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.