“So where were we? Way back in mid July was Stafford Horse Trials. I dressage wrote on the Friday, as useful and interesting as ever, in the rain, but come Sunday, my day to compete, the temperature must have risen 15 degrees! Just Beau entered in the BE100plus, he was very unsettled by the flies in the dressage. In retrospect I should have put his ear covers on, he had a tantrum and threw his head about resulting in a 31.5 test. Onto showjumping, a much more straightforward track and smaller than usual, we still managed to have one down! Romped around the XC bang on time, to just miss out on the placings with a 12th.
On the Monday I took Bailey to school around the course, he overjumped the first half of the track and I had to cling on, the ground looked a bit hard to test out! By the second half of the track he was confidently popping all the BE90 questions.
Then Bailey’s turn again to do a BYEH class. Off we went to Field House, sadly a venue he hasn’t visited before. Unfortunately in the dressage they wouldn’t allow us a circuit of the arena before starting and Bailey went very spooky, entering with huge suspicion of the judges box, and he wouldn’t go anywhere near it. He did what was required but our 3 looped serpentine was a bit squiffy! Good timing Bailey, he hasn’t been spooky before and has consistently scored over 70% in his dressage tests! Onto the jumping, lovely large arena but very bright and spooky show jumps, culminating in 4 cross country fences. He show jumped super, but jockey got a bit complacent and somewhat let him run out at the first rustic by the entrance. But he finished over the last 3 fences good and confident. He’ll have learnt a lot and hopefully more prepared for his first 4 year old event.
Finally last Monday Dougal and I set off on the long trip to Hickstead for the Royal International Horse Show. Every year it takes longer and longer to get there, crawling along the M25. On Tuesday we did the Middleweight Plaited Coloured Horse Show class. The ring which the class is held in is beautiful and huge, with an all weather gallop track around the outside, our favourite part is the gallop, where I can really let him go! He went beautifully for the judge as usual, however we were not placed.
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday we show jumped, 1m and 1m10 classes each day. Sadly we had a case of 4 fault-itis, infuriatingly dropping the last pole in a jump off in one class and also having a whole wing of a fence blow over in front of us in another! The rings are fabulous to jump in at Hickstead, lovely huge arenas with perfect going and excellently run. Always great to watch the ‘big guns’ jump the Nations Cup and the Eventers Grand Prix, making my fences look tiny! Long voyage home with just enough time to do all the washing and repack the lorry for Gatcombe…”
Photos of Dougal are by Spidge Photography.