Talking of doing things they love best it soon became clear that after a year / 18 months of taking it easy Roxie has thoroughly enjoyed everything she has done this year. Roxie had a quiet start to the year and was just enjoying plenty of hacking. We got to March and I was taking Diaz out to a local dressage show for some dressage practice before the event season started and as there was a space on the lorry Roxie got to go to a party! This she loved and twinkled her toes around the arena to score 69.23% in Novice 30 to win the class! As she had gone so well I thought we’d have a go at the Riding Club Winter Dressage Qualifier at the beginning of April. Despite performing a nice test the wind caused some tension which resulted in us scoring 62.4% which put us just out of the placings.
Now almost 2 years since our crushing fall at Tweseldown and with Roxie feeling very well in herself I was riding in the school one day and there were some small jumps up so I thought, let’s have a little play! Roxie thought it was great fun as you can tell by her face and her typical ‘helicopter tail’! We did a little bit more jumping, only keeping it small because of her knee and she loved it and despite them only being small she was leaving the jumps up which is un-heard of for Roxie!
In July I took her to the Riding Club Showjumping & Style Qualifier held at Felbridge and much to my surprise she jumped a lovely clear, remaining calm resulting in us scoring a great score and winning the class and qualifying for the NAF British Riding Club Championships later on in the summer! As Roxie was jumping so well, I thought I’d register her with British Showjumping so she can come out and jump with Milli. Our first affiliated outing was Cobham and not only did Roxie jump a lovely double clear around the British Novice track, she was speedy enough to win the class 🙂 I couldn’t believe it, Roxie very rarely jumps clears?!
Roxie got to come to a stay away party at the end of August as she came with Milli to Weston Lawns for the Bank Holiday Bonanza. Roxie was first to jump and she jumped a lovely double clear around the British Novice in the main arena. You can tell I was out of practice at affiliated shows as it wasn’t until after I’d jumped that I realised the second half of the course was the jump off…sack the jockey as this cost us a placing! Putting this behind us we went on to jump 4 more double clears over the next two days finishing 6th and 3rd each day in the 85cm class and then coming 3rd and 1st in the British Novice class! I couldn’t believe it, we still hadn’t knocked a pole down and Roxie had picked up her 4 British Novice double clears in just two competitions and has qualified for second rounds! 10 days after being back from Weston Lawns we were all packed and back in the lorry heading ‘up North’ to the Lincolnshire County Showground this time for the NAF British Riding Club National Championships. Roxie wasn’t very happy to be staying away on her own and was rather tense all weekend. Despite this Roxie jumped another lovely double clear but unfortunately we didn’t pick up a great style mark this time so finished just out of the top 10.
After a few quiet weeks to recover from two stay away shows we went to Blue Barn Equestrian Centre for their first indoor British Showjumping show of the season. Roxie’s clear round stint continued and she jumped a super speedy double clear to win the 90cm Open. We then got a little brave and had a go at the Discovery; this was the biggest she had jumped in competition since our fall. Roxie jumped yet another double clear to pick up our first Discovery double clear and then I was thrilled to find out that we had also won the class!!!
With the indoor season now in full swing we headed to Duckhurst at the end of October to compete in our first qualifier for the Blue Chip Championships held next April at Hartpury. Roxie jumped a lovely clear in the first round and then as we went back in for the jump off the hand brake came off and we really went for it! Roxie set a speedy time from very early on and held the lead right until the last competitor who piped us to 1st place! I was still very pleased to have finished 2nd though which has qualified us for the Blue Chip Champs next April. We were back at Duckhurst a few weeks later, this time for the Riding Club Winter Intermediate SJ Qualifier! Not only did our team finish on a zero score to win the team competition but Roxie went and did her best jump off to date and won the individual class too qualifying for yet another Riding Club championships! I was thrilled with her 🙂
As we were starting to get towards the end of the year now I was keen to get in a few more competitions so the girls could have a well-earned break over the Festive period. Towards the end of November we went back to Blue Barn for their last affiliated show jumping show before the New Year. Roxie’s winning streak continued and not only did she pull off a speedy double clear to win the 90cm open again, she topped this by winning the discovery with another speedy double clear……6 seconds faster than her stable mate Milli who finished in 2nd place!! I can’t believe what a great year we have had, especially Roxie! Who’d have thought that her career following our accident would have been in the showjumping world…..I certainly didn’t! We jumped very few clear rounds during the seven years that we evented together, Roxie didn’t seem to enjoy it that much and it felt she only jumped because she knew she had to do it to go cross country! Now she is absolutely loving being in the show jumping environment and her record since I registered her in July speaks for itself – 11 classes entered, 11 double clears, 9 top 3 placings and 6 wins!! I had planned another competition or possible two before Christmas but I’ve been out of action riding wise for the last 10 days after obtaining a stress fracture and ligament damage to my big toe, doesn’t sound much but it has really been quite sore! Very frustrating as I was only 2 weeks into training for my next challenge that I’m taking on but more on that in the New Year!
