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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 January Blog

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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 feeds Aloeride to RoR 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!

Zippie at Littleton Manor in ReigateThe 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 three day eventing at Tweseldown with AloerideThe 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…
Victoria Bax (Victoria Bax Eventing Racehorse Retraining)

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

Posted on

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…