Coral Keen’s eventing blog: try this at home

  • My eventing season started at Tweseldown horse trials where the sun was shining and it was lovely to see so many friendly faces again. I think a lot of us were concentrating on staying on fresh horses in the warm up!

    I’m so lucky that Mountain Horse sponsors me and it was great to try out all the new kit for the first time. It all passed with flying colours, and the horses looked great too, with Cascadelle (Lola) delighted to be back in the limelight again and trying her hardest to keep a lid on her exuberance!

    She ran along with Highmead Proposition (Jake, pictured top) and although she was a bit hot in the dressage, she did everything she could to channel her inner Valegro which always makes me smile, producing a lovely double clear. I went steady across country to save her for the future.

    Coral Keen  riding CASCADELLE in Section D OI at Tweseldown (1) at Tweseldown Racecourse near Fleet in Hampshire UK on 9th March 2017

    Cascadelle at Tweseldown

    Jake did a beautiful test, although we literally had five minutes to warm up as Lola’s cross-country was running late. He led after the dressage, so I think this might be the way to warm up in the future!

    He had a rail down showjumping despite jumping a super round and he gave me a really good feel on the cross-country. I have to say I am quite excited about him this year, as he has grown in confidence. Just cantering through the water he tripped and went onto his knees, which nearly ended in a dunking, and bless his heart he picked up from nothing. But sadly we couldn’t get our line to a skinny so I had to approach again. Jake had no idea that he’d picked up 20 penalties, and was delighted with his ‘clear’.

    Total Belief (April) also produced a good test, and then jumped a lovely double clear, again going steady. She has really matured and is a big, strong, beautiful horse with a great future ahead of her.

    Last weekend we had two days at Aldon horse trials where Total Darkness (Ted) had his first run of the season. He’s such an eye-catcher being black and huge at 17.2hh and as I’m not overly tall at 5’6”, people ask why we bought such a big horse. We actually bred him and he just didn’t stop growing!

    Schooling Ted at home

    He was absolutely impeccable to finish second in a BE100 section, but I will have to take my time with him, as he is so big and he still has a tendency to be very spooky which means he takes a lot of riding to keep him confident.

    He did a beautiful test, and even managed not to spook at the judge’s car or boards, which surprised me. He was then stunning showjumping and cross-country where he went clear, finding it all very easy. He’s maturing all the time and I am so pleased with him.

    April produced another very good test in the pouring rain, and jumped a really good double clear, with a handful of time-faults cross-country to just finish out of the placings.

    Jake went back the following day for the intermediate and he did another good test, although he was a little more tense this time. I am trying to work out if it was because he had a normal warm up, rather than five minutes, or because he travelled there on his own, and so felt a bit insecure and uptight. He did a super clear showjumping, and I was having a peach of a ride cross-country, jumping some quite technical combinations really well. We then came to the dew pond — he glanced off at the last moment at the skinny coming out of the water. I think it may be a little lack of focus on his part, having nearly fallen in the water at Tweseldown. The second time he jumped it beautifully.

    With Ted at home

    We’ve had a week at home and have been playing over skinnies. Inspired by Lucinda Green, I went round the farm finding everything I could, bollards, barrels, blocks — the weirder the better!

    We plonked everything down, without walking any distances, and the horses were fantastic (see my video below). Ted was a little stressed as he hasn’t seen anything like that in the school for a while, but he managed to stay straight regardless.

    Then I taught four or five lessons in the afternoon and everyone really enjoyed it and found it very beneficial. It give you a few ideas of what you can jump!

    I had a day at the races at Wincanton on Sunday and I managed to back a couple of winners. With fellow eventer and H&H blogger Rosie Fry being a friend of mine, I decided to back Misterton trained by her brother Harry and he won. It was quite exciting!

    Continued below…

    I’ve been really busy teaching and have been to Downlands with some pupils. On Tuesday we had Corinne Bracken for a jumping clinic and Lissa Green and David Doel came over too. It was good to catch up with them.

    I am also on the look out for some new horses to join the yard having sold a couple to lovely new homes recently. If you have a horse that would benefit from some time in a professional yard, or you fancy an eventing boot camp, do give me a shout!


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