I have been on a bit of a downer all week having had a rubbish start to August but today my two homebred babies put a smile back on my face. We headed to Maelor Equestrian for their BS show. I thought I would just pop them round in a nice class because everything they've done lately has been moving them up to a new level. So Percy jumped in the 95cm Amateur Qualifier, which Florence has already qualified for. He was awesome and jumped an impeccable double clear for 4th place and a qualification for the second round. Florence then jumped in the Discovery. She was so excited about it and was doing her little dance before she went in the arena. She also jumped a fabulous double clear, in the jump off she absolutely flew but I didn't do two of the tighter turns we could have taken because I didn't want to break her stride and risk having a fence down, she finished just 1 second of the leader for 2nd place. I'm thrilled to bits with the pair of them :-)
Well it's official.....I hate the unpredictable British weather!!!! I took Percy and Florence for their first BE Novice on Sunday at Bold Heath in Hurricane Bertha. It rained from the time I left home until I'd walked my XC. I had decided that I may as well do at least the dressage and SJ because the SJ was on a surface. Florence did a nice test for 33 and Percy was mainly a good boy but just made a couple of little mistakes for a 38, which I thought was a very harsh mark for how the test felt. And then they both put a seriously big smile on my face by jumping clear round the SJ in their first ever Novice, I was thrilled with the pair of them. The heavens then opened and it poured down for about 20 minutes while I hid in the car and the ponies hid in the trailer. I thought I had better go and look at the ground on the cross country course before i decided if I should run or not but actually it was looking pretty good, so I decided I would give it ago. The course was quite a nice first time novice track with just a few questions but at those questions there were no long routes which I thought was quite tough. I took Florence first and she gave it a really good shot but unfortunately the wind had really got up which was causing the rain to hit our faces like daggers when we were jumping into it and made seeing very tricky. She jumped all the tricky combinations really well but we had a couple of stops at straight forward fences which were both jumping in to the wind, I blame myself for not being 100% committed because I couldn't see very well, Florence does rely on me to ride her very confidently but I don't think I rode her as strong as usual. Then by the time I got back on course with Percy the ground had started to cut up a bit so he was jumping a bit bigger then required, a little bit how he did at the BRC champs last week. At fence 6 which was quite a tricky step up to a hanging long with a drop down to a skinny brush, he just jumped a bit too boldly over the log and I couldn't keep him straight to the brush, so we had to represent and he popped it fine. He then jumped me clean off at fence 10, just put in a huge jumped and pinged me straight out of the saddle. I think he was a little shook up with losing me and my air jacket going off because when I got back on, at our second attempt he ran out at 10B but then we got going again and just popped our way home steadily. He felt green at the water which was a tough question but was clear. I just need to take him schooling again I think before his next event to get some confidence back and let him enjoy himself again.
I think it's safe to say that August has had a bad start for us but onwards and upwards, thats eventing for us, highs and lows and horses really know how to keep you grounded. But I can't be too disappointed with them today because they had both completed their first novice in not ideal conditions.
Both Florence and Percy have been flying lately but luck wasn't on our side at the BRC National Horse Trials Championships. Our highlight of the weekend was having a picture of Percy and I in the programme for the Animalife advert, who were the main sponsors for the event. On the first day Florence got held at the trot up but was then passed saying I could do the dressage but had to represent to a vet before roads and tracks on the Saturday. She felt absolutely fine in her dressage and did a foot perfect beautiful test for 28 in 100/Intermediate. Percy had got pretty excited by the idea of stabling away but didn't disgrace himself in the dressage for 33 in the 100+. The next day we had roads and tracks, steeplechase and cross country. Florence did everything very well right up until the second last fence on the cross country, where she jumped very boldly into a combination and just had a little misunderstanding at the skinny, so we had to come again. I was absolutely gutted I hadn't opted for the long route because she would have stood in a really good position if we had jumped clear. Next up was Percy and just as I set off on the roads and tracks the heavens opened and the thunder and lightening began. We did steeplechase in horizontal rain with electric skies. By the time we got round to the cross country we were liked drowned rats and the ground had gone from being pretty firm to a churned up, slippy mess. Percy really wasn't enjoying his run but he gave it his best shot. He was caught out at the water which to be fair had caused several problems. It was a drop in, to a fish in the water, run out over a very angled skinny hedge. He had never seen a jump in water before and had a novice run out and then popped as we reapprached but I had no steering coming in to the hedge because I was so wet and had terrible grip on my reins so we ran by that to. I thought considering it was only supposed to be ran as a 100+ that fence was a very stiff question. He then continued steadily round the course but still wasn't enjoying the ground but he jumped all the other questions including the second last fence where Florence had problems. I pulled him up after that one and retired and walked home. All in all a disastrous weekend. I didn't trot Florence up the next day as we had no chance of a placing having had 20 penalties and I just wanted to go home. I am pleased to say though that I got my vet to check her on the Monday and he said she was absolutely fine, so I'm not sure what was going on in the first vet inspection where we got held.
Amateur event rider