Coral Keen’s eventing blog: Scary portaloos

  • Since my last blog our lovely homebred April (Total Belief) has had another BE100 win at Moreton Morrell. She did a beautiful dressage test for a score of 29, despite a loose horse galloping through the arenas and warm up, and then jumped a lovely double clear.

    She was a bit of a diva around the lorry. I think she’s starting to really enjoy this eventing lark and it’s lovely to see how she’s changed from being insecure and unsure of herself to confident and excited.

    She gave me such a great ride across country that we finished within the time although that wasn’t my intention when we set out. She just seems to find it all very easy at the moment. She’s so special and a real softie – she’s always great to go and have a cuddle with.

    Highmead Proposition (Jake) also did a 29 dressage and showjumped well with just one unlucky pole. He was green to the first fence and he lost his footing but he then went clear. He’s starting to really enjoy his job and was great to some of the more technical fences. I think he has a big future ahead of him. Both he and April now go to Tweseldown on Sunday.

    Badminton weekend

    I took the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials weekend off and headed there for a couple of days of partying, socialising and a bit of networking!

    On the Friday night about 20 of us, including Lissa Green and Ludwig Svennerstal, went out for a meal near Badminton for Tom McEwen’s birthday which was great fun. I stayed with Lissa that night and we went up to Badminton on Saturday where I spent some time catching up with some of my sponsors including Saracen, Gatehouse, Katherine Partis and Derierre.

    Watching the corss-country action gave me very itchy feet but it was still lovely to watch my friends and fellow competitors riding around and I’m glad the weather was a lot kinder than last year which makes a big difference.

    We stayed and partied in The Outside Chance on Saturday evening (a bar located on the Badminton site for the event). There were so many friends there and it was really great catching up with lots of friendly faces and having a bit of a party although I was on the lemonade as I was driving.

    I went back on Sunday with Emily my head girl and my dad and step mum Anne – it was really nice to spend another day there. I walked the cross-country course and it was good to be able to go up to the fences and walk the lines. It would have been great to have ridden Derby (Wellshead Fare Opposition) there but timing wise Luhmuhlen four-star in Germany in a few weeks has worked out better.

    Looking forwards

    Lola (Cascadelle) and Derby went to Aston-Le–Walls horse trials in Northamptonshire on Thursday to do the novice and OI respectively. Unfortunately for Lola, someone came out of the portaloo at the end of the dressage arena and banged the door just as we were getting ready to go in.

    She was really unsure and was tense at that end but the judge was so kind and after the test got out of her car and said how lovely she is and how lucky I am to have her. She said she’s a very high scoring horse and it was just unlucky about the loo! But that’s horses for you and she still scored 30. She jumped a lovely double clear but I kept the hand brake on cross-country as planned.

    Derby was great and despite being a little frisky in the dressage warm-up he scored a 28 in his section which put him in third. He showjumped a lovely clear but I didn’t run him cross -ountry, which was also planned, as I am saving him to go to Houghton CICO3* in Norfolk next week.

    I had great jumping lessons with Corinne Bracken on Monday and I really struggled with who had won the gold star. Targa Hammond, the international showjumper, came and had some lessons too. She was jumping 1.30m and 1.40m, which would be the top end of my game, and it really pushed me that little bit more.

    Yesterday I had training back at Aston-le-Walls for the World Class Equine Pathway with Derby and Lola. Derby was super on the flat with trainer Tracey Robinson and then jumped so well with Philip Searle we didn’t feel we needed to do too much with him.

    Lola was also super in her jumping lesson after which we spent a little time discussing her future. She’s such a special horse that its worth, at this stage of her career, taking the time to make a plan to help ensure she has a good grounding.


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