“Half way through the year now and despite the broken hand and dodgy tan lines I had a brilliant time away in Ibiza with my boyfriend and the group of friends we went with! I did do more than just relax though, us horsey people are the worst at not doing what we’re told, aren’t we?! Go karting wasn’t too bad as I could wear the splint but I couldn’t wear the splint when we went jet-skiing and that hurt quite a lot but was worth it as it was so much fun!
After a few quiet weeks on the competition front due to my hand and being away on holiday, it was time for Diaz’s first BE event. We got off to a good start with a dressage score of 38.0. We followed this up with a super clear SJ which I was very pleased with as there were lots for her to look at around the arena! I was looking forward to the XC with her and after a steady start, I think due to the brightly dressed XC fences she gained in confidence and finished the round incredibly well. We did unfortunately get an E on our record due to some hesitations we had at the drop down, which I think was more due to her not being sure where to go once we’d landed as there was ‘B’ parts for other courses very close by.
With Diaz really getting the eventing bug and Roxie’s work load steadily increasing with her knee holding up very well, Milli had been having a bit of a break as I knew something wasn’t quite right with her but when a horse is 100% sound and has no obvious issues then it can be so difficult to find the problem, especially after so many specialist people have looked at her!
Two weeks later and we had our next run, this time around the BE80(T) at Chilham Castle. There were noticeable improvements in our dressage for a score of 35.0. We followed this with an unlucky fence down in the SJ but a super clear XC and she felt great! I only took it steady so picked up a few time faults which knocked us just out of the placings.
On to mid-August and I headed out to a local dressage show with none other than the princess herself – yep, Roxie was back out strutting her stuff! 14 months since our fall and after a tough recovery she had fought back, thanks to the help of the vets at Belle Equine and also the fantastic range of Global Herbs products as the turning point in her recovery was when she started being fed ImmuPlus! Despite being very excited, making her tense at times, she performed a very respectable test in the BD Novice 20 for 62.8% – qualifying for the championships at Shotfield Farm later in the year.
Next outing was with Diaz, and after some positive runs I decided to step her up to BE90 level at the unaffiliated event at Chilham. Our dressage was great with a score of 33.5 and we followed this up with a super double clear inside the time! We picked up our first placing, finishing in 5th place! I was chuffed with her and couldn’t wait for our next run.
Two weeks later we went to Munstead BE Horse Trials and it was Diaz’s first run around an affiliated BE90 track and there were some tough fences on the XC course but I thought she was ready for the challenge! Dressage first and it wasn’t our best as we were next to a hedge which spooked Diaz a bit; we scored 38.5. Then in the SJ we picked up 4 faults and a few time but putting this behind us we went and jumped a cracking clear inside the time XC! She felt mega! We finished in 11th place which was a bit frustrating being so close to the top 10 but I was so pleased with how she went.
September was a very busy month, being out competing most weekends and next stop was the dressage championships at Shotfield and after a few quiet weeks with Milli just doing flatwork and hacking I took her for the Novice and Elementary championships that she had qualified for. She performed two nice tests, scoring 71% (4th place) in the Novice 28 and 69% in the Elementary 49 (2nd place). Roxie was back out and she didn’t seem as over excitable this time which worked to my benefit and she performed a cracking test in the Novice 28 to score a whopping 78.1% and win the championship! Yes, there were some tears when the results were read out, after the recovery journey we have been through, to have my princess back out and WINNING meant so much to me, the bond between us is incredible.
The following week I was back out eventing with Diaz. We were at Tweseldown for what was to be our last run of the season so we wanted it to be a good-an! That it certainly was – we got a dressage mark of 33.0, a new PB for us and then we followed this up with a super double clear inside the time to finish in 3rd place, picking up our first bit of prize money for her owner J I was so pleased with how she went and can’t believe how much she has come on since she has been with me, and I’m very excited about her future, whether it be with me of a new jockey, I’m sure she’ll go a long way!
In to October and with Diaz on holiday now recharging after a busy and very educational summer it was just Roxie left in work as unfortunately Milli had been a bit mad in the field and done herself a mischief. Actually, it turns out that she has had an injury in her front leg which, although she’s never had a lame day, must have been causing her some discomfort when jumping which would explain the random stopping…..poor Milli! As I said earlier – if only they could talk and let us know what’s wrong with them, life would be so much simpler!
With Milli on box rest until her next scan and Diaz starting to come back into work after her break, Roxie was out at some more dressage competitions, picking up two 3rd placings in Novice tests at an SMP Events competition. We then had the Riding Club Winter Dressage Qualifier and with Milli unable to go, my mum’s gelding, Mars had to step in to take Milli’s team spot and although there weren’t any placings both Roxie and Mars performed great tests scoring 65.83% and 63.75% respectively.
Nearing the end of the year now, with the eventing season over and done with for another year, I had a bit of quiet time with the horses as Ryan and I made the ‘big move’ and purchased our first house together! Thankfully I’m still very close to the horses which will remain at my parents for the time being and that are only 10minutes away! Although it does mean earlier mornings and slightly later nights it is all worth it and we are loving being in our house.
With Christmas being less than a week away now, of course I had to fit in one more competition with Roxie and Diaz before the end of the year, so we headed out to an SMP Events competition at Blue Barn Equestrian centre a few weeks ago. Roxie did two dressage tests and finished 4th in the Novice and 2nd in the Elementary with good scores considering the windy weather got her a little excited doing our tests outdoors! For Diaz, it was her first time out since our last event at Tweseldown and she was pleased to be back out. The break has done her the world of good and she feels great. We had a crack at a Novice test which was a bit ambitious as we had only started doing medium trot and more advanced movements. Diaz performed a nice test despite the weather and we scored 65%. With the dressage outdoors there was also some jumping in the indoor arenas. It was a mixture and we had to jump 6 SJ fences followed by 7 indoor XC fences. Diaz has never done anything like this before and with all the tinsel, Christmas lights, trees and fancy decorations there was a lot to look at when we went in but she jumped two super rounds finishing with a double clear in the 1.05m class to finish in 2nd place.
Now it’s the new year and there’s no better time than now to look forward to the future and although I’m not one to plan ahead too much, after my life changing accident in February 2010 I’ve learnt to take every day as it comes, after all you never know what’s around the corner, I have a few little plans in my head for 2016! I’m very excited to see what happens as I’ve got some quality horses to start the year with, a fantastic support group of friends and family as well as an absolutely brilliant team of sponsors! Many thanks to everyone involved in the last year, friends, family, owners, new and current sponsors a like.”