Simon Grieve’s eventing blog: managing a tricky woman

  • We are so lucky to have such an incredible venue as Aston-le-Walls in Northamptonshire.

    The all weather surfaces there are truly enormous and as if the current one is not big enough, they are extending it – my jaw dropped on seeing the work being done, but what a facility it will be.

    I took three horses for the midweek British Eventing (BE) event there with all contesting the intermediate.

    King (Traveller Royale) and Splash (Drumbilla Metro) were having their last run before Houghton CCI** and both jumped well so I was happy that they were all set for last weekend’s fun and games in Norfolk, which I will update you on in my next blog.

    Chatty (The Loudest Whisper, pictured top) jumped an immaculate clear round in the tricky and up to height showjumping which was really pleasing but then on the cross-country, we ended up walking home again as she was very backwards over the first few fences (thinking towards the lorry) and, almost inevitably it seemed, ground to a halt before fence six. Oh fiddle – back to the drawing board.

    A few days later, and we were off to Chatsworth International Horse Trials in Derbyshire.

    Many would refer to this event as the jewel in the crown of the one day eventing calendar. It oozes class. The house is majestic, the parkland spectacular and the courses are beautifully presented with the emphasis on big and bold.

    I took Chapman to contest the CIC***. He did a super dressage test in the electric atmosphere and I was really pleased with how hard he tried for a score of 55. The showjumping was up to height but the sort of track that Chapman eats for breakfast. Unfortunately he didn’t jump with his usual gusto for two fences down, so we decided to withdraw and save him for another day.

    Drumbilla Metro at Aston-le-Walls

    Drumbilla Metro at Aston-le-Walls

    Restoring my mojo

    I was feeling a tad dejected with not completing my last two events so I needed something to perk myself up. If there’s one thing that will always cheer Grievesy up, it’s taking a load jumping so Charlie (Trewardale), Bob (Wish He Was Yours) and Bobby (Bobby Brown) stepped up to the mark and very kindly put me back on track.

    Mojo reworked and regained, I took ‘the old bag’ (Chatty that is) cross-country schooling the following day. She really enjoyed herself, as did I, so we decided to put our previous outings behind us and crack on with her Rockingham Horse Trials CIC** entry the following week. Go for it Grievesy!

    In between time I took Gemma Hill’s Bobby to Rockingham for the Burghley Young Event Horse qualifier. A super series designed to find eventing stars of the future, the concept receives positive and negative opinion in equal measure. Some consider it a showing class and that if your face does not fit then you are at a disadvantage. I however, think they are a brilliant way of exposing a young horse to new environments in a positive way and it’s obviously commercially very useful.

    Bob is a very green but rather beautiful four-year-old and he finished an easy second which qualified him for the final at Burghley – very exciting!

    Traveller Royale at Aston-le-Walls

    Traveller Royale at Aston-le-Walls

    Hugo (Woodland Rock) and Ed (Edison) contested the Novice and both jumped brilliantly albeit with the handbrake on a little and finishing just outside the top ten. These boys are such fun and I’m really enjoying riding them for their lovely owners.

    Onto the CIC**. Amazingly Chatty pulled her socks up and stormed round the cross-country in fine style, making it all feel incredibly easy to pick up 15th. She really is amazing when she’s on her game and in that moment I find myself forgiving her quirks (and of course her making me look stupid) – but I’m sure she’ll have something up her sleeve to surprise me next time. It would seem she’s a woman that likes to keep her men guessing!


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