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Well, the whole Express Eventing experience at Horse of the Year Show was great.
My ride “Woody” (Wii Limbo) found the warm-up quite scary. It was a bit small and because it was a tent, when the sides flapped, Woody got very worried. The speakers were up high and he tried to look up when they were making noise.
When he went into the arena for the dressage, the test started well, but then he made a few mistakes and got quite tense. He did cope well overall though, and I managed to keep him under wraps. The pirouettes and four-time changes went well, which is what I was worried about. So I was pleased with parts, but disappointed with other areas of it.
The cross-country was fantastic. Woody was a complete star. We had one scary moment, when the course-builders hadn’t put the flag up on a corner and we were a bit scrappy, but we got through it and were clear with just 1.5 time faults.
He was then a little tired by the showjumping. He did warm in well, but sadly had two fences down. I then went for the joker and he sadly had that too, very unlike him. We finished in 10th which was still a pleasing result as the cross-country had caused quite a few problems – even for four-star horse Shiver St George and 2009 final winner Flora Harris.
Woody is now going to have a holiday and then do some jumping and dressage over the winter. Next year I plan to establish him at advanced and CIC*** level, he will head to the eight- and nine-year-old class at Blenheim again, and if everything has gone well he will go to Boekelo CCI*** in the Netherlands in the autumn.
Express Eventing is a great competition. The only change I would make is to have the cross-country and showjumping together, so a bit more like the indoor cross-country competitions – this would really make it an “express” competition.
I would love to take part in the Express Eventing next year – I assume it’ll be the same format in terms of qualifying so fingers crossed!
Full report from Express Eventing in H&H this week (13 October issue)
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