After a hectic week of preparation for our last 3-day of the year, we headed off to Osberton Horse Trials last Wednesday morning.
Osberton is an event that I have always enjoyed, it has a lovely atmosphere in a stunning setting. The courses for the young horse classes are always well built and fair, testing the horses without worrying them. I had Holly (Riffala Du Buisson) in the CCI* and Crunchie (Kilcannon Watlings Crunch) and Purdey (Quality Purdey) both in the KBIS 7-year-old CCI2*.
Holly has only been with us since mid-February and we always said we’d see what this season gave us. We have gelled together very quickly and to finish the year with a new experience for Holly felt right.
She was a good girl in the dressage, despite having one diva moment in a canter transition! She has never misbehaved in a test before, so I think the extra atmosphere and excitement made her wake up and realise just how special she was and want to show off that idea to everyone! I knew she had the ability to be in the top 10 after dressage, but as it was our first CCI test, we weren’t upset with a 47.
Holly coped very well with the longer cross-country course, and actually took confidence with every jump as she went round. Unfortunately, she hesitated at the very spooky coffin early on in the course, so was given 20 penalties. I was gutted for her, but I am sure that she just needs the mileage in order to learn how these internationals work! She finished the course strongly and gave me the most amazing showjumping clear round the next day.
Holly is definitely a star of the future, and I think with a winter to really cement what she has learned this season we will head out winning next year.
Crunchie and Purdey were both competing in their first CCI2* this week. Poor Crunchie was first to go in the class and it was raining as she went into her test. As soon as she cantered though, the heavens actually just started dumping water on us — I have never ridden in such horrid conditions! Goodness knows how the judges even saw me, but nevertheless she scored a respectable 51.
Purdey was last to go in the class, which I was very nervous about. She is coping so well with the pressure of dressage, but she hasn’t ever been in such a big arena and she could have taken it all the wrong way! I rode her a few times that day to make sure she was relaxed and the weather sorted itself out in time for her test. She scored a 47.6, which I was really pleased with. So my girls sat in 6th (Crunchie) and 3rd (Purdey) after the dressage.
Both mares flew round the cross-country for me, with Crunchie finishing with 0.4 of a time-penalty and Purdey (pictured) cruising home 10sec inside the time. I had a great round on both mares and it shocks me every time I take them cross-country just how genuine and bold they are.
The final day for these girls was a new experience too. A long 2-star track followed by a showjumping round in a big ring was asking a lot. Crunchie jumped amazingly well, but touched 2 rails in the middle of the course. It moved her from 5th overnight down to 11th to finish, but I am still over the moon with how she coped and performed, and think the future with her is going to be very exciting!
Purdey jumped a fabulous clear round, moving up a placing to finish 2nd. As I say nearly every week, I cannot believe this mare has only now evented for a year! Osberton was her 18th ever event and if that is how quickly she can learn, I cannot wait for the next couple of years.
As always, my working pupils Jess Shiach and Becky Graham kept the show on the road at the event and at home while I was away. Poor Jess was grooming at her 1st 2-day with 3 horses, so experienced a definite baptism of fire! All my owners have been so supportive this season, so I have to give a huge thanks to Georgina Sharples, Claire Poole and Watling JCB for their help. They have supported their horses and the team so amazingly, as well as stepping in to hold and wash horses, bring supplies and provide cakes all season! All very important jobs.
So the season is mostly done now, with a few more small outings for the youngsters in the weeks to come. I will now be cracking on with building the yard at home — not single handedly thank goodness! Looks like this winter might be as busy as the season.
Full report of Osberton in H&H out tomorrow, 10 October.