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Victoria Bax and Alberta’s Pride off to Wellington Horse Trials

Victoria Bax and Alberta's Pride off to Welington Horse Trials
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Well, it was lovely to be back out on my youngest Alberta’s Pride a few weeks ago. Back in June, he threw a splint, so he has had a quiet couple of months but showed he was fit (faster than expected recovery with Arc Equine + Aloeride aloe vera) and well when we headed off to Wellington Horse Trials; one of my favourite events, hence why I was desperate to run there… Victoria Bax and Alberta’s Pride off to Wellington Horse Trials!

To say the day was wet was an understatement; from start to finish and from head to toe we were soaked! However, it didn’t seem to bother Alberta’s Pride who warmed up beautifully for his dressage test and produced what I thought was a lovely smooth, relaxed and accurate test, but sadly we were left disappointed with a score of 36. After looking at the other scores in my section, I soon realised it was a low scoring judge as the best mark was only 30 anyway.

Showjumping was a big testing course in a big arena with lots of “props” that hindered your lines to fences, so you either had to cut in or go round them. I noticed a lot of people going around them were incurring time penalties, so I made sure I cut in. We jumped a lovely round which I thought was clear, but sadly it appears he hit the very first rail although I don’t know how as even on the video you can’t see him touch it. Nevertheless, I was pleased anyway.

So on to the cross country which was a decent course with some good combinations, especially 2/3 of the way around where we had to contend a skinny log to a log drop, then onto a curving left 3/4 strides to another skinny log then five strides to a corner. A decent ask for 100 level I thought.

I had nothing to worry about though as Alberta’s Pride sailed round clear with just a handful of time penalties, which I was thrilled with as he really does lack competition experience following his “sick note” antics over the last couple of seasons! I was astonished to see in the results that both the showjumping and cross country courses had caused carnage for others and no less than 16 horse and riders failed to complete in my section for one reason or another. I was left feeling pretty smug with our efforts after all!

A couple of weeks later we headed out again with Alberta’s Pride to Chilham Park for another event. Our dressage test was going well until Alberta’s Pride decided he couldn’t for the life of him canter on the left rein and broke or disunited not once, not twice but three times, which sadly meant that all 3 canter marks resulted in earning a 3, 4 & 5 instead of the 7/7.5 which we earned throughout the rest of the test. Therefore sadly knocking us right out of contention.

So into the showjumping where another super round ensued, until two from home when I still to this day have absolutely no ideas what went wrong! We were in perfect balance and on the perfect stride, but Alberta’s Pride simply forgot to take off and just cantered straight through the fence. He wasn’t at all phased by his actions. I picked him up and set him up for the next fence which was after a 90 degree right turn to a set of planks on the downhill, which yes you guessed it he sailed over and left it up, unlike most other horses! The cross country simply felt like a fun run for us as there really was nothing at all testing, so we stormed round clear easily inside the time, resulting in our first top ten placing at 100 level for 10th.

Alberta’s Pride has three more events lined up for the rest of the season hopefully with a step up at the last event, but I won’t hold out on that happening as I’m sure “sick note” may have other ideas!

Until next time…

Header image courtesy of Jason Bax

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The Eventing Season Has Finally Begun!

Victoria Bax Aloeride Little Downham Horse Trials
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The Eventing season has finally begun! Towards the end of April, 7yr old Alberta’s Pride aka Frankie headed off to Munstead today. I am a huge fan of Munstead when asking a horse to step up a level as they have the most perfect cross country to do this. Although my plans had not actually happened as I wanted them to: With Tweseldown cancelled the previous weekend (when we were supposed to have our first run of the season at 90 level to then step up to 100 level here). However, this super little horse certainly is my pride and joy and lives up to his name; my grandma really would be so proud of him.

January 2017 he was diagnosed with hind suspensory damage. He spent nine months in rehab and returned to do one event in September 2017 at 90 level, funnily enough at Munstead – only to win! I can safely say I put this tremendous improvement down to the Arc Equine technology and Aloeride which I have been using daily combined with their rehabilitation plan which I have followed to a “T”.

Then, he heads to Munstead again for his first run of the season and his very first ever 100 level class and again smashes it! He did a super dressage, but sadly two hugely costly mistakes in the canters left us with just a 34, he then jumped a super round showjumping round with just one rail down. Then onto the cross country and he stormed round all the direct routes and through many combinations which he hasn’t seen before to produce a faultless clear cross-country round with a handful of time penalties.

I am entirely over the moon with his efforts today. I mean his first event of the season and first time up a level to 100.

