Blog 7: Lily is now a Novice event Horse!
Well its all been going on since I last posted and generally rather successfully too - which has been really nice! Even the weather has joined in the fun and the sun has come out to play - of course I immediately get burnt! But I am not complaining as to have a week of sunshine has made everything feel so much better!
Back to the eventing, and our first outing after Tweseldown, was Borde Hill with Lily on 27th May. Originally we were planning to do the BE100 but she was going so well we thought we would step her up and see what she made of it! The dressage was good, the straightforward parts of the test are coming much better but she struggled with the leg yield as shes not totally established, so I was pleased with a score of 35. The show jumping was causing chaos as normal, but I wasn't too worried as Lily is a show jumper so I knew that as long as I gave her the chance she was perfectly capable of jumping clear. She jumped what felt like an awesome round, totally within her comfort zone. She has never jumped a combination in the ring and it was the last fence with a long run in and slightly downhill. She made up a bit too much ground and just brushed the last element which fell for 4 faults, but I was thrilled with how she jumped. Lots of people had been saying the cross country looked big, which it did - but big and bold wasn't an issue for Lily. There were enough different questions, however she answered them all and simply popped round. She felt mega confident and it felt like one of the best cross country rounds I have had with her as she was actually jumping! She finished with 10.4 time but I didn't push her and she will make it easily with time!
On the Friday (31st May) we headed to Little Downham for the first time, with Coco in the Intermediate. People had said it was a nice Intermediate so we thought we would have a go. We walked the course and I thought it looked really nice. There was a corner at fence 21 which was black flagged so you could circle and jumped a different side of it as it was placed at the bottom of a bank off one stride if you went straight. As time went on we could hear person after person having trouble not just at the corner but around the course. It was dressage time and I have got my warm up sorted now, he has 30 minutes, 15 minutes stretching and warming his muscles and then 15 minutes more in a contact, it seems to be working nicely, as apart from a couple of small mistakes it was so much better again and we were left with a score of 34.1 which I was pleased with. Then it was show jumping time - the course was very spindly and the ground wasn't giving any spring. He warmed up well and I went in, jumped the first well, and rubbed the 2nd down. I rode a rubbish corner to 3 so he had that down as well. Then I decided I was no longer able to show jump and lost any sort of rhythm I might have had. I rode very defensively which resulted in a further 2 fences down. I was really cross with myself as I let Coco down. After I had a couple down I lost my focus and this led to the other mistakes. However these things happen so putting it behind me it was cross country time. I have never felt so sick before going cross country - not even at Weston CCI* on a 14HH pony! However I shouldn't have worried as he skipped round making it feel easy. I took the straight route at the corner against team (Ie. Mums) instructions as I knew he could do it. He was a little hesitant at the big oxer over the ditch but apart from that he was foot perfect the whole way - I really couldn't fault him. He finished with 10.8 time which wasn't too bad, as only 1 or 2 people finished inside the time all day! So another good run!
On Sunday 2nd of June, we headed off to Felbridge for some BSJA with Lily. We just jumped her in the 1 meter derby which was really good fun, it was straight against the clock so we had a bit of fun. She was very unlucky to slip on the penultimate corner which led to us having the next fence down! However it was still good enough for 3rd and without the fence she would have won! But it was a nice outing which is all that really matters.
On Saturday (8th) we took Lily to Mattingley as a BE100 run, to make sure she hadn't lost any confidence stepping up a level. Her dressage was again, good but a few mistakes crept in with some head tossing which lost us a few marks! But she ended up with a fair score of 33. The show jumping was small and she was rather towing me about, so I decided I would use it as a bit of training too, She dropped her shoulder and whizzed round the corner to fence 9, so I took a strong half halt and made her wait to the bottom of the fence - almost daring her to have it down. She had other ideas and sailed over it and completed the rest of the course much better - she is so quick thinking it is a real pleasure to ride her, and she definitely needs bigger fences to keep her mind on the job! The cross country had a bit of everything which was perfect and she skipped round. But the difference was that she stayed off her forehand for the first time and I was able to just let her gallop and jump out of her stride which was lovely! She finished inside the time and on her dressage score which was good enough for 4th, also a great prep run before Nunney Novice next weekend.
Today we took Coco to Eaglesfield for the Kent Area BSJA Show. It was well worth the long day out. I jumped him in the U23 1.15m Open, he jumped a beautiful clear in the first round and then in the jump off I got slightly competitive and missed him to the double, so he had 4 faults. But it caused trouble and despite this he was 4th our of 25 which was really good. I felt really confident in how to ride him too. We then waited for the Foxhunter to prepare for Nunney 2* next weekend. I started off well then began to ride a bit backwards again so he had a fence. I then remembered how I needed to ride him, so let him run and jump again - and apart from brushing the 2nd last through tiredness it was a lovely round, so 8 faults sounds a lot worse than it was - could have easily been a clear so I am really pleased as I feel prepared for next week now!