“There has been a fair bit going on this month with lots of work to be done around the yard and being very busy out and about teaching and schooling. There was also the small matter of the National Championships last week!
4 year old Rabbit (Hibimona) went to East Soley on the 11th to finish off her qualification for the Novice Gold regional championships, she won both classes with a whopping 76.67% and 72.85%. She was brilliant and impeccably behaved. It was a long journey (1hr 30 mins) so she felt a little tired come the second test and just lacked a little energy and hence had a few little wobbles but I couldn’t have been more proud of her and now can’t wait for the Regionals with her in February. In the meantime I may try and do a Novice music qualifier with her once she comes back into work as she’s now having a bit of a holiday as she had her blind Woolf teeth removed on Monday.
It was Lisci’s (Celicia) turn to strut her stuff at the National Championships last Thursday (Prix St Georges) and Friday (Inter 1). We travelled there on the Wednesday as I always like to take her to the big competitions the day before so I can ride her there and give her a chance to get used to her surroundings. I also did an arena walk with her which is always useful and also meant I wouldn’t have to do one at the crack of dawn the next morning.
I gave her a bit of light stretching on the Thursday morning as I wasn’t on until gone 4pm and she felt very relaxed – she also went for a hand graze although she prefers to watch what’s going on than eat!
She warmed up for the test fairly well and I had help from my trainer Rhett Bird which was very useful. The test felt nice and solid, not spectacular but on a par with some of our better performances this year. There was a sight loss of rhythm in the first extended trot which lost a few marks from each judge, and the collected walk and walk pirouettes are not a strong point so they can always be better, but there was also some very nice work. I was very disappointed when I got my score, it was just over 66% and I expected a couple of % more but never mind, I was happy with her performance. One judge did have us 5th on 72.1%! The class was won by Charlotte Dujardin on Hawtins Delicato, a horse I used to ride while I worked at Hawtins stud I took him to do his first couple of competitions.
Friday morning was a horrible wet start to the day. Thankfully by the time I was due to warm up the rain had gone but it was very windy. I was last to go at just gone 6pm. Lisci felt fantastic much better than the day before if not a little bit on her toes with the wind blowing the flags in the warm up which resulted in a few leaps and passage – it was all very exciting for her. She felt on the brink of exploding but I knew if I could hold her together she’d produce a lovely test. Luckily I managed to and she felt amazing and I was proud to be riding such a lovely horse. The test felt on a par with our 71+% test at Hickstead and we even managed the canter to trot transition without too much fuss, just a little late but no rearing or leaping because I couldn’t trot! But again the judges were incredibly mean and I was very disappointed with a 65+% score. I just can’t understand it as I even watched the video back and I normally hate watching myself but most of it looked lovely there were a few little glitches but on the whole it was great.
To sum the competition up Lisci did me proud and gave me her all but didn’t get the marks she deserved. I wasn’t the only one who felt hard done by but there you go, dressage is very subjective. I know I’ve got a Grand Prix horse in the making with immense power that she’s not yet learnt to use to her full potential. I also need to keep working on her suppleness through the winter and she’ll come out a much better horse next year.
This week has been back to normality with teaching and riding at the yard and out and about. I’ve also been riding the horses that had a few days off due to the Nationals. The newly backed 4 year old went out for his first hack and he was a complete superstar. My boyfriend’s horse does not do well with time off and I’ve been treading on egg shells with her, she’s very sharp and sensitive, one wrong move and she’ll have you! I had a new horse arrive last week for a few weeks training livery, he’s 5 years old but very green and not done anything for 6 months but he seems kind and quiet.
The solarium is finally up and running. Rabbit tested it out and couldn’t get the concept of standing still and Lisci being the drama queen she is was a quivering wreck she was so scared but stood like a statue the whole time – I’m sure she’ll love it when she relaxes! Now I’m just waiting for wash down equipment to go up and hot water to go in – I really can’t wait. The other bit of exciting news is that they’ve started to dig the new school out – it’s exciting times!”
Photos by Global Herbs Ltd.