The following weekend we headed off to Chilham Castle with 8-year-old Alberta’s Rose aka Princess Tilly in her first event (BE100) of the season. She produced a super dressage to deserve a 27 (73%) and then a super easy double clear inside the time to finish on our dressage score. Sadly, I was in a very hot section where 27 just wasn’t good enough to bag a top spot, although we still ended up with a frilly for 7th.

Our next stop was Badminton for the week, where I was enjoying being a spectator and my husband Jason had a media accreditation, so was busy working all week. It was my first time ever spending the whole week there and being able to really sit down and watch the dressage alongside superb commentary from Pammy Hutton and Peter Storr, who were both really informative which meant learning lots too! I also had the opportunity to take my time and really walk the cross country course, in the hope that one day maybe we will finally make our ultimate dream come true.

Our next event was on an extremely hot and sweaty day with Alberta’s Rose aka Tilly at Borde Hill, but with only one horse so it was a doddle! We started with a nice dressage test sadly ruined by two hugely costly spooks on the right canter due to a boggy roped off area right next to our arena which she obviously took a dislike to. So, this started us off on just 30 penalties. If you forget the two spooks that would have been a 24/25 test, for which I’d have been super happy with!

We had a long nearly 3-hour wait for showjumping, which is always tricky at Borde Hill due to the undulations. We managed to take a rail on the second to last fence with an uphill approach where we just lost some power around the turn and didn’t quite make the spread on it. Needless to say, all the tricky downhills fences which should have caused us problems, I managed to get her back and set her up to clear.

Then onto a testing cross country although not significant, had a few good questions relating to the approach to a lot of the fences as they appeared just around a corner so not much time to see them and jump them. This was a great test with my little lady as this is something she has struggled duck fence before the spooky water – she jumped boldly over! Makes me so grateful to be sat on a Thoroughbred as when I asked for more up the last long Hill I immediately had a response and we finished full of running easily inside the time. I’m really hoping she WILL make the jump to Novice successfully at some point this season. This outing also earnt us 9th place and another frilly!

This weekend was another busy one which firstly saw Alberta’s Rose aka Tilly and Alberta’s Pride aka Frankie go head to head in the Riding Club Qualifier Dressage competition where they both contended N23; their first long arena test. Both produced super tests which I was very happy with, Alberta’s Rose scored 69% to finish 2nd and Alberta’s Pride scores 67% to finish 4th, so pretty great efforts from the pair of them.

On the Sunday Alberta’s Pride travelled up to Little Downham to contend only his second 100 competition and only second event of the season having not evented since mid-April due to weather and ballots! I thought it would be a big ask, but we have been training well at home, so we went for it. He produced a super dressage test to score 29 (71%). After a couple of excited warm-up jumps which included a couple of handstands, he settled down to jump a lovely round just taking one rail after having a look at a fence and me having to push him causing him to flatten. Overall a nice round from him considering how inexperienced he is at this level. Then onto the cross country. This was definitely going to be a big ask with no less than seven combination fences on course including hard to get to fences, rails before water and a roll top in the water!

I need not have worried because he was utterly Mega! He cruised around taking it all in his stride to produce a super clear with a handful of time penalties as it was a stinking hot day I didn’t want to put too much pressure on him. Needless to say he finished full of running. This horse really is going to be amazing! With lots more events planned, I’m looking forward to another busy month of Eventing.

Until next time…

Header photograph by courtesy of Jason Bax.

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Victoria Bax Eventing blog October 2017

Victoria Bax Eventing blog October 2017
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Victoria Bax Eventing blog October 2017 talks RIDING CLUB FUN AND SOME DIY EQUESTRIAN STYLE! October was supposed to be filled with final events to wrap our season however, as usual things didn’t quite go to plan.

Firstly, a short while ago my dad was diagnosed as needing an operation, he was told it would be about an 8 week wait, which I originally calculated to be the end of October and I thought would work perfectly. However, this was brought forward and given as 29th September which meant the chances of me making it to Little Downham for the weekend were slim as he was only expected to be in hospital for one or two nights, then coming to stay with me. I didn’t think it was right if he came out for me then to leave him for the day to go eventing, so I withdrew. Fortunately there was still a waiting list so was lucky enough to get a refund, while someone else enjoyed my space!

