Latest update from sponsored rider Sarah Gadd:
“After our very busy yet successful weekend the weekend before last, only being out one weekend competing last weekend felt quite nice. Diaz was the only one out competing and we were at Tweseldown Horse Trials. Tweseldown is one of my favourite events, they are so well run and being on sandy ground, the going is always fantastic, plus since it has been taken over by new people there have been some fantastic changes made to the XC course with lots of lovely new fences at all levels!
After Diaz getting slightly stressed in the dressage warm up at Munstead causing us to loose a few costly marks, I was trying a new warm up method with her at Tweseldown and I’m pleased to say it worked very well. There are still things to improve on but she remained chilled throughout the whole test, staying in a nice consistent rhythm and listening to me very well. Her concentration wandered a couple of times as I was in the first arena right by lorries coming in off the road and horses trotting past going to their own arenas. I was eve more pleased with how she went when I saw that we scored 33.0 which put us in 8th place out of 37+ competitors after dressage. This was a new PB score for us as well!
We didn’t have long between each discipline so it wasn’t long before I was down at the jumping as I didn’t have much to change other than my saddle and put boots on Diaz. Along with the new warm up routine I have had a play about with bits and she is seeming to love a straight bar happy mouth egg-butt snaffle at the moment, as soft and basic as you can go!! I had jumped her at home in it and she was as keen as normal but not too strong so I was happy to give it a try. The show jumping was in the international arena which can be a bit daunting for a young or inexperienced horse as it is very close to the pavilion with people sitting up above the horses as well as having flag poles around one side of the arena! Not that Diaz minded any of this, she remained very grown up and jumped a lovely clear round, really concentrating and listening to me!
On to the XC and I was keen to get her out on course, it was a more technical, up to height course than the one we did at Munstead the week prior but there was nothing that I didn’t think she was ready for. We were called down to the start box and Diaz is definitely starting to know what the game is now and was keen to get out the start box and on with the job. Off we went and she flew over the first few fences really confidently. The first combination fences was at fence 4 with a and b elements of the medieval village and the fences and surrounding areas were all decorated with medieval items and fires. There was also rope everywhere making it look very professional!! The course had caused quite a few problems throughout the morning and the horse before me had been eliminated at the water. Fence 6a was a skinny log up on two steps and the horse was stood no more than 6 foot away from the fence so I had to make sure Diaz was focused and locked on to the skinny fence, which she did jumping it brilliantly and cantering on through the water. From the start of our round Diaz felt confident and was taking me to the fences so I let her run at her own speed to see how quick she is without any pressure to make the time. She jumped a super round, remaining confident throughout and flew over the last fence which was a spooky dragon fence with something over the top. She did exactly the same over it as she did with the owl hole at Munstead a few weeks ago, put her ears straight back and poked her nose out as if she was going to hit her head….bless her! She finished full of running still and jumped a super clear for me.
After sorting Diaz out I headed down to have a look at the scores and we were definitely going to have a top 10 placing which I was very pleased about but where in the top 10 depended on our time. I later found out that we were comfortably inside the time as well which poses well for when she moves up the levels as it did feel like we were just cantering around for fun! Finishing on our dressage score meant that we were to finish in 3rd place and Diaz won her first bot of prize money which is always a bonus!! Unfortunately this was our final run of this season, however I was chuffed with how well she went, she has improved each time out and learnt so much from every outing!
Diaz has had an easy week since Tweseldown and is enjoying a bit of rest time in the field as she has done a lot this summer and I think some time off to reflect on things never does them any harm. Roxie has a few dressage competitions lined up over the next few weeks / months and Milli has some jumping training sessions booked with the plan of getting her back out jumping affiliated to get our remaining double clears at various heights before April.”