Coral Keen’s eventing blog: things aren’t always as they seem

And so it begins with Ted’s tale…

Team Keen are all revved that Eventing 2019 is now underway (although there were a few moments, when the wind almost took us off our feet at Tweseldown that we had to remind ourselves of how excited we really were…) and as I write, we are two events in.

We started at Aston-le-Walls with a duo of six-year-olds, who both put in great performances, to kick things off in a nice positive way.

We then rolled onto Tweseldown with an equine team of seven and a busy couple of days.

It was lovely to be back out on my top mare Total Belief, who had a run in the open intermediate. She felt really good and very happy to be back out cross-country — as did her son Total Miracle in the BE100! Can you spot the similarities in the video below?!

Following on from Liv Craddock’s comments on the effects of social media and the article in last week’s Horse & Hound, I am going to make a real conscious effort moving forward to report on all aspects of my eventing journey. It is a subject I have been thinking about for quite a while and I wholeheartedly agree that we all have important social media responsibilities to not just portray everything in a wholly positive light. That is not eventing and never will be — we all have ups and downs, and I would never want anyone to become disillusioned by only seeing the edited picture perfect scenario. We should give our followers a true representation of our sport.

So, with this in mind, let me tell you Ted’s tale…

Total Darkness (aka Ted) is a 18hh, seven-year-old home-bred black gelding. He is super-good looking, talented, but oh my goodness he has tested every equestrian skill I have since day one. As you can imagine, I didn’t order him in an extra tall size (but when do ones you breed ever stop at the model 16.2hh size?!), and this again has slightly added to the challenge. However, I really thought this time round, he may have turned a corner and would come out as a brave event horse…

Ted in action. Credit: William Carey

But oh no — all of these hopes and dreams where quickly dispersed during a cross-country session with Lucinda Green a couple of weeks ago. As part of the session Lucinda had brought some portable type fences to add in to combinations. Well, Ted spotted those a mile off and made it quite clear to me that they had no place on a cross-country course and ground to an unceremonious stop at the first attempt. Luckily, he did pull himself together to get his head around the situation and show glimmers of brilliance. However, Lucinda then went to pick up said fence and to Ted it once again became a fire eating dragon and the spooking returned. At this point, instead of Lucinda loading up the fence and driving it to the next location, a replacement driver was sought and she walked with Ted, I and the fence making him go over it repeatedly in numerous different locations until he could spook no more — at seven years of age I hope he felt embarrassed, but I am not sure he did…

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However, after this escapade, I am very please to report that Ted recorded his first British Eventing win in a novice section at Tweseldown last week. I know for sure that we are not completely home and dry on the spooking front and we will have many more hurdles to face along the way — but I hope it illustrates, that one; perseverance really can pay off and two; things are not always as they seem — never feel the pressure to compare yourselves to others — we all face continuous challenges!

Until next time,

C xx

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