My first CCI***
2018 season is officially finished for us – with only Pau left for those that are going.
September was a very busy month for us – competing every weekend. Our big focus was Blenheim CCI*** with V.I.P Vinnie and Osberton Young Horse Championships with Ballycoog Breaker Boy in the 6 year Old and The Partner doing the CCI**.
Blenheim was our first CCI*** and we were very much looking forward to it and V.I.P Vinnie didn’t disappoint. He started the week off not so well with behaving diabolically in the first trot up – he has always liked to perform but this was on another level. It amused many people and was captured on camera as proof. Luckily, I am tall enough and strong enough to cope with it!! With the help of John Bowen, my coach, we produced our best test yet (29.3), despite finishing the test early as I was enjoying it so much I forgot the last movement, also the changes weren’t ideal (winter’s project!).
We went into XC sitting in 7th place which was a great position to be in. We had walked the course 3 times and although it was unknown territory regarding the distance I felt confident that Vinnie was well prepped and would make the distance. This proved to be the case and he jumped with confidence from start to finish. The only problem was I sat too quietly having jumped a table leading to an open corner on a left hand curve and we drifted passed. I am not sure that Vinnie even saw the fence as I am sure he would have locked on and jumped if he had. This was less than ideal but you have to put it behind you and focus on the rest of the course. This was particularly important as we needed to know how he would cope with the distance.
Vinnie came in having lost a shoe so was slightly sore but very quickly recovered and with lots of icing this was no problem. He took a while to come down as his adrenalin was up so much and he had had a great time – we took him off to a quiet area to walk off as he needed to relax and chill and drop his heart rate and found the wash down area all too exciting.
Sunday was trot up day and as always he performed a little bit to make sure everyone was watching him!! Luckily I was ready for it so it was not as exuberant as the first one. He flew threw this and felt so well which was fantastic. I have never felt him feel so well and fresh on the final day and this was a nice feeling to have going into the show jumping. He jumped a fantastic clear round and wasn’t fazed by the crowds at all and in fact very much enjoyed them.
It is great to have completed my first CCI*** and knowing that we can be so competitive is really exciting for 2019.
Young Horse National Championships at Osberton
Osberton brought it’s own successes which was very unexpected from both horses. Ballycoog Breaker Boy (in the 6 year Old Champs -CIC*) has been very inconsistent with his SJ as he is so big and not always sure where his legs are!!! However, having done a very good test we managed a clear round sj and went into XC lying in 9th place having been around 17th after dressage, so the clear round proved very important. His last CIC* was at Gatcombe and he found the distance quite hard. However, this course was less undulating and not as twisty so I was hopeful we might get near the time. He really stepped upto the mark and I really felt he was taking me round the course with confidence. He made the time and we finished in 8th place. I was super proud of him as he has had a short season and come on so much in the last month. His main project over the winter is to increase his strength to take him to the next level.
Going into Osberton we really didn’t know how The Partner was going to perform as since Houghton he has mentally not been on side as he associates XC with pain as he tied up after Houghton. He is a sensitive enough horse anyway and it has taken all summer to get him to start being onside again and trusting his own body. We managed him very differently from Houghton and it paid off!! His dressage although still a little tense was improved and then he jumped a fantastic double clear. He gave me a great ride and it was so nice for him to enjoy it again. He really took me round. He came out well the next day and jumped a great round. He finished 19th which I was super chuffed with as we really didn’t know what we were going to be working with. In the XC I backed off him a little at the end of the course so we got 4.8 time penalties which cost us 8th place but better that and have a happy horse. I feel he is now in a good place and he has come out of Osberton looking and feeling so well and is set up nicely for a good winters training. I am really looking forward to next season and will be aiming him for Blenheim 8/9 year olds. He is one of two horses in our Picnic Syndicate and will be a great horse to be apart of next season. (www.willrawlin.com)
Building for the future.
In between these we had 1 day competitions with some of the other horses who all continued their development and learning process. No big results to write home about but good platforms for next season which I am very much looking forward to.
Stardom (5 year old) finished the season well with 2 top 10 finishes in October at Calmsden in the pouring rain and wind and Bovington in the basking sunshine!! He is a very exciting horse for the future and will be aimed at the 6 year old National Champs next year. He is the second horse in our Picnic Syndicate and will be an impressive horse to be a part of. (www.willrawlin.com)
Reflection and thanks
On reflection of the whole season it has been a good one – all the horses have come on and finished the season well. The highlights being: selection for the Nations Cup team to go to the USA, Blenheim and the performances at Osberton.
We are now having a quieter time but have lots planned to work on over the next couple of months as well as moving yards, so lots of clearing up and sorting out to be done.
There is the opportunity to be part of all this by joining The Picnic Syndicate in 2019 which is a chance to be involved with The Partner and StarDom and also a chance to own a % of Ballycoog Breaker Boy.
A big thank you must go to my huge support team and followers together with the following companies for supporting me:
High 5 www.highfive.co.uk
Safe Riding www.saferiding.it