My eventing season is now well and truly underway. In the last couple months I have been to five events only one of which I could call local.
The downside of living in the north Scotland is travelling for days on end to a single event which for most people who attend it is on their doorstep. Firstly I would like to say a huge thank you to all the organisers and volunteers at Burgham, Burnham Market, Dalkeith, Burgie and Kirriemuir.
Each event was beautifully presented in every way and everyone was very helpful. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
First stop was Northumberland where Rommie and I had a fairly eventful first novice at Burgham. There was a howling gale and many things were being blown away including Rommie’s sensible brain. Standing in the trailer before the dressage Rommie seemed very calm and relaxed, but oh no there was no calm or relaxed as soon as my bum hit the saddle.
Once I was on (well barely on) Rommie was off at a rather high speed canter with his head up in the air and we continued to canter all the way to the dressage warm up and then proceeded with cantering around the dressage warm up, whilst every now and again Rommie would leap up in the air with excitement. I must say the main aim of the dressage on that day was to stay within the boards and onboard. Anyway, after experiencing a rather exciting dressage we swiftly moved onto the jumping phases which were also carried out rather enthusiastically.
We ended the day with a clear XC and 1 down show jumping with a 46 dressage. We managed to achieve an impressive 0 for our walk as the walk was in fact nonexistent. However the day was thoroughly enjoyed by both horse and I, and we came away safely and happily. Next stop Norfolk. We carried on trundling down the road stopping off in Lincolnshire for a few days to do some junior training. I learnt a lot from the incredible Caroline Moore and Andrew Fletcher, and was able to take the valuable advice and put it into action at Burnham Market.
At Burnham the dressage was much improved as we managed to scrape 10 marks better than our previous crazy mark. As the dressage went uphill, the jumping unfortunately went downhill. In the show jumping I didn’t ride to the uprights resulting in a disappointing three poles. Very much the rider’s fault. Cross country we then had some slight braking issues and a rather over excited horse, so missed the striding to the 2nd element of the 4th fence. Despite Burnham not going so well, you can only learn from your mistakes and I can definitely say I learnt from mine. After Burnham we returned to snowy Scotland. This also meant back to school, but luckily the first week of school flew past as I had the first Scottish event to look forward to.
Again, we were back on the A9 to attend a slightly more “local” event. The only reason it is “local” is because it is actually in Scotland. 4 1/2 hours later we arrived just outside Edinburgh where Dalkeith is situated. Dalkeith House was a true spectacle. After admiring the house Rommie was finally encouraged that he may want to actually move towards the dressage arenas rather than spinning around in circles in the lorry park. The ONu18 dressage arenas were next to a little river below the house. I think the sound of the ‘whooshing’ water may have had a calming effect on Rommie, as unbelievably we managed to achieve a 29.3 dressage. I really thought I could have cried with happiness! Rommie continued to be angelic throughout the day to give me a lovely double clear inside the time to finish 2nd. He definitely proves that eventing has its ups and downs. It takes a lot of perseverance and patience but eventually everything falls into place. Whether or not it stays in place remains to be seen but without mistakes how do we learn?
Finally, the time of year came for what is definitely my “local” event, Burgie. Burgie is situated about 15 minutes from where I live and it is one of my favourite events in the year as I am able to watch and get involved in the event preparations and fully appreciate all the work that goes into preparing a horse trials. Burgie started off well as it appeared that I had a calm horse for once which was a nice surprise and rather lucky seen as I was enduring the day by myself as my parents were away. I must say that hardest part of being by yourself is trying to get on. Anyway I succeeded with getting myself up and into the saddle and Rom calmly walked over to the dressage warm up. As I do most of my dressage training at Burgie Rommie was a little lazy and inattentive in my test but never the less we got a mediocre score. The laziness soon disappeared when I brought out the jumping saddle which was definitely encouraging. Show jumping, Rommie was great and flew round with a lovely clear.
As I was getting ready for the cross country the snow then started. Yes, snow. Scottish eventing certainly comes with its excitements. Luckily the snow didn’t settle although it did turn the blood cold. As I started my round I couldn’t feel my fingertips. Never the less Rom was a star and beasted round. As I was running HC I was able to concentrate on the feel over each jump instead of the time which was great as it definitely felt like our best round so far.
My latest event was Kirriemuir which again I was running HC in the novice. Rommie had decided to become a dressage diva and managed to get a 23.3 which for a horse that got 46 at the start of the season was a pretty good improvement.
However, I have to admit that the judge was obviously having a good day as most of the section appeared to have got sub 30 dressage marks! In the show jumping we had an unlucky pole. Cross country, Rommie was super and breezed round. It was quite different riding around this event on a horse as the last 3 times I have been on a pony. It was great to get another confident run under our belts before exams started.
I have just completed my first GCSE exam and I have another 19 to go. Thank godness for horses, going out for a hack to blow the cobwebs away after an exam is only just keeping me sane. Roll on summer holidays!!!
Love Bella x