I had another change of plan with Alberta’s Pride, having done so well in his comeback competition to win in September and feeling so confident cross country I decided he didn’t really need to go to another event this season which would benefit him in any way, plus, I didn’t want to go to one and not win! 🙂

Instead Alberta’s Pride has been working on his showjumping, but proving there is nothing wrong with that by going out and jumping yet another double clear in the British Novice and would have finished 7th out of a huge 40 odd competitors, but he was on a ticket. He will definitely need to move on up to the Discovery next time out. I took Alberta’s Rose showjumping as well on the same day as a new local venue Beechwood arc has just started to run affiliated showjumping. As it was only 20 minutes from me it was extremely easy to get to. She jumped a lovely round just tipping one rail. The plan is to continue to take both of these horses showjumping throughout the winter.

Crystal Ka has now been back in work for a few week following his withdrawal from his last event back in August where he just didn’t feel himself on the day. He was extremely flat but polite in the dressage which really isn’t him and then caused problems in the showjumping warm-up so I made the decision to withdraw him. I am certainly pleased I did as I had my Physio came out to see him the following week and he had torn a gluteal muscle which was obviously causing him a great deal of pain so we turned him away for 6 weeks to have time to repair himself (Aloeride will certainly help this).

Alberta’s Pride was called up for a local riding club team combined training. I like to stay involved with local riding club events and use them for competition experience for my younger horses. However, three days before I was asked if I could bring Crystal Ka along too to fill a space in an elementary team due to a lame horse. There was only a small problem as he had been out of work for the last 6 weeks!
The request was passed down to Alberta’s Rose who had a whistle stop tour of rein back, walk to canter, medium canter to a 10 m circle to a half 10 m circle with simple change which she struggled with to start with but somehow on the day managed to pull it out of the bag and score 65.71% to finish 4th out of about 15 in her class. She was also part of the winning team to qualify for the riding club championships early next year, so not a bad first elementary attempt for her! Alberta’s Pride didn’t disappoint either and scored a great 72% again and jumped a clear round to finish 5th, so a good day with both my horses performing well for the teams, phew!

My winter training clinics are now in full swing, even managing to get one last clinic out on the beautiful course at Horseheath last weekend which everyone thoroughly enjoyed.

I have been practising my Blue Peter skills and adding to my jump collection by building some new fillers. With a little help from my local DIY store, nonetheless, I have impressed myself with my skills! My team have since jumped round them all and seem to approve, including Crystal Ka, who last time we tried to jump was extremely uncomfortable because of the torn muscle, but this time was extremely keen! My little puppy Alfie is getting used to yard life as you can see from the picture, helping me bring in Crystal aka from the field! (Set up just for the picture purposes!)

Let’s hope the lovely Autumn weather continues as it certainly makes things more bearable with our outside pastime!

Until next time… Victoria Bax

Header image courtesy of Victoria’s very talented husband Jason Bax.

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Victoria Bax Eventing blog December 2017

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What’s up in the Victoria Bax Eventing blog December 2017… well, November was another month of huge ups and downs. It started very well with a trip out to our new local British Showjumping show at the lovely Beechwood Ec early this month. I had initially planned to take two horses, but one did what they do best and came in a couple of nights before with a cut and a fat leg which is still not better three days later, so she managed to swerve a showjumping trip! However, six-year-old Alberta’s Pride (aka Frankie) went alone and excelled himself yet again by not only producing another double clear in the British Novice but also a super duper double clear in his first Discovery too; is there no end to this boy’s talent.

The following week, Alberta’s Pride was called up to fill a place in a Riding Club Team qualifier where he put in another superb jumping display in the 1m & 1.05m rounds helping the team finish a respectable 2nd.

Some successful clinics have now been completed as after all it is prime training season right now. The course showjumping clinic was lots of fun with a couple of new clients and lots of regulars, all thoroughly enjoying themselves, practising techniques and learning new skills, but two sessions really stood out for me;

One very brave regular of mine brought along her new horse and smashed it by jumping around the whole course! Brilliant! Another who has travelled a very LONG journey over the last eight months with her own horse, who at the start would not even step over a pole on the ground through to jumping beautifully round the course including all the fillers; making it look very easy.

Lastly, later this month I received some utterly devastating news from a phone call late on Friday afternoon to let me know that a lady who started as a regular client but soon turned in a great friend very sadly lost her extremely quick and aggressive fight against cancer and passed away. She learnt of her diagnosis only 4/6 weeks beforehand and simply didn’t have a chance of fighting it as it had really got a hold of her. I am utterly devastated to lose someone who I considered a really good friend. My thoughts go out to her young family and husband at this hugely tragic time. So, please give your loved ones both two-legged, and four-legged an extra hug and kiss today because you never know when it might be their last.

Life does go on for the rest of us, so wishing everyone a happy Christmas and a smashingly successful New Year.

