Coral Keen’s eventing blog: We’re off to Waregem!

  • I am thrilled, delighted, over the moon that next week I will be riding for Great Britain for the first ever time on the Nations Cup team at Waregem CICO3* in Belgium with Derby (Wellshead Fare Opposition).

    I am a great believer in fate, and although it was incredibly disappointing to part company with Derby at the Cottesmore Leap at Land Rover Burghley Horse Trials, up until that point he was going beautifully. I think this wasn’t lost on the selectors who were on the phone as soon as we were home, inviting us on to the team.

    We had a cross-country training session with Yogi Breisner on Thursday, just to check Derby hadn’t lost any confidence, but he’s feeling as full of himself as ever which gave us the green light. I am so pleased and so looking forward to it.

    Derby had a week off after Burghley, much to his dismay. He’s obsessed with going on the horse walker and became quite hysterical when he missed out on the merry-go-round every morning with the others.

    I will have a jumping lesson with Corinne Bracken on Monday and then we will set off very early on Tuesday morning.

    Lola (Cascadelle) and Jake (Highmead Proposition) are coming to Belgium too. They had been due to go to South of England, but we’ve been able to re-route them and they will both contest the CIC* so it will be a busy week. It will be a great experience for them both.

    Lily, my head girl, is coming with us, which will be a great experience for her as she will be working alongside Alex Van Tuyll, who is just brilliant. I feel very lucky and proud to heading off to Belgium next week. Chocolates all round I think!

    Back to normality and Lola was absolutely super at Gatcombe where she won the CIC*. She’s normally a bit of a diva, but was very chilled this time. I decided to lunge her before the dressage test and I think that made a huge amount of difference, as she was very settled. She jumped a beautiful clear and then popped around cross-country, giving me a lovely ride.

    I’m hoping she can compete at the six-year-old championships at Osberton, where she is currently on the wait list, when we get back from Waregem.

    Pluto (Aphrodisiac) was feeling very fresh and excited to be doing a very simple dressage test, relatively speaking, in the Open Novice. He’s an advanced level horse, but I’ve been bringing him back slowly so he felt the open novice was perfect for having a bit of a prance – he definitely needs more to think about in his tests. After he’d let off steam in the dressage, he then produced a beautiful double clear. It’s lovely having him back as I absolutely adore him.

    The prizes at Gatcombe were wonderful and included a one night stay, dinner and spa at Whatley Manor, which is a gorgeous place in the heart of the Cotswolds. That’s a huge treat I am really looking forward to when the season is over.

    This weekend we go to Monmouth with Jake and April (Total Belief). Jake was super at Gatcombe where we just had a misunderstanding on the cross-country. He spooked himself at a wall that came up a bit quick, but he’s really developing and I am very happy with him. After Monmouth he also heads to Waregem.

    April’s final aim for the season is the five-year-old championships at Osberton.


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