I would like to take this opportunity to say a huge Thank You to Global Herbs Ltd, who have been our longest supporting sponsors, their products have worked amazingly on my horses for the past 10 years since I started feeding them! All products do exactly what they say on the tin which makes it very easy for me to choose what supplements are going to be best to use. This along with the fantastic advice available from the Global Herbs team means that my horses are in tiptop form and always feelings their very very best! I have used so many of the fantastic products available in the range, all of which have benefited my horses enormously and I also like the way so many of the products can be fed to horses for different reasons. BlackSalt for instance, is something I have introduced into all of my horses diets recently. Roxie is having it alongside Prebioherb to help soothe digestion of foods as she gets stressed very easily. Milli is fed BlackSalt to help soothe her skin as she is a very itchy horse. There isn’t anything wrong but just a pinch of BlackSalt each day has stopped her itching and scratching unnecessarily! I also feed it to Diaz as it helps with electrolyte and mineral imbalance too. Another product I rate very highly is Hocks. I feed this to all my girls as it is great all round mobility supplement as it couples 2 of the products from the Global Herbs Mobility range; MoveFree and StrongBone. You can definitely feel the difference once your horse has had their first tub of Hocks! I also feed all my horses’ maintenance amounts of both Turmeric and FlaxOil giving support to their digestive systems, body defences, joint and skin condition which gives them super shiny coats! Restore is also a product which I feed every 3 months, just one bottle, to give the horses a bit of a detox and after a few days of the supplement, if a bit down they soon brighten up! One more product couldn’t live without would be the instant SuperCalm sachets. There is always a tub of these in my lorry! They are great when away from home and help the horses stay settled and calm. Feeding these to Roxie and Milli on arrival when staying away really helps them settle down immediately!
So, what is ahead of us next year?
With regards to plans for next year, I have a few things in mind but after my life threatening accident in February 2010 it became very clear that you never know what is just around the corner and made me realise and appreciate everyday as it comes, after all what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger right?! I have got so much to look forward to next year with these fantastic horses with Roxie already qualified for the Blue Chip Championships and Riding Club Winter Championships in April 2017. Roxie has also got her British Novice double clears and Milli has her Discovery double clears ready for the second rounds next year. I am hoping that Roxie will have her Discovery double clears and Milli her Newcomer double clears too. Milli will continue to show jump for the time being, despite her being a cross country machine a few years ago, she is really coming on in leaps and bounds and we are aiming to start jumping 1.20m and 1.30m tracks in the New Year which is something ?I am very much looking forward to. As mentioned we already have our 4 double clears to compete in the second rounds at Discovery level and we are aiming to have our Newcomer double clears too. I am also aiming to have a bash at some Derby’s next year as well as speed classes with Milli as she is very good against the clock and likes a challenge so I hoping that we can bring her previous cross country experience to use around some Derby tracks. David Pearson-Smith has said the Speed Derby at Hickstead would suit Milli well…..maybe a challenge to aim for in a few years’ time!
Roxie will continue to show jump too, as much as I would love to do a few small events with her the risk of her catching her knee is too big a risk to take! She is very lucky to be here so I just want her to have fun and enjoy herself. She owes me nothing so I’m just happy she is back out competing and more importantly absolutely loving what she is doing! I was planning to do some Dressage with her as well, possibly Riding Club qualifiers as the Winter Intermediate Championships have Dressage and SJ Finals at the same competition so it would be lovely to compete in both disciplines. There may be a slight problem with this though; since doing so much jumping Roxie has turned into a bit of a mad horse and her flatwork is slightly over-excitable now and she’s never been one who likes doing as she’s told so I will just have to ask her (very nicely) if we can do some Dressage!
Diaz has started lunging and I have been back behind her fluffy ears already and she felt great. We have a bit of work ahead of us getting her fully fit and back in full working order again which has been proving rather tricky with there being very few daylights hours outside my full time job but we’re getting there! I can’t wait to have her back, fully fit and ready to get out competing again in the New Year to see what 2017 has in store for us both, maybe she’ll be back out eventing as although I’m enjoying the show jumping I’m doing I do miss eventing! #watchthisspace