So the story of mine and Riley’s first season eventing is coming to and end and this is one of my final blogs!
It’s scary how’s it’s all gone so fast but I will leave my final round up and summary of our experiences for my last blog.
From my latest blog I reported that horses being horses love to throw a spanner in the works and that Riley had an reaction to a fly bite right in his saddle area and his skin had broke resulting in me not being able to use a saddle and we had Pontispool looming! So for 10 days prior to our next BE I had no choice but to keep him going on the lunge. I don’t have an arena or proper equipment so I had to improvise with what I did have, which was a small paddock, some lunge equipment, 4 show jump poles and flower pots! So somehow I managed to lunge Riley on the flat and loose school him over some jumps! I wish I took some pictures as I did manage to make up some 1m jumps out of some very old poles and stacked up flower pots for the wings! Riley’s first experience of loose schooling over jumps was quite amusing however very educational as he had to think entirely for himself. So we got to the weekend of Pontispool and his skin had healed however it was still quite pink and had no hair. So I got the vet to give him the once over and he then gave me the ok to take him to pontispool. I thought if needed I could just withdraw on the day if I thought his back wasn’t right.
I walked the course the day before and the showjumping looked nice but had some testing lines and the XC was a big bold galloping course with some really good combinations in places to keep both horse and rider on their toes.
We got to pontispool nice and early and headed over to the dressage warm up, now not having sat on board for 10 days Riley was a little on his toes and the hack to the warm up was much fun for Riley! However he was a good boy and did settle into his warm up and he felt ok and we went in to do our test which I thought went well as Riley was obedient and accurate and I believed we did a fairly respectful considering our prep for this event wasn’t the best however the dressage judge was not so impressed and our score of 34.5 put us in the bottom 10 after dressage which was a little disappointing seeing we are normally in the top 10 or there abouts.
After the dressage I checked Riley’s back, and his skin was fine and I was happy to go on to the showjumping. So we went and warmed and up I think his free jumping really helped as he felt a lot more confident. I went into the arena and did my best to give Riley a good look at everything before the bell went. He felt quite strong and was little bit if a handful over the first few fences but then he settled and we did have a nice round except for one truly unfortunate rub on one fence resulting in the pole falling. So we ended up on 4 faults. Trying bit to focus on the pole and be disappointed we quickly changes tack and went to the XC. Riley’s back still looked ok however he did give give my one rodeo moment in the warm up when I asked him to open up a bit, but he did calm down and I did hang on and he didn’t attempt to do it again so we moved over to the start box.
We set off and fence one jumped well and then we went to the smallest fence, a White House, and Riley had a proper look before
jumping it so he got given a bit of a reminder by myself at that point to stop mincing and get on with the job in hand. Fence 3 and 4 jumped well but then he had a good spook at the banners which were near fence 5 so that took a bit of riding. The rest if the course Riley sailed round like a pro, I’ve been so impressed at his attitude to XC, yes he’s spooky but this normally is because his focus isn’t on the job, as he’s easily distracted, but as long as I am there say there’s the fence go jump it mate it’s not going to hurt you then he absolutely flys and is an absolute joy to ride XC.
We had one little over keen whoopsy at the last fence as we literally hurdled it and Riley properly had to stretch to get over it but he finished absolutely full of running and probably could have carried on. So our resulting clear XC which was inside the time did help to get us in the placings as our bad dressage score put pay to that but we did come 18th so halfway through the class is not so bad considering the preparation.
So I have two events left Bricky and Larkhill I may try and squeeze one more cheeky blog in before Larkhill but we’ll see how that goes.