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Sarah Gadd Update

Chris Price

“It was our most local event last weekend, Chilham Castle Horse Trials and this year there was a slightly different layout and a brand new XC course which was greatly received by us riders! I was there early Saturday morning as I was fence judging for the BE90 sections and I  thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve fence judged at PC events before but it was the first time I’ve fence judged at a BE event and the crew at Chilham looked after all us volunteers very well!

I was back there on the Sunday with Diaz for our first run at BE100 level and I couldn’t have asked for a better run! We had our dressage first and Diaz started getting a bit lively and excited whilst I was tacking her up as I was parked right by the XC start but as I got on and rode down to the dressage warm up she soon focused on the job in hand and warmed up very nicely. This nice work continued and she performed a lovely, consistent test for me. So consistent in fact the when I saw our sheet after finishing our marks only ranged from 6.5 to 8 so I was very pleased with the scores of 32.3 which we were given.

Next was the showjumping, so with a change of tack we headed over to the SJ warm up, after a bit of a wait it was time to warm up and our turn in the ring. Due to the wet weather recently the ground was a little deep and holding, especially on take off in front of the fences. Diaz hasn’t jumped in this sort of going before (first time for everything I suppose) so to help her out a little bit I pushed her up a few gears as it were so she found it easier to jump out of the mud. She wasn’t a 100% sure about jumping from a slightly more forward pace so our round wasn’t the smoothest round we have jumped but most importantly it was a clear round, in fact there wasn’t a chance she was hitting any of the fences, as I’m sure you can see from the photos!!

With this being her third run so far this year she has already quickly worked out what comes after the showjumping – CROSS COUNTRY!! After a quick change for both myself and Diaz we were in the XC warm up and she was ready for it! I was keen to see how she was going to respond to the XC course as I felt it was quite a challenging course at BE100 level and not ideal for a first timer at this level but we headed down to the start and set of strongly. The first 10 fences were on a continuous up hill stretch which was really taking it out of some horses but each time I put my leg on Diaz responded and pulled harder up the hill. The first combination was a fences 5 and 6, two skinny logs in a wooden area but once she’d summed it up Diaz popped over fence 5, turned on the sharp dog leg to the right, to fence 6 without hesitation. Big pats and on to the next fence! We had to do a small circle between the steps down at fence 11 and the skinny log at fence 12 after a slight hesitation at the first step caused our line to go a bit wonky! Diaz continued around the rest of the course confidently and finished full of running after jumping a lovely clear for me! I was thrilled with her and so was her owner!

After sorting Diaz out I went to go and have a look at the scores to see we had picked up 11.6 time faults, (29 seconds over the optimum time) on the XC. This unfortunately did put us out of the placings, but this didn’t bother me too much as it was our first run at this level and I was very pleased with how well she went! When the final results went up we finished 15th in an arena of 40+ competitors. After having a look I noticed that, had we gone inside the time XC (which I know she is more than capable of doing with a bit more experience under her belt) we would have actually won the section! As mentioned earlier I couldn’t have been more please with how well she ran and can’t wait for our next outing. Talking of our next outing, we are heading to Bonfleur for the Area 10 Riding Club horse Trials qualifier on Sunday 15th May…..wish us luck! :)”

To watch a video of us please click on the following link:-




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