Flo's Eventing Round Up
Where has this year gone...? I can’t believe that as I’m sat writing this blog we’re approaching the autumnal months of the year, with the horses starting to get their fluffy winter coats, and the days starting to draw in slightly already...
However this is far more positive and upbeat blog than that, as we finally got out Eventing again! Lockdown restrictions eased enough that we’ve managed to attend 6 Events over the past 2 months, and I thought I’d give you a little rundown of them all in this blog, so you can see how each of the horses are progressing over the season. Now it’s time to cast my mind back to mid-July, which feels like a whole lifetime ago, when we found out we’d been accepted into a very oversubscribed Tweseldown with both boys to restart our 2020 Eventing season.
Tweseldown was my first Event back since lockdown, and only my second ever Event on Star, so I was a combination of super excited to be back out doing what I love, but also rather nervous. We ran both boys on the same day, with Star in the 90 and Atty in the 100. Possibly the biggest take away from the whole day was Star’s dressage. Drumroll please.... we scored 33! Now that may not seem like much of an achievement to your average grassroots eventer, but that’s a whopping 12 marks off of our Swalcliffe score... 12 marks!! It’s safe to say our dressage work over lockdown had paid off, we really did put a lot of hard work and hours into it, and Star posted a nice, easy double clear to finish 11th (seems to be my favourite position to finish in, 1 out of the rosettes). Atty also jumped a really nice clear cross country inside the time, but was a little excitable in the first 2 phases, resulting in a couple of poles rattling and not our best dressage score. Overall I was super chuffed to be back out with my boys and to get that Eventing buzz again which I had severely missed!
The following week we were off to Aston with the greys, Star to tackle his first 100 and Towie to have her first run of the year in the 90. They both posted 34 dressage’s, which I was pretty pleased with. Star went on to do a foot perfect double clear, making the step up feel so easy! A few time faults pushed us out of the rosettes but the aim was just to complete, to have a double clear was a bonus. It was probably around Aston that I realised just how exciting our future is together, he’s such a careful and clever horse, and I can’t wait to progress up the levels with him. Towie was also on really good form just rolling a pole in the showjump ring, she was certainly happy to be out cross country again and stormed around the track clear, I think she would quite happily have completed it in half the time if she had the option too!
Our next outing was actually to Sam Griffiths for our HorseQuest Bursary lesson, which there is a whole blog (and vlog) about. But it was really useful for Atty and I to have a brush up on our showjumping thanks to Sam’s expertise and then we headed to Offchurch Bury for the BE100, and it was a tough BE100 track with testing combinations including Offset doubles and sharp turns to corners and skinnies... I was rather nervous when walking it and it didn’t help to watch several professionals get eliminated at tricky combinations on course! But Atty wasn’t phased, we scored a much more respectable 34 dressage, rolled a pole in the showjumping (which I’m still kicking myself about!) and he then flew around the XC clear inside the time. It was actually great time run across such a testing track before stepping back up to BE Novice level, as I felt rather comforted that Atty was up for the challenge!
Then things got a little bit complicated... because of the huge amount of people wanting to Event post-lockdown, entries have been very oversubscribed and getting accepted into competitions has been a challenge! I was super lucky to be accepted into all 3 of my first competitions with no issues... but then my luck turned, getting balloted out of West Wilts, Aston (2) and eventually Cornbury Park as well. It’s safe to say I was one step away from having to rearrange my entire Event season when the amazing Fran from Horse Events stepped in and both my boys got another run in the 100 at Oxstalls. And what a day it was!
With Atty everything came together at once for a really lovely 31 dressage and a double clear inside the time to finish 3rd in a section sponsored by HorseQuest (which was a nice bonus). He was very pleased with himself and added a few jumps and spins in the start box before XC, but reminded us just how easy he finds everything at 100 level. Star was hot on his heels to finish 7th, with a cracking clear CrossCountry inside the time. Certainly not a bad day to have 2 horses finishing in the top 10! And then we had a few quieter weeks to work on our dressage training, ahead of stepping both boys up.
Atty was first up to tackle the Novice at Solihull, and the wind and rain decided to pick up on the day we were competing, which was not part of the plan! Neither of us were particularly on the ball for dressage, me forgetting to halt at the start of the test, and Atty getting bored in the medium walk and adding some extra moves.... However we agreed to work as a team after that, rather than making silly mistakes! We had 2 poles showjumping but I wasn’t disappointed with that considering the person before us went in and one of her jumps blew over mid round! I was just pleased to get through it, I’ve never seen a showjumping track lead to so many poles! The cross country was huge and very technical, we tackled our first jump in the water like a boss and picked up a clear round, and Atty picked up a fair few compliments on the day too. He’s honestly the most amazing cross country horse!
Most recently we ventured to Wellington International Horse Trials, one of my favourite events of the year. We went on two separate days, once with Star stepping up to 105. I couldn’t quite believe it when we came back through the finish flags having posted a double clear! What an incredible feeling, I’m really excited to step him up to Novice in the last part of the season. Then back again with Atty in the Novice, a big, technical course that caused its fair share of problems throughout the weekend. We jumped one of our best Novice showjumping rounds to date just getting a bit flat coming out of the first double, picking up a costly pole. Then he ended up being one of very few clears inside the time out cross country. We’re actually all qualified for Intermediate now (don’t worry, we don’t have any plans for that soon, maybe 2021?) and almost qualified for our 2*-L, which we’re aiming for at the Bishops Burton Youth Championships next year.
I feel incredibly lucky to have been back out Eventing, and now a few more quiet weeks to work on our dressage and showjumping ahead of our final 4 Events of the year, Towie is getting another run too! But I can’t really ask for much more, 10 runs and 10 clears cross country! It would be lovely to break that top 10 barrier in the latter part of the season (having picked up 2 11th’s already!)
If you’re interested in any of those Events specifically, I’ve vlogged every Event we’ve been out to so far this year so you can give them a watch on my YouTube Channel.
And I look forward to updating you all on the rest of my season!