Our season is getting pretty busy, and I haven’t had a chance to sit down let alone write a blog recently!
After an infuriating Catton Park Horse Trials, I was determind to set the record straight somewhere down the line and so with that in mind we trucked to Carlton Horse Trials in Bedfordshire.
What a fabulous little event with fun courses and a decent showjumping track.
Anne Bondi’s Ed (Edison) jumped a super double clear in the novice to pick up ninth. He’s a proper little jumper and I’m very much enjoying riding in my new Solution Pro saddle!
Christine Sloman’s Hugo (Woodland Rock) was flying across country when we were stopped as a frangible pin at the following fence had been broken so we had a rest while it was repaired. Twenty minutes later, we were off again, and Hugo put his brave pants on jumping a five bar gate, followed by a yawning open ditch, a double of skinnies and corner from cold when he restarted. Our stopping time was not correct and Hugo got time faults I didn’t think he deserved, but that’s how the cookie crumbles sometimes.
The following week we were off to Purston Manor Horse Trials in Northamptonshire. It was a mission just to get to the event, as with the British Grand Prix on at Silverstone, our usual access route to Purston was closed all weekend!
The horses went well with the highlight being Rocky (Generoso) picking up fourth in the intermediate novice. Rocky is owned by Emily McClane and I am riding him, as she is off games with a broken back. He’s a really cute ex-racehorse and Emily has done a lovely job of producing him which makes him great fun to ride.
The following week he contested the Retraining of Racehorses (ROR) class at Barbury Castle International Horse Trials in Wiltshire. It’s quite a prestigious class with excellent prize money, run at intermediate novice level. Our little man was fantastic, pulling up the order to finish third by jumping a super showjumping round in the final reverse order jumping in the main arena. It was quite an occasion for him, but he rose to the challenge like a little pro being beaten by horses with significantly more milage. Great stuff.
Barbury was a brilliant weekend, as King (Traveller Royale, pictured above) jumped a superb double clear in the CIC2* and Splash (Drumbilla Metro, pictured above earlier this year), the pocket rocket pulled out all the stops to jump a double clear in his first CIC3*. It’s a thrill riding such a super little horse who clearly loves his job and he’s an exciting prospect for the future.
A welcome return
Two days later and I was extraordinarily excited as Maria Buckley’s Bozzie (Cornacrew, pictured above at Burghley) had his first run of the year at Tweseldown in our quest to get to Burghley Horse Trials in September. My bestest pal was beside himself with excitement, and jumped a double clear, although getting very cross that I wouldn’t let him go any faster on the cross-country. He’s such a superstar and character — it’s just wonderful having him back doing what he loves most.
So….on to Chatty (The Loudest Whisper, pictured top and below). I had no expectations after our trip to Catton, but I was feeling determined that, by hook or by crook we would jump a clear cross-country round this time. She did a lovely test and duly went in and jumped a super clear round showjumping. I was adamant we would go well cross-country and she stormed round jumping superbly and really enjoying herself. I was thrilled that she’d gone well and that the feng shui was right for her this time.
We loaded up the lorry ready to leave and I asked Ellie, who was helping me, to ask the organiser if they would mind sending on the horse’s dressage sheets in the post and ask permission to miss the prize-giving as we would, if anything get a low placing and had a very long journey home. Little did I know that the old bag had actually won! Amazing result and just proves perseverance pays off every once in a while.
While at Tweseldown I felt very lucky to be able to congratulate Andrew Nicholson on his amazing Barbury result the previous day. He is proof that hard work pays off and there he was with a further five horses at Tweseldown producing his next champion. Now that’s inspiring.
With the older guys flying, it was time for a trip or two with the babies. Charlie (Merna Merrett’s Trewardale), Bob (Stephen Hill’s Wish He Was Yours), Vinnie (Joanne Rutter’s The Rutman) and Freddie (Polly Taylor’s Mr Fahrenheit) had some cross-country schooling and jumping outings before trips to Field House for the Burghley Young Event Horse class and Great Witchingham Horse Trials in Norfolk.
There’s nothing like riding youngsters to remind you how far the others have come.
All four are lovely and we had a lot of fun with them last week. Bob was second in his first event, Freddie third in the five-year-old qualifier, Charlie double clear and tenth in the BE90 and Vinnie settled to go beautifully in his first ever event.
Great Witchingham was a long day for the boys, leaving the yard at 5am and returning at 10.30pm so they now are having a day or two to relax in the field. It’s days like that when I would love another lorry driver on my team.
With lots of nice horses kicking about it’s certainly keeping me busy and on my toes!