A Day, and Event of Two Halves

I find it slightly odd having such late times for an event and you never quite feel like you are actually going!  So after mucking out and turning out a few of the livery horses, I hacked Donovan.  Then Ali had her bath, which I would normally do the day before an event!  I did all her plaits and spruced her up ready to leave at 12.  The journey down was good and we got to Chepstow Horse Trials in plenty of time to walk the cross country – it is a lovely setting and the ground was great.  The Novice was a good flowing course but had plenty of questions so I was excited to ride it later.  But for now, back to the lorry to get the studs in and get over to the dressage warm up.

Dressage warm up

Dressage warm up

Apart from being rather spritely to start with Ali warmed up well for the dressage and did a fairly good test despite the annoying horse flies, she was a little more tense in the second half of the test to score a respectable 31.

From this it was onto the show jumping, which was up to height, quite twisty and contained a double and a treble.  It flowed well though and Ali jumped fabulously, really pinging over everything for a great clear!

Fence 1 SJ - photos courtesy Pippa Jones

Fence 1 SJ – photos courtesy Pippa Jones

Spread at 4

Spread at 4


Me getting a little over excited and trying too hard (to lift her?) over the last!

Me getting a little over excited and trying too hard (to lift her?) over the last!

Onto the “2nd half” of our event…. We went over to cross country and it was still warm although it was after 6pm by this time.  She felt great in the warm up, keen but concentrating and jumping well.  This continued out of the start box and she was concentrating much better over the earlier fences than at her last event so I felt we were able to push on a bit quicker.  She gave me a fantastic jump at the third, a big square brush oxer.

Chepstow Novice Fence 5: Hay Cart

Chepstow Novice Fence 5: Hay Cart

However after making nothing of an oxer on a curved line to corner at 6, she “planted” herself at the top of the step 8b and nothing I did would get her to move – I think it was more the pale sand a the bottom of the step than the step itself, similar to which she has done before.  Just such a disappointing end to the day and she isn’t normally spooky cross country, I was so looking forward to riding her through the later combinations on the rest of the course too.  So it’s time to find a similar step (or build one…?) and have a practice.

I will upload Novice course photos shortly to the Vet Gone Eventing Facebook Page

Off to Hilltop XC in Ledbury tomorrow to do the scoring for the Malvern Pony Club One Day Event


Soaked through…

After a morning at work, British summer gave me its’ best this afternoon and I got totally drenched riding both horses right through to my undies!!

Donovan went absolutely brilliantly in the school and is definitely ready to go out and do some dressage now, I will probably do a couple of unaffiliated competitions before re-registering him British Dressage and doing a few more medium tests with him.  It’s exciting to have him back going so well!

Donovan entering the arena at Barbury Horse Trials in 2011 before his injury

Donovan entering the arena at Barbury Horse Trials in 2011 before his injury

Ali was slightly more tricky today, I think partly because she has had quieter week and because we did some canter work down the field yesterday morning, which always make them a bit “long and strung out” before doing flat work.  Despite the rain we did an hour session and she had relaxed and worked well by the end, hopefully she’ll be a little more cooperative on Saturday.  The good news is her leg that I was a bit concerned about last week has been fine with jumping on Tuesday and the canter work we did yesterday, phew!

We have our times now for Chepstow Horse Trials on Saturday and dressage is not until 4:42pm!! – this does at least mean I will be able to ride Donovan before we go and I’ll not be in quite such a rush to get everything ready as I don’t finish work until 6pm Friday.  Alice, who is competing Freya at Summerhouse EC Saturday am will be putting everyone else to bed for us though as we will have a late finish not going cross country until 6:18pm!  We then have an early start Sunday to go and help scoring at the Malvern Pony Club annual One Day Event (my branch when growing up) at Hilltop XC in Ledbury.

Moores Farm Clear Round

Luckily I managed to swap my half day from last week to today so that we could take Ali jumping as the swelling on her leg appears to be behaving itself at the moment (although I am very paranoid now!).

I got out of work by 1:30pm (only half hr late so not bad!) and managed to fit in a hack on Donovan who was feeling rather bright and breezy despite having been in the field all morning and it being warm!

Moores Farm Equestrian (www.mooresfarmequestrian.co.uk) in Corse Lawn, Gloucestershire do clear round jumping on a tuesday evening, which is fantastic value and they have people to change all the fences to the height you request as it is your turn to jump.  We had to work in indoors, which Ali found extremely scary! – spooking at everything and it took a while for her to relax and go forward properly.  I decided to jump at 1.05m as we hadn’t jumped for over a week.


She pinged round really well in their outdoor arena, even putting in a few “humps” after the last showing off how much she enjoyed it!

I iced her leg to be on the safe side but it looked fine after she jumped so fingers crossed.  We’ll do a short canter in the field in the morning ready for Chepstow at the weekend.

A hot but happy Ali after her round

A hot but happy Ali after her round

Alice Bennett from the yard joined us at Moores Farm on her mare Freya, she did two rounds the 2nd of which was fab!  Freya is returning to competition after a period of rest and they go to Summerhouse EC on Saturday so good luck to them.  You can follow Alice on her new facebook page Alice Bennett Show Jumper

Alice and Freya today

Alice and Freya today

Best laid plans

I booked the day off work today but didn’t quite go as planned…

All started well, bright and early to feed and muck out and then I took Donovan down the field to do some hill work – including some steady canter up and down! Legs looking very good before and afterwards so very pleased with his progress (he was also very well behaved which is great!)

So after a quick trip to the garage to drop Dad’s car off and a bowl of cereal… I started getting Ali ready for our trip down to Nick Gauntlett’s yard (with Alice) for some SJ training, however when brushing her I noticed a small swelling on her leg – so what has she been up to between our lovely quiet hack last night and this morning?  We decided it was best not to risk jumping her and she had her leg iced and had the day off in a small paddock.  Fingers crossed all will be ok for our competition next week.

This minor blip did however give me time to bring in our 3yo out of the same mare as Ali and by Parsons Rasputin – Replica (or Flicka) – when you see her you will realise why the show name!!  She had full tack on for the first time ever (see pic below) and was a little star to walk around, stand by the mounting block and let me lie over her, then had a bath in the beautiful sunshine!


Once it had started to cool down I had a ride on my sister’s 15.2hh mare Bluebell who is currently for sale.  She went beautifully and is a safe and fun all-rounder who would be perfect for a teenager coming off ponies. I have put some pics of her below.



Welcome to my blog!

I hope everyone will enjoy following me on my journey trying to get to the top level of eventing!

After a very difficult season last year, which began with a lovely sunny March then continued with rain, rain… and more rain; Donovan injuring his tendon in early May and then after only managing to get to our 5th event with Ali (rain) I got a tad over excited about how fantastically she had gone cross country at Llanymynech in September that we went a rather spectacular “SPLAT” at the last fence and I broke my collar bone and that was it for the 2012 season….

So on to 2013… after a winter of training and some successful outing British Dressage with Ali, qualifying for the Summer Regionals at Novice level with some 70%+ scores and gradually bringing Donovan back into work.

Donovan is now cantering and starting to return to almost full work, aiming for his first dressage outing soon.  He has his last tendon scan in 4 weeks then hopefully we can start jumping again.

Ali has competed at her first 2 Novices and been double clear in each gaining her first 2 points.  She was 8th last weekend at Draycott House in her 2nd Novice, so we are very excited about her future and aim to do a 1 star later in the year.

Next event is Chepstow Novice with Ali on 29th April.

Ali at Draