Well 2016 what a season it has been so far.
I started the season with some really lovely new rides and by far the strongest team of horses I have ever had. My new rides this season were the lovely Hugo and Darcy owned by Eventing Worldwide, the beautiful Stallion Langaller Starring Role owned by Charles Upham and finally the talented Harry owned by John Bevan and Peter Appleford.
At the beginning of every season I naturally like to make plans and have aims for all the horses that I hope to achieve, so on with the planning I went. Our big aim at the beginning of the year was to get Darcy and Lily to Tattersalls in Ireland. This meant at 6yo Darcy had a big task of qualifying. She had to complete 5 novices all with a good scores. So the challenge was on and she rose to the occasion at every event. It was a challenge for us both as we are a very new partnership, but after a couple steady novice runs at Portman, Bicton and Withington our partnership was cemented and the mare has just gone from strength to strength. She has been placed in every novice event since and she won our final novice qualifying run at Twesledown with a sub 30 dressage double clear, a great way to head to Tattersalls.
Lily started this year with a steady run at Aldon in the novice, then she headed to Portman in the Intermediate Novice where she ran well and this set her up for her intermediate career. She took it all in her stride. She too had a great preparation run at Twesledown, so Tattersalls bound we were with the lovely Lily and her great friend Darcy.
Hugo, well he really was quite different.., he was a horse that arrived to me lacking abit of confidence on the cross country, so my plans for him didn’t really materialise until mid season.
We started the year with a lot of cross country schooling and again generally building a strong partnership. We sadly lost our first run at Howick due to the bad weather, here he was entered for a BE100 open, so in we went at the deep end with our first event a Portman being a Novice run. Hugo jumped a super double clear, but there was still work to be done and after some tweeking in all 3 phases and confidence building runs at both Portman and Bicton, we were now getting to know each other.
He went on to come 2nd at Port Elliot which was reassuring things where heading in the right direction but a trip to Aston Le Walls showed were we still missing the key to this horse…. So after a change of routine with him at home and change of feed we had him cracked! and my goodness hasn’t this horse gone from strength to strength ever since. He’s been placed at West Wilts, Trebrough then stepping up a level and winning the Intermediate Novice in amazing style with a leading 25 dressage and double clear inside the time around a tough track at Barbury. The future is bright for him and I.
Harry is a super talented 5 year old who has his own opinion on life. He started with a lot of winter training and he won every dressage test he competed in. Jumping has never proved to be a issue for this horse, he’s just a bit exuberant between fences!. His big aim was always Osberton 5 year old championship at the end of the season. So we got to work starting his eventing career at Portman then onto Bicton. He was very green at these events but still jumped as classy as ever, but control was a issue. Once we had that sorted we were off and flying! He hasn’t been out of top 10 since. He was 2nd at Port Elliot , Pontispool, and 5th at Mount Ballan, and 10th at Trebrough . Then we started contending the 5 year old classes. He was 7th in his first one at Nunney then 4th at Bicton, but he recently showed his ability by coming 2nd at Dauntsey and qualifying.
Roly the lovely Stallion is a complexed character. He arrived with me with not the greatest showjumping record. So we started slowly. I took him to Larkhill where he produced a super tests of 27 and finished 5th. He then went to Bicton and had a uncharacteristic stop on the cross country after a super test. With work still to be done we stepped him up to novice and he responded well with some good runs at Aston Le Walls and jumped a super double clear at Mount Ballan, gaining his 1st BE point. Then he went to Nunney and jumped a good round with yet again a sub 30 dressage. He showed his ability finally at Trebrough where he finished 2nd in the Novice and gained some more points. a mere 0.2 points ahead of his stable companion Darcy who was 3rd.
Another horse owned by Charles Upham is the beautiful Diane. Her aim for the season was to continue her good record from a couple events last season as she is for sale. She has had a solid season with good runs at BE100 at Bicton, Mount Ballan, Pontispool, Port Elliot and finished a really good 4th at Nunney before she stepped up and contended the novice at Trebrough. She made the step up comfortably with a nice test a couple green rails showjumping and a good clear cross country. This super mare has never had a cross country fault. She is still for sale, should anyone be looking for a super young horse.
Unfortunately he pulled up on the home bend when traveling very well in 5th but he pulled his shoe and lost his action, a very sensible decision by his professional jockey Jo Buck. 6 days later he went to Exeter and was 2nd in the Hunter Chase and only beaten by a short head. Again an amazing day for all involved. He went on to finish 5th in the Westcountry Championship and 2nd by a head at Eggesford confined. He is happy chilling in the field and I’m looking forward to another fab season with him.