Last week flew by as we were taking the same three horses that we ran at Weston Park on the Sunday to Burnham Market.
We had a few days at home to put in some practice and a chance to pack the lorry for the weekend. Our new girl groom had a trial run at packing the lorry for a trip away and even though it was only three days, she realised it is harder than it sounds!
We left on Thursday and the six-hour long journey is never an easy one. We arrived by four o’clock and gave the horses some flatwork before supper, which was Mexican-themed: fajitas. We then had a chance to socialize.
We had a busy morning the next day. I was out on the dressage field to work Eliot (my Badminton horse, Big El). We had the field to ourselves (shared only with a barn owl) on a lovely morning, which helped him to settle into his work quickly.
I then walked the intermediate course before I did my dressage test on Eliot. This week we were doing the three-star B test, again a new test which flowed well. Eliot surprised me in the arena as he remained settled through the whole test. This was a very pleasant surprise, but I should really have been a little braver and ridden for the extra sparkle. I’m so used to him being very bright I stuck with the safe option of sitting sweetly.
I then jumped off Eliot and onto Kenny (Chequers Playboy). He was a very good boy through his test — he does seem to enjoy being watched!
I was really pleased with the way he jumped in the show jumping. We were very unlucky to have the planks down as he just went a little green and had a spook at them, otherwise he wasn’t touching a thing.
His second cross-country ride round an intermediate was again a fantastic feeling. He was very accurate on all our lines and brave into the waters and brilliant at the corner — I love riding him!
‘He made it feel easy’
After lunch we had a walk around the CIC*** course. First impressions seemed good and positive. Only the turning corners coming out of the quarry and the bounce into water left me pondering until our second course walk the next morning, when final lines and approaches need to be settled on.
As a whole round, Eliot’s show jumping was a lot better, although again three poles fell, which is slightly demoralizing. But I am sticking to the game plan and am hopeful this will fall into place at the right time!
He was once again a dream round the cross-country (pictured) and made it all feel very, easy. He was fantastic through the quarry which was my major concern — this consisted of a log sat on the edge of a very steep drop, then up the other side and out over a corner, and then a tight turn on sloping ground to another corner.
Having watched several horses earlier in the day, who made it look like the long route was about the only possible option, I managed a good contained canter at the first corner which made the turn very easy to make.
He was also very good through the water, which had a bounce in and four strides to a skinny. This fence had also caused lot of problems so needed respect. He really seemed to enjoy himself again and he recovered extremely quickly.
Hayden also did the three-star on my little horse Fernhill Fearless. This was his first event at this level and he did a fantastic double clear — so again, it was smiles all round and we’re hoping for a very exciting future for this horse…
Next stop is Kelsall Hill with my younger two horses, Precious Z and Chequers Superstar.