I feel like a Duracell bunny! It has been non-stop here, with some really fun times and great performances from the horses.
A couple of days after Badminton I took Bob (Wish He Was Yours) and Wally (Wallstreet VB) to Aston-le-Walls where they both were super. Bob is getting the hang of things and I took him steady as this was his first BE100. Wally jumped a super double clear and finished in third, which was great prep for his planned step up to novice at Little Downham.
The following day, I made the journey to Chatsworth with King (Traveller Royale) for the CIC3*. It is the most beautiful setting at Chatsworth and King did a super cross-country round, but the showjumping was a minor disaster with several rails rolled and so I decided to go back to school and grab a few lessons with Holly Gillott and get him out pure showjumping a few times in the run up to his next outing at the next big B, Bramham where he was entered in the CCI3*.
The following weekend, I took three horses to Rockingham. Yet another stunning venue, it is local to us and I was thrilled to jump three double clears and my sponsor, Noble Outfitters’ fence cleanly each time! May (Willeys Mayday) was star pupil here, picking up a fifth rosette. However, both Freddie (Mr Fahrenheit III) and Vinnie (The Rutman), felt absolute class — so very exciting for the future.
The following weekend I was off to another stunning location; Houghton Hall in Norfolk. With lots going on at home, I took both horses on my own and had a mini-Norfolk holiday…well, a working one! Vinnie is difficult in the dressage because he is very quirky, and also gets quite tense and nervous which makes things difficult. Despite a pretty feisty dressage he jumped beautifully round his first CCI1* picking up a lower placing which was wonderful for his super owner Joanne Rutter, whose completely non-horsey husband Paul came along to watch and celebrate his birthday over the weekend, which was great. Splash (Drumbilla Metro) exploded in the dressage which was a real shame but jumped a double clear (pictured top), which amazingly is his fourth in a row at CIC3* level, a great prep for Bramham where he was to contest his first CCI3*. The dressage however was requiring some more homework in our build up.
The following day, I had a wobbly baby day at Shelford and then on the Friday we were off to Little Downham Horse Trials. I had seven horses running who all jumped double clears with Bob winning a competitive five-year-old class and everyone bar two (who I took steady) picking up a prize. Ed (Edison) was back from his holidays which was great fun in the novice and I have picked up two new rides in the advanced horse, Trevidden (Joss) and temporarily the intermediate horse, Machardo (Mac) who both jumped convincing double clears in the open novice to pick up a placing each. They are owned by really lovely people which makes it all even more fun. Speaking of lovely people, Freddie was sixth in the novice which was super for his owner Dr Polly Taylor and his local fan club, owing to the fact he was foaled across the road from Little Downham. Wally was awesome in his first novice which is very exciting too. What great preparation for Bramham. It was a weekend that got me in the right place mentally.
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Bramham is a wonderful event and I took Kathryn with me and Guy Woods who is here as a working pupil to help. Both horses excelled themselves. King improved his dressage by nearly ten marks and jumped a brilliant clear cross-country. Despite rolling two poles in the showjumping, he jumped so much better than at his previous two outings — big thank you to Holly Gillott and our BS outings for that. He is so genuine and brave, I cannot help but have a massive soft spot for the big lad. Splash did a much improved dressage (with no exploding) and then jumped the most epic double clear, to rocket forty places up the leaderboard into the top twenty and pick up the highest climber after dressage trophy. He is such a good jumper, brave and fast — I love him. Both horses are an absolute pleasure and their owners so supportive, so I’m excited for their futures.
With no rest for the wicked, I’m now at Bolesworth for the Rideaway Express Eventing class. What a fabulous venue and such an honour to ride in their incredible main arena.
With so much going on, I’m having a ball and looking forward to taking seven horses to Catton this weekend. Watch this space!