Ok so my fortnightly blog went totally awol over the last few months so here is a quick catch up.
Disaster struck at Broadway, after making the effort to get up at 3am and a 2 hour drive we had shocking dressage test, Riley was not happy, totally un-concentrated and not at all interested in playing at dressage ponies in the slightest this then was followed by an equally shocking time in the show jump ring as we parted company resulting in a very bruised body and pride – So we called it a day! I have to say my experience at Broadway did tarnish my opinion of BE; having a 17hh+ horse and a very bruised body meant I did not remount so had to walk myself and my horse out of the ring and do the walk of shame through the lorry park back to my trailer and not one person including the rind stewards asked if I was ok, which I just thought was quite unsporting considering my fall wasn’t exactly gentle. I don’t know call me a bit of a wimp but a little bit of concern by the ring party might have been nice.
So having had this experience and feeling that something was not quite right with Riley I withdrew from Mount Ballan and decided to get everything checked out with him and revisit my training plans. So to cut a very long story short everything was checked and a few things were changed and so we went back to training with the Riding Club National championships in mind as Riley and I had qualified to take part in the FOTH champs at Aston Le Walls.
Nervous about doing it I did contemplate not going but then thought that I may never qualify for anything else again and I should grab the opportunity and go….So off we went. The FOTH Challenge required a round of show jumps followed immediately by the XC. I was quite pleased to find that the show jumping was a little bit on the small side but the course was good, fairly inviting with one or two questions including a double of corners which I opted to take the alternative at as I’ve had the odd issue whilst out training with corners. Thankfully Riley and I did pull it together and we got a double clear even if it was a bit on the slow side as Riley was just not very fit after his time off. My team did well and we were one of only 3 teams to get all riders DC but sadly time was a factor and although we got a good result for a national champs, by coming 6th out of 21, we were a little disappointed that other teams which had fence faults but their times were better were placed higher than us.
So feeling a bit more confident I decided to enter the Riding Club Area Horse Trials at Bicton in the 90 section. I felt a little apprehensive about this as Bicton normally produces a fair but substantial XC course to tackle, so I cracked on with the training and fitness work with Riley with the hope that some extra preparation would pay off! Bicton was it usual a great venue and interesting XC course with plenty of hills, turns and the usual middle section of the XC course was designed so riders needed to engage their brains and ride accordingly. Dressage was good with riley he warmed up well and did a attentive test although he dropped off my leg a little which is something we are working to rectify in my training, that aside it was a nice test and we scored a 33. Show jumping was a twisty but fair course, it caused many riders faults throughout the day but I was pleased as we went round and despite giving the last a good “tap” we went clear. I felt ready to tackle the XC course I had the usual two fences which I was concerned about the first was a corner and then there was a Normandy bank with a rather large deep ditch in front of it (more of a rider frightener) The corner I was just worried about having a run out and the bank I was worried Riley wouldn’t read it correctly and stick his legs in the ditch as he’s not a brilliant jumper up bank or steps and we have tripped a few times. So we got to the start box and I think Riley is now working out what it’s all about as I had something unexpected from his usual laid back chilled out self we had a little jog! You may laugh but that’s about as exciting as it gets when on board the big grey chilled out beast. We set off well and had a bit of a loss of steering after the 5th fence but gt back on track and carried on. Surprisingly the more technical combination fences jumped really well and I was so focused on getting it straight for the corner Riley made it seem like childs play and surprise surprise I had nothing to worry about with the bank as we popped up over that with ease and went round the ret course in a relatively easy manner which gave us a DC and we had 7 time faults but for Bicton and me trying to steer my super tanker horse round it I was pleased and what was even better was my team came 3rd.
So having got our Mojo back we entered West Buckland BE90 however what should happen… the UK summer arrived! And in typical style the ground went rock hard so having lost my last horse to a tendon injury I decided to withdraw from West Buckland and save Riley for another day, which is soon to be at West Wilts BE90. So god willing I will be back in a fortnights time with an update on West Wilts and my prep for Treborough.