It’s mid October already and I am really not sure how that happened! A lot has gone on since I wrote in my previous blog and competed at the Melbourne Three Day event.
And just because I can, let’s see that footage again!
After Melbourne, it was time to work out what to do next. Henry had been spelling for longer than I had intended, due to a colic episode back in May. I then decided to give Snip a short break and then prep him for the M3DE Fundraiser HT (back at Werribee) in July.
I have to say, our preparation for that event went well and the actual event started fantastically. We did a cracking dressage test in a big 1*field to lie 6th (on a score of 66% …the judge at ‘C’ rewarded us with a 68% - wow!). I was determined after Melbourne to have a proper crack at the XC and we did, going clear and super fast, finishing just over the optimum time. We were provisionally elevated to 4th place – yikes!
Now I wish I could say that we then showjumped wonderfully and took home a swag of prizes, but as we know…eventing is a funny old sport. Instead, I nearly fell off at the first jump when Snip over jumped, spent half a minute scraping myself off his ears and then made the crash crew work extra hard to put back up an assortment of coloured poles. *blush* Not one of our finer moments….so we went from being in contention to nowhere, in just over a minute. One day, one day….we will get all three phases right!
So with Snip finally having a well-earned spell, it was Henry’s turn to step into the limelight (much to his delight). His first competition on the calendar was Maldon Pony Club’s horse trials in August. He had not done a Horse Trials since February, but had shown promise out schooling, so it was time for him to ‘man up’ and show me what he can do. He insisted on being a smarty pants in the dressage (no, you are not meant to canter parts of a trot circle!) but actually listened to me out on cross country and only put in a couple of shies at jump judges….but jumped everything! He then backed this up with a clear show jumping round and finished on his dressage score to be third in our section!
A week later, it was then back to that favourite venue of ours, Werribee Park, for the Friends of Werribee event. Henry was entered for the Introductory Pony section, which ran over just one day (wow, a “real” ONE day event). I was quite happy with his dressage, which although was green, was honest and (this time) obedient. The dressage judge didn’t agree with me on the day though and had us well down the bottom on a measly 52%. Unfortunately, that’s how dressage goes sometimes. *shrug* However, not all was lost and he once again put in a clean sheet in the cross country and showjumping phases to finish on his dressage score in 7th place.
After this event, I went to enter for the popular Avenel at Oaklands event and was dismayed to see that all the Intro sections were full before close of entries! Eeek, how did this happen?? I had been deliberating over whether I should enter him Intro or Prelim and it seemed the decision had been made for me. I clicked on the “Enter” button and we were committed…for Henry’s first Prelim.
After being weighed, measured and found wanting at FOW, I did knuckle down on the dressage training. This did seem to be rewarded and we scored a 65% and were lying 11th in a big field. Wow! I still get excited not being last after dressage, so to be in the TOP THIRD made me preen and puff my chest a bit…and made me feel better about the previous event’s score. Maybe watching all that Olympic dressage had rubbed off on me…? (I guess we are all trying to channel our horses’ inner Valegro!)
My daydreams of a top 10 finish and putting Henry on an even higher pedestal were shattered though, in the show jump warm up arena. Henry is normally a careful and enthusiastic jumper, so I was a bit concerned when we warmed up that I found myself sitting on his ears when he decided to say “no”. There was not much I could do at that point, other than to get him going really forward and try to get some kind of spark happening. In the ring, he did come to life, but it did take all my riding powers. We got through the first 5 fences clear, but I forgot to keep riding towards the spooky wall type fence and he stopped…argh! After that though, we had no further hassles and he proved he is capable when he has his game face on!
I wish I could say that I was excited about the XC, but Henry still was not feeling his usual cheerful self and even popped a stop at the warm up there too. He then nearly had to be carried out of the start box and I was *very* lucky to not activate my air jacket when we had a close up inspection of the first fence. Talk about embarrassing! We did get going though and once we were halfway round, I was able to stop using very loud vocal encouragement and Henry suddenly remembered what he was meant to be doing. All the hard stuff later in the course he made to feel very easy – once we iron out a few kinks, there will be no stopping us! J
Of course, I was made to feel like the worst mother in the world when he started coughing 2 days later. Poor Henry! I hope that his errors were just due to feeling a bit off colour and that he’ll bounce back in his bright eyed and bushy tailed cob manner at our next event!
Other horsey news
My other exciting horsey news is that my homebred baby, Alex (aka Fairview Loyal Ties) is now broken in! He came back from the breaker in September and has been going really well. Unfortunately he has been afflicted with the dreaded cough too, but once he’s better I’ll be spending a lot more time riding him. He will be 4 next month….I wonder if he’ll be ready for a baby horse trials sometime next year?
I do have some more news in the pipeline, but I think I will save that for the next installment! ;-) For now, it is time to plan the rest of the events for this season, sort out a day trip to Equitana and finish off my NCAS Intro coach certificate. Watch this space!