Wow-wee what a year. Probably my greatest equestrian year. It’ll be hard to top. We’ve completed all our aims and everyone has finished the year sound and happy, what more can you want?
Where to start? The Blue Chip Showjumping Championships was our first big outing, always demonstrating that pure showjumping indoors can be quite technical. Beau managed a placing in one of the open classes with over 120 entries.
Onto our first event of the year at Stafford, where Dougal pulled off a super double clear to win, Beau managed a 7th, despite the mud. This signalled a very busy time for Beau, in the run up to Badminton Grassroots. With many of our planned events cancelling we went to plan B and lots of lessons, galloping and XC schooling to be fit and ready for May.
Busy weekend at Kelsall, Dougal narrowly missing qualifying for the Royal International and Bailey qualifying as the best 4 year old for the Blue Chip ridden sports horse championships. The following day Dougal then placed 4th in the Open Novice to qualify for Gatcombe Festival of Eventing. Not to be outdone Beau was 8th in the BE100.
Badminton! Wow what a week, my nerves got the better of me but Beau was a true professional. A mistake in the dressage and a show jump down but I had possibly the best ride ever around the cross country over what is a very technical track. It was fabulous to have lots of friends with me and then enjoy the following days watching the 4* in the glorious sunshine.
Beau then had a well-deserved lull and was allowed to chill out. Dougal changed hats to go to Stafford County show and place 2nd qualifying for the Royal International Horse Show for the 4th consecutive year as a Middleweight Coloured show horse. 3 days later and his hat was changed back to eventer and placed 4th at Brand Hall Open Novice.
July signalled a trip to a new event for me, Upton House, to get Dougal some essential water practise before Gatcombe. Beautiful venue, Dougal happily popped through the water, rather too many show jumps for a rosette though. Then we spent the week at Hickstead for the Royal International. Fabulous week of showing, show jumping drinking Pimms and watching the action. No rosettes but counted as a great week’s holiday for Dougal and I.
Then here it was, the following week we were off to Gatcombe for the Festival of British Eventing, to contend the Corinthian Cup. I had slightly more confidence as we jumped around the same track last year, but unfortunately they had added a second water jump! Sadly he didn’t do his greatest dressage test and was unlucky to have 2 show jumps down. We did storm around the cross country, having a whale of a time though all the huge crowds on a beautiful summers day for a clear round through both waters, finishing with a handful of time.
Bailey the 4 year old had an experience giving summer, learning a lot from a BYEH class, being placed in all his unaffiliated dressage competitions and doing some arena eventing. He’s had a lot of time off to grow too this year. Look forwards to cracking on with him in 2017.
Finished 2016 by a little showjumping and Beau placing 3rd out of 100 or so horses to qualify for the Blue Chip Showjumping Championships for the 5th year running!
For this year I owe a huge thank you to Global Herbs. I have always had a few must have supplements, but product number 1 from 2016 is PolleneX. Just prior to Hickstead, Dougal was slightly under performing. He was blood tested which showed nothing. I had a discussion with Global Herbs and we thought he may be having some sort of seasonal allergy, as his only sign of underachieving was rapid, shallow breathing when he should have been fit, where nothing else had changed. PolleneX was ready waiting for me when I got home and with just days spare before Gatcombe, Dougal was started on it. After just a few days the difference was amazing. This was shown no better than finishing the rollercoaster cross county course at Gatcombe full of running and dragging me back to the stables! After the tub ran out, he wasn’t quite right again so I wasted no time on putting him back on it until I saw the weather and air quality change through Autumn.
My next must have this year has been Restore. I have used this for years usually in the Spring and Autumn when their coats are changing. I have used it this year when I have felt the horses needed a pick me up or when I wanted them to be on top form. Beau and Dougal both had it before their weeks stabled away to help support their immune systems and they both feel great whilst on it.
I have had great results with MuscleUp this year. Bailey has had it a few months over the year to help support him growing and filling out. He has not stopped changing shape all year so this has helped him fill in some of the gaps in his ever changing body. I gave it to Beau in the run up to Badminton whilst he was in lots of work specifically to help his topline, which alongside lots of strengthening work, it did and he went to Badminton in the best condition of his life.
Needless to say I will definitely be using these 3 supplements next year along with WinterBoost when the mud, rain and darkness comes round again.