year to educate them. Ted, a homebred five-year-old competed at his first BS show, jumping in the British novice and discovery with a clear in the latter. Both Lola (Cascadelle) and April (Total Belief) were both lovely and very pleased to be out competing.

    On Monday we did some clear rounds at West Wilts with the babies, Vodka and Roxy who came to be broken in in the autumn and were having their second outing there. They both jumped clears in the 95cm. They have really good forward thinking attitudes and they were impeccably behaved considering how inexperienced they are.

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    I’ve had dressage lessons with David Hunt on Lola and Derby who also went to Aston-le-Walls last Wednesday for Equine Pathway training with Lizzie Murray, Peter Murphy and Philip Surl.

    Jake, April and Ted came along too for a showjump and their second cross-country schooling session there, using the excellent facilities. We played in the water, and jumped the steps and skinnies. I feel now the pressure is off having schooled there twice and I think I will only need to go on the grass once before the season starts. This is a relief given the going, and thank goodness for the fantastic cross-country facilities on surfaces that are available.

    I had a great time away skiing with lots of snow. It’s not necessarily a rest but a change is as good as. I didn’t particularly want to leave as the horses were going so well, but the girls kept them ticking over beautifully for me and it was good to have a bit of fun before the serious stuff starts.

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    The horses had physio yesterday (Wednesday) as it’s really important to ensure that their muscles are developing properly, evenly and that they are not feeling sore from upping the workload.

    Today I’m going to Paul Tapner’s lovely set up at Wickstead with Ted, Roxy and Vodka to jump on a surface and to teach. Tomorrow I have dressage lessons with Nick Burton at Kitty King’s yard.

    Lola’s half brother, Fergus has been sent to me to be broken in and he went home yesterday after five weeks. He was such a lovely horse to do and his owner has already posted a picture on Facebook of them out hacking together and I am so pleased.


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