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Sarah Gadd Update

Chris Price

“The weekend before last I was competing at the area 10 Riding Club Horse Trials Qualifier at Bonfleur with both Icarus and Diaz. Icarus was at the beginning of the day and Diaz was after lunch which made it a rather long day!

For Icarus it was his first ever event so we decided to enter him in the Senior 80 section in the hope it wouldn’t be asking too much of him, he would find it all rather easy and most importantly enjoy his trip out! We got of to a great start performing a nice consistent dressage test to score 32.2 – not bad for his first ever time seeing white boards and doing the test on grass!

Next was the showjumping and I had to make sure we took it steady as he isn’t that used to jumping on grass and we didn’t have any studs in! Not that this was a problem though and he went on to jump a lovely clear adding nothing to his great dressage score which I believe left us in the top few after this phase which we were very pleased with.

Next was the XC and I was intrigued to see what Icarus’ thoughts were like as he has only been XC schooling a few times and for 80 level it was quite a tough course with plenty of questions! We left the start box and jumped the first two very confidently and then on to fence 3a and 3b. Fence 3a was a log which we had to approach up a slight slope and jump and then 3b was a rather big step down only a few strides away from the first part. Icarus popped over the log and then hesitated at the drop, so I just let him look at it and figure out what he had to do. I turned him round and re-approached the drop down, he had another look and then popped very nicely off the drop and went on around the rest of the course very positively, well until we were flagged down and pulled up at the second to last fence to be told that we had actually been eliminated at the drop! We all felt this was a bit harsh as it was just hesitations other than one turn away but I suppose being a qualifier they have to be quite strict! Never the less, we were all very pleased with how he behaved during the whole day and with how well he went! Please find a picture of Icarus above and this is a link to our video:-

Icarus’ owners very kindly sorted Icarus out after the XC as I had to get changed and get Diaz ready for her dressage straight away! She warmed up very well and seemed very focused on what was being asked of her. this continued and she performed a lovely calm and quiet test! The judge agreed and we scored a mark of 32.3 which I believe left us in the top few after this phase.

On to the showjumping and she started of jumping well in the warm up but just felt a little unsure of the ground – last time out at Chilham it was a bit muddy and holding, this time round it was really quite hard! In the ring we got a bit too close to the first two fences as she chipped in a little stride but as the round went on she got more confident and finished jumping well, just picking up an unlucky 4 faults.
We had a little break before XC so time for me to go over the course once more before getting ready. We were doing the 100 senior section and I thought it would be the perfect run after the BE100 at Chilham as from previous experiences I have found Riding Club XC courses to be more inviting than BE ones – I couldn’t have been more wrong. All combinations were flagged A, B and C so there was no option to circle, you had to go direct. Quite a few people commented that some of the combinations would have looked out of place on a BE Novice track either!
After her not feeling 100% confident in the showjumping I decided I was going to use this as a training round and not push her too fast, especially as the ground was so hard!! She started off very confidently, making nothing of the first few fences. 5a was the side of a castle on top of a mound with the landing being downhill and then there was a sharp right turn on 3 strides to a target skinny fence, Diaz popped straight through this very well. Fence 7a was a straight forward roll top with brush on top and the 7b was a skinny brush arrowhead fence on a curved line which was being made very difficult to get to because of some clearly placed little trees! We got our stride to 7a and the stride before take off I looked across to 7b so I could land and follow the line, unfortunately Diaz is so in tune with me that as I looked over to fence 7b she started to move her whole head and neck to where I was looking, taking her concentration completely of 7a and we sort of came to an abrupt halt! I gave her a pat and came around again and she jumped through brilliantly. Diaz continued well, jumped over 13a  and then had a slight hesitation at fence 13b and c, which were two rather large steps down only a bounce distance apart. I think it took Diaz a few seconds to realise she had space to land and then drop of the second part. She continued on around the rest of the course showing real promise and how much potential she really has. Diaz finished full of running and was still pulling me after the last fence! Please find picture below and this is the video link:-
After sorting Diaz out I had to begin the trek home as Roxie and Milli were turned out and it was gone 7pm before we left and princess Roxie has a strop if she’s left out in the field too late – I think she convinces herself that we’ve forgotten her! Once I arrived home and had put the horses to bed I found out that Diaz and I had finished in 7th place in our section which I was very pleased with. All in all it was a very productive outing and although not the best results on paper I’m thrilled with how well both horses went :)”




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