We got back late on Sunday night from a fantastic week at Osberton with Leo (Soltair Justice) competing in the CCI2*.
Sitting on the M5 for 4hrs on our way there on Wednesday due to a lorry crash and a blocked carriageway, was not the best of starts. This meant our journey took 9hr and 20min, instead of the 5hr we had planned for. I was beginning to panic that I might miss the trot up, but we arrived with 5min to spare. Poor Leo was dragged straight off the lorry and off we went to the 1st horse inspection. Amazingly he was none the worse for his 9hr in the lorry and trotted up well.
I had my dressage on Friday so gave him a good school on Thursday and then walked the cross-country course. Osberton is a beautiful setting for an event. We are so lucky to be allowed to compete on these estates. The 2* was a lovely course and looked to be slightly on the soft side, but I never like to admit that until I have been round clear. It couldn’t have been better for Leo’s first 2* though and there were enough places where a silly run out could happen.
Dressage was on Friday morning and we managed to dodge the rainstorms, unlike some of my fellow riders! I was really pleased with his test as he didn’t have the ideal preparation in the lead up to the event and he tried very hard. I was slightly disappointed with his mark of 52.7, but for his first 2* test it wasn’t bad. He has so much improvement to come that I know he will be capable of a really smart test in the future. This left us in 37th going into cross-country, but the marks were all very close.
We had quite a long wait on Saturday for our cross-country at 2.30pm, but it gave me a chance to watch the first few in the 2* and see how the course was jumping. Leo was extremely fresh in the warm up and very nearly had me on the floor a couple of times! He was fantastic all the way round the course and made it feel so easy, jumping a beautiful clear. Unfortunately he jumped too big over a hedge drop to a skinny. This forced me to take a slightly interesting detour to do the alternative as I couldn’t make my turn. We ended up with 4.8 time penalties, but I was absolutely thrilled with him.
He pulled out really well on Sunday for the trot up, looking as fresh as a daisy, and went on to jump an awesome clear in the showjumping. We finishes 29th out of 90 and I couldn’t have been happier with him in his first 2*. He is a very exciting horse for next season, but sadly he is for sale. I would really love to keep the ride on him as I do think he is a very serious horse… I just need to win the lottery so I can buy him myself!
It was a great note to finish what has been a bit of a frustrating season, but that’s how it goes with horses and you have to take the ups and the downs that are part and parcel of the sport. There is no rest though and my concentration now switches to hunting and racing for the winter. I’m sure it will be the 2014 eventing season before I know it!