“This week started with Dougal going to Stafford County Show, entered in the ridden coloured horse, a Royal International qualifier. This is our most local County Show so we go every year. Definitely the hardest part of coloured showing is keeping them clean! Sadly we were in a smaller ring than usual and the ground was very hard but Dougal was very sure footed and gave the judge a wonderful ride (as usual) to be placed 2nd and qualify for the 4th year running for the RIHS. Even though Hickstead is a long drive for us it’s a wonderful show, so I look forward to going again. Dougal was entered for the RI working hunter, but after watching 3 horses slip over I decided that we wouldn’t risk it, theres always another day, never another Dougal!
The following day, Bailey went cross country schooling, in the company of another 4 year old and a 5 year old, there was a touch of the blind leading the blind! It has to be said they were all very good, and we definitely jumped some hedges and fences I wouldn’t have attempted if we had been on our own! He has learnt a lot from this outing and improving his jump every day.
Saturday and Dougal was off to Brand Hall International. It is a lovely setting, with a huge bonus of it being my most local event, at 8 miles down the road – lie in! With temperatures rising I was a little concerned about the ground but it is beautiful old parkland and they had aerovated meaning it was some of the best going we have been on. Dougal did a ‘safe’ test for 32, not helped by rider getting distracted by the bells for each arena all sounding the same. After a very long wait, he jumped a superb clear show jumping. Now onto cross country, after our previous eventing adventures, my sole aim was to jump confidently through the water. The rest of the track was big and bold with many a skinny, but similar to previous years and nothing that should worry him. He was great at everything! Straight and honest through the skinnies and combinations and jumped boldly (for him) into the water! Big pats Dougal. I discovered we amassed 5.2 time penalties but I hadn’t pushed him as he wasn’t as fit as I would have liked after ‘abcessgate’, but this was good enough to leave us in 4th place. Hopefully water demons are laid to rest…. Until next time…”