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Victoria Bax on injury recovery

Victoria Bax on injury recovery
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Finally it seems things are starting to look up for me as a lot has changed for the better since last month, thank goodness as I was seriously considering a lifestyle change! Here’s Victoria Bax on injury recovery…

Firstly, good news regarding my lorry. The mechanics finally managed to fix the problems and complete repairs and it was back to me in time to get it to its 3rd booked plating test of the year, which thankfully it sailed through. I can not begin to explain the stress and worry not to mention the cost this has caused me over the last 6 weeks. Fingers crossed we can now enjoy a full season of successful outings using it.

I have been out on the cross country course on one of my clinics at Nurstead Court, Kent giving instruction and coaching to a number of my clients to get their seasons kick started. The day was beautiful sunshine if not a bit windy but the ground was perfect and everyone enjoyed a thoroughly good educational day.

The lorry plating test was on a Thursday, so come Sunday we took Alberta’s Rose out for the first time this year for a xc school. We only made it out to one of my local venues as of course it was Mother’s Day so we had to be home in time for lunch, which we made by the skin of our teeth! Alberta’s Rose was a little spooky to start with but soon picked up her game and was sailing through the combinations and everything asked of her with ease. I was very pleased that she ended on as good, if not better note than the end of last season.

Injury recovery

The following day it was “D” day for young Alberta’s Pride who was booked into the vets for a second scan on his injury to see how he was progressing. I am extremely pleased to say that the scan looked very very positive, so much so that it was almost difficult to see they problem area in the leg as the fibres all looked in line and pattern as the good leg! I can safely say I put this tremendous improvement down to the Arc Equine technology and Aloeride which I have been using daily combined with their rehabilitation plan which I have followed to a “T”. My vet was rather surprised at the huge improvement too which is good news. There is plenty more rehabilitation to be done and another re scan on 10 weeks time, so fingers crossed the improvement continues, so we can get this boy back out on the course where he belongs before the season is out.

Two days later I was back in the lorry, this time for a spot of showjumping with Alberta’s Rose again. She jumped a great couple of clear rounds with just a pole in each jump off in the Discovery and the 1.05m speed class where she finished 3rd.

I am busy with schooling liveries again and am currently full to the brim so have my work cut out trying to fit everything in again, but I am seriously not complaining as this time last month I was not in a very good place, so I am pleased things are definitely back to normal now.

I have just returned from a weekend away at Milton Keynes Eventing Centre where I was coaching for a local Riding Club who booked me some months go. Since taking the decision not to hold competitions at MIlton Keynes Eventing Centre anymore, they have seriously improved the facilities and now provide a superb venue for training camps, with temporary stabling, turnout paddocks, a club house (with log burner!) on site caters and a shower unit! I can highly recommend this venue to anyone looking to do some training either individually or as a group or Riding Club.

I have also been on a cross country coaches training day with Yogi Briesner where we were given the opportunity to observe Yogi in action coaching riders or 1,2 & 3* level over xc fences including a number of useful exercises that I will take away to use myself. We had the opportunity to question Yogi on his training views etc. It was a hugely informative day which I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to attend.

In other news, I am absolutely thrilled to announce that I have been selected by British Eventing to be part of their UKCC coaching programme for 2017. This is a highly sort after course to be selected for which will open the door to some great training days with some hugely knowledgeable coaches to enable me to enhance my own coaching skills. I am absolutely over the moon having been selected for this and very much looking forward to developing my coaching skills further.

Finally, I have my first event of the season this coming weekend, whoop whoop we are finally off…
Until next time…

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Happy New Year & A Busy Christmas For Victoria!

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Our fabulous brand ambassador eventer Victoria Bax brings us up to speed on her Christmas break…

Firstly ‘Happy New Year’ to you all!

I can’t actually believe December has been and gone and we are now full steam ahead towards the 2017 season.

I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday period and spent some good times eating and drinking with your families. I was very lucky to receive a super gift of one of my favourite photos taken by my very talented husband, of my top horse Crystal Ka and I tackling the advanced course at Little Downham last year. He had it enlarged and put on a canvas and it now has prime position on my living room wall. I hope everyone received some super gifts too.

I have had an extremely busy time throughout December teaching and coaching at my clinics and especially over the Christmas period where I have had 3 extra horses in for schooling for a number of weeks while their owners continue to enjoy their holidays.

This coupled with the bank holidays and my groom having some sick days leaving me mucking out the entire yard of 7 on my own for nearly a week and trying to prioritise working the 3 schooling liveries and keeping my other commitments, so my team of horses have been on the back burner for a couple of weeks. There simply isn’t enough hours in the day or energy left in my body to work them all too!

