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Sarah Gadd’s Review of 2015: Part 1

Chris Price

Has it really been a year since I last sat down to wright and end of year review?! Time to reflect on what’s happened in the last 12 months; celebrating the good times as well as thinking about and learning from the lows as always with horses know there are plenty of ups and downs! Roxie started the year still out of action following our XC fall at Tweseldown June 2014 but her recovery was going well and I was starting to get hopeful that she may be able to be ridden again. Milli started the year on flying form and I was very excited to see where this year took us, as always with horses not all went to plan but we had some great outings, a new ride joining the yard and many placings.

So, please go grab a biscuit or two (or a packet seeing as its Christmas) and sit down to have a read…..I hope you enjoy it!

At the start of 2015 I was out at quite a few affiliated jumping shows with Milli trying to get our Discovery and newcomer double clears. We collected many of these as well as some placings and most times we were lucky enough to come away having won our entry fees back which always helps to fund the next competition! At the beginning of February, nearing the start of the 2015 event season, we did an indoor XC competition which was great fun and this was a very successful show, not only did we win both the 1m and the 1.10m classes with lovely double clears, Milli and I also jumped our very first 1.20m track. Although we didn’t jump clear I was very pleased with the quick round Milli jumped and we managed to finish 2nd.

Towards the end of February we headed to a local dressage show, final practice for Milli and me before our first event and we couldn’t have asked for a better show. We won both Novice tests, scoring 72% and 73% in them! I also rode my mum’s mare Foxborough Star here and we finished 4th in one of the Novice tests….not bad considering it was her first ever Novice test! We had our first run of the season planned at Goring Heath but unfortunately, due to ‘lovely British weather’ it had to be cancelled.  We didn’t have long to wait until our next event as the following weekend we were out at South of England BE Horse Trials, competing in the novice section. We scored 34.8 for our dressage, jumped a super clear SJ – all the SJ training and competitions throughout the winter clearly paid off! We went on to XC and Milli felt amazing, and was making the track feel incredibly easy…..I can remember having a smile for ear to ear but that soon changed, two fences from home, Milli took off and then decided against it and stopped on top of it I gave her a pat and approached again, 3/4 strides out from the fence and she just switched off and there was no chance of me getting her over it so what started of as a great day ended with us picking up our first ‘E’ on our record and both my mum and I were puzzled to say the least…Milli had never stopped before let alone switched off like this on me! With it being so unlike Milli to stop I had her feet looked at, teeth checked and the fantastic Sofia Graham came out to give her an emergency treatment and see if we could find the problem, but nothing showed up at all so we took it steady for a few weeks and went to a local dressage competition where we finished 3rd in the Novice test with 68% and 2nd in the Elementary with a whopping 76%!

Before Milli’s tests I did the Intro A and Prelim 7 test on an exciting new ride which had joined the team only a few weeks before called WKD San Remo or Diaz as she’s known on the yard. Diaz joined the SG Eventing ‘Four Legged Team’ for me to further her education as her owner believed she would be a super event horse. The next weekend we were back out eventing, this time entered in the BE100 at Chilham, our most local event. With a good dressage under our belt it was on to the SJ and after picking up 4 faults here we headed over to the XC. I was just running her steady and she was feeling great, jumping very confidently until ¾’s of the way round when Milli slid into fence and stopped. The weather was horrible that day with torrential rain non-stop, I re-approached that fence again and she jumped straight over. I jumped a few more fences before deciding to retire as I didn’t want to risk her slipping again! I also competed my mum’s mare, Foxborough Star at Chilham in her first ever run around BE90 level and although it wasn’t the best result on paper it was a very educational day out for her!

Mid May, and needing one more double clear I headed out to Cobham Manor for a British SJ show with Milli and a bit of a change of scene. She was on top form, jumping a super double clear to win the discovery by quite a large margin time wise. Milli felt great so I was looking forward to our next event. At the end of May Milli and I were back out eventing, this time at Tweseldown. We got off to a great start with a 31.0 dressage (we are determined to get a sub 30 mark one day!) and a clear SJ. The first four fences were down the racetrack and Milli although she left the start box at a rate of knots she very quickly switched off and between fence 3 and 4 the same happened as at South of England and Milli switched off so up went my hand and we walked back to the box. I knew something wasn’t right, it was so unlike her to stop or switch off on me, and I just needed to figure out what it was?! She was 100% sound, her back was fine, feet were great, and teeth OK….if only they could tell us what’s wrong?!?

Towards the end of May, nearly half way through the year (how time flies) I got to do something that I thought I may never get to do again, I had my first sit on Roxie and a little walk around the school! Sometimes it the little things that can mean so much! But she’s made an amazing recovery and as you’ll find out a bit later on, she’s been back out doing what she loves most! Last weekend in May and it was Diaz’s turn and her first time out jumping. We did Intro A / 75cm and Prelim 7/ 85 cm combined training. We scored a winning mark in our first place but an unlucky 4 faults nocked us off the top spot! Scoring almost 65% in our second test and following this up with a nice SJ clear left us in 4th place which I was very pleased with and I couldn’t wait to get her out eventing. We’d been XC schooling a few times and Diaz was really getting the hang of it!

At the end of May I had an exciting visit from a new sponsor who joined the team – D A Saddles and Dave was coming to fit me and the horses with our new Orpheus dressage saddle as well as a new Hera XC saddle, both of which had their own personalisation to me with blue leather trim around the seat of both saddles! I rode in the dressage one first and, like when I tried them a few weeks earlier, I fell in love with it straight away! Milli felt fantastic in them both and when we put the jump one on she felt super….until a last minute stop at a skinny fence sent me out the front door! Oooops – back on I got and jumped a few more fences. Moments after getting back on my hand started hurting and I had really bad pins and needles in it which didn’t feel good! After finishing with Dave, I got Milli sorted out with help from my sister as my hand was starting to swell badly now. My mum decided it best that I go to A+E just to get it checked out and after an X-ray, I got the news I was dreading to hear….I had broken my hand and not just one place – three places! Must have been the reins pulling tight around my hand as it wasn’t a bad fall, I landed on my feet! With a cast on I returned home, I was not impressed to say the least as 10 days later I was due to fly out to Ibiza for 2 weeks holiday! Thankfully I was allowed to have my cast removed before I flew and told to take it easy, keep my ring and little finger taped together (I picked up great tan lines….NOT! haha) and wear a splint if it got painful. I was looking forward to the break and wasn’t too bothered if I had to take it easy….at least I would get a good tan!

***To read what happened for the rest of the year please look out for part 2 – COMING SOON***


XC training April 2015 - Web Edit XC - Web Edit


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