It was lovely this last weekend to head off to the new British Eventing event at Rockingham Castle. Rockingham is a new location for Brigstock Horse Trials, which was always a great event to go to, and the setting was amazing (plus it helps being so close to home!).
I had Crunchie (Kilcannon Watlings Crunch) in the two-star on the Friday, and I was really disappointed with her dressage. She warmed up well, but the bell rang very quickly when we went over to the ring in the main arena. Crunchie is only seven and the whole point of going to loads of CIC**s is to let her understand that a bit of atmosphere is nothing to worry about. She doesn’t like to be rushed and therefore did a very tense test. Considering how many mistakes she made, the score wasn’t too bad (56) but it wasn’t the nicest experience for her.
I also had Billy (Belimo Nique) in his first BE100 on Friday, which he flew round! A great 31 dressage was followed by a silly pole in the jumping — I think he thought they were too small — and then a great cross-country round. Jess, my working student, again showed me up by doing a 28 dressage and going double clear to finish fifth in her section — I’m going to have to have a word and tell her to stop making me look bad!
We headed back on Saturday afternoon to jump Crunchie and hopefully have a much more relaxed mare on our hands. She was great, leaping out of her skin in the jumping and feeling much more grown-up. She then floated round the cross-country course so easily that I was shocked! She is now going to have a couple weeks off before coming in to prepare for Barbury CIC**.
Quality Purdey and Holly (Riffala Du Buisson) headed to the event on Sunday for the intermediate and novice respectively. Holly did a great 28 dressage and double clear to finish third and is now qualified to move up to intermediate next weekend.
Purdey did a less than perfect dressage test — she was so excited to be out! — but a great clear showjumping put her back in the good books. She had 20 penalties across country, but it was the only mistake she made across the whole course. It was a stiff enough intermediate for her second ever, and she made it all feel so easy! Both she and Holly are serious horses for the future, and this weekend only highlighted that more for me.
All in all, a weekend of mixed results, but I couldn’t be happier with the horses’ performances. Rockingham was an incredibly well-run and welcoming event, and I think everyone was happy to see a tough but fair old-fashioned cross-country course. Here’s hoping we can make it there next year.
Full report from Rockingham in H&H out this Thursday, 23 May.