All the working liveries have made some good progress during their time with me and I am confident their owners will feel the difference which has been made. I won’t deny I am looking forward to them all going home next weekend so normality can return and I can have a quiet week just working my team to get us back on track and finally start to plan my year ahead.

Until next time…

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Victoria Bax Eventing Racehorse Retraining

Victoria Bax Eventing Racehorse Retraining
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Here is Victoria Bax Eventing Racehorse Retraining October blog post. Those of you who own ex-racehorses may well know of her retraining of racehorses clinics in Essex. Victoria is one of Aloeride’s sponsored riders.

Alberta's Elegance Victoria Bax Eventing sponsored by Aloeride aloe vera for HorsesOctober saw the last 3 events of my season but the first 3 for Alberta’s Elegance who has had a very quiet year due to one thing and the other. Her first event was Little Downham up in Cambridge so just a mere 180 mile round trip this time! She produced a nice dressage test for 34, then a fair show jump round for her, this time feeling good to start with but then she lost confidence 3 from the end turning away from the collecting ring, causing a stop and then sadly 3 poles down. After a good effort napping at the start, as the start box runs alongside the collecting ring, we actually produced the best cross-country round to date. She felt much more confident and all questions were answered positively and there were some question being that it was a Regional Final course! Somehow, we managed to finally complete our first clear 90 cross-country course so I was over the moon. She still has an awful long way to go but small steps are good for me!

The following week saw us travel down to Littleton Manor in Reigate so a little closer for us. This time I had a new horse to run on behalf of a client of mine who bought a super schoolmaster earlier in the year to show her the ropes in British Eventing and give her some confidence. Unfortunately her first event didn’t quite go to plan as Zippie got rather excited by knowing what was coming next and she didn’t make it through the showjumping so she asked if I would take him to an event so she could see him run. I happily agreed as he really is a class horse! Although I flat school him once a week for her and I’ve show jumped him twice, I hadn’t taken him cross-country, but felt confident as he sure knows his job. Zippie warmed up beautifully for the dressage and performed a gorgeous test so I was a little disappointed to only score 32. We then jumped a nice show jump round sadly just breathing on a rail causing it to fall, but then jumped the most beautiful clear cross-country I think I have ever ridden. He sure is a machine on the cross-country and I thoroughly enjoyed myself! We managed to finish 13th which his owner was over the moon with.

Next up was Alberta’s Elegance, who performed a safe test in the dressage but sadly the judge didn’t agree and scored us very high leaving us towards the end of the section which I was very disappointed with. We then moved onto warm up for the showjumping which is a little awkward at this event as they only allow 5 riders in the warm up at a time due to the size of the arena, so this caused a few problems for some horses, including me! I did the best I could but was clearly not good enough as we managed our worst show jump round to date with 2 stops and a number of poles. The arena was on a surface with banners surrounding and a huge crowd of spectators watching on the surrounding bank, all of which proved a little too much for Alberta’s Elegance to cope with. The decision was made following that to withdraw and save her for another day.

Alberta's Elegance Tweseldown Victoria Bax Eventing sponsored by Aloeride aloe vera for HorsesThe following and final event of the year was an unaffiliated event at Tweseldown, so quite a trek for us but very worthwhile. Alberta’s Elegance produced a nice test for 31, followed by her best showjumping round to date with no stops but 2 rails down. The cross-country caused us a little problem though, having stormed out of the start box, we were cruising up until both water complexes which were quite spooky, both with fences to jump before and after the water itself. We stopped at both fences in front of the waters so at least we were consistent! We circled round and jumped them both the second time and completed the course. Although obviously disappointed with the stops, I was very pleased with how she dealt with the rest of the course as here were many many fences which were either brightly coloured or very spooky which she really could have stopped at but didn’t.

So plenty to like during the events she has completed this season but still much to work on over the winter too. One last trip onto a cross-country course followed the following week with Alberta’s Pride aka Frankie who has been off games for a little while due to a couple of injuries he has picked up which ended his season a little earlier than I would have liked, but that’s horses! As he has already enjoyed a few weeks off, he has been back in work and is fully fit again so I thought I’d take the opportunity while the weather is still dry to remind him of the cross-country phase before winter. Well, we had no problems there at all. He remembered everything he had already learnt and more including jumping some decent 3 and 4 fence combinations and jumping into and out of water. He is definitely one for next year, I am so excited! So with most of my horses on holiday I have started up my winter training clinics for others which are proving extremely popular and have been selling out within the hour as soon as they are advertised, which I am very grateful to everyone for supporting!

I will have a little time out myself now but will come back stronger next season after a winter of more training.
I can’t wait!

Until next time…