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…
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Header image courtesy of Jason Bax