Regrouping and Nunney International.
June and July have been very quiet as far as competitions are concerned. June was very much a quiet month spent replanning and mid season tidy up in the yard and also the fields which looked great to start but now look brown and when the horses go out they all seem to enjoy having a dust bath in the gate ways!!!
We went to Nunney with V.I.P Vino who did well in dressage and sj – the sj was particularly pleasing as it is the most consistent he has been yet and we were lying 5th going into XC. We had decided before the competition that we would give him a schooling round as he still needs to improve his technique across the country. It would have been very tempting to change this decision as he was well placed but this would not have been beneficial for his long term development. As we were schooling round he had to work over his back and he found it quite difficult as when he is going faster he can get away with pulling himself round. Although he may be able to get away with this at Novice he certainly won’t when he moves up the levels. I decided to retire him before the end of the course as he had worked hard enough. Thanks Nunney and all the volunteers for another super event.
Highlight of June!
I was very excited to receive a phone call to be asked to be part of the Nations Cup Team going to USA at the beginning of July. At the beginning of the season I had hoped that this might happen one day but hadn’t anticipated it for this year as it is my first season at 3* level. We had re planned V.I.P Vinnie’s schedule to accommodate this but sadly it was not to be. After a training session on the gallops we noticed he had a crack in his hoof which was making him lame – a small issue long term but sadly we were unable to stabilize it in time so had to withdraw from the team. A real shame but the team did brilliantly and came home having won the USA Nations Cup. – Well done them. I had bought a few bits and bobs from Falpro (www.falpro.com) and NAF (www.naf-equine.eu) for Vinnie’s trip so these will now be kept for Blenheim 3* in September!!
Gallops and XC
We are using the gallops abit with all the horses so that they are not always working on hard ground –
although they need to work on it some of the time so they can cope with the harder ground at competitions. I have not changed my routine much during the hot weather as they do need to be able to work in it as there is no point working in the cool and then expecting them to compete in the peak of the heat. Washing down with cold water is very important to reduce their temperatures after work together with electrolytes (www.naf-equine.eu) in their feeds. I find working on the gallops at a gentle pace helps to develop the horse’s strength and balance. We have also done some XC training at Attington all weather near Thame.
We were super excited that this year, for the first time, I was invited to compete in the Eventers Challenge at Hickstead on the 26th July with The Partner. I was really looking forward to this and it was great to have something slightly different to look forward to. It is a competition that I have always wanted to have a crack at. Unfortunately the round didn’t go to plan so I retired part way round. In hindsight he tensed up as we went in and I think the atmosphere got to him – sadly, I didn’t pick this up at the time and rode him too fast for his state of mind – Hopefully we will be given another chance another year!!!
Back out competing
Ballycoog Breaker Boy was out for the first time this season and also this was his first novice competition. The ground was firm enough which made it difficult for him to stay balanced in the small arena as he is a big horse and very extravagant. He lost his balance occasionally but I was pleased over all and good to get a test in the 20’s. Show Jumping was a real surprise as he had warmed up so well and has been jumping well in training. He only had 2 poles down all last year and we had 4 down in this competition. Not quite sure whether he got distracted on just switched off. XC we took steadily which was always the plan and he coped very well . Over all I was pleased with him and feel that once he has had a few outings he will be better for it.
V.I.P. Vino had a great run at Wilton and general was much improved and feels much stronger. He did a decent test although having been very relaxed warming up he thought the wind in the trees and the river beside his arena were very spooky so went a little tense. He then did a great double clear to come 3rd. So pleased with him
The Partner did his first run since Houghton and ran in the Intermediate class. It rained and it rained and we all got soaked through – can’t believe I am saying this – just what we need!!! Great to have the rain and it made such a huge difference to the ground which I had ridden on the day before. The Partner was inconsistent in the dressage as his tension increased as the test went on. He can perform a decent test but everything has to be perfect for him to do it. Show jumping he rolled a pole – first one since his first competition this season and generally didn’t jump to his usual standard which followed through to his XC so I jumped some technical fences and then decided to retire and save for another day. He has had some Osteopathy since and feels much better for it – and how his body was explains why he wasn’t on form at Wilton.
Vinnie is very well and is in full training mode back on the gallops and plenty of dressage – in his last lesson he was the best he has ever been and not to be out done Vino was also the best ever. We were working on a fantastic surface which is so different from the hard ground but really helps to develop them and gives them confidence. Boomerang new Show jumping arena is a great surface and lovely to have it next door as the arena at the yard has got so dry and deep we prefer not to jump on it at the moment. The rain at the weekend has made a difference even if it is just for a few days!!!
We have a very exciting August and September with competitions most weekends including Somerford, Gatcombe, Blenheim and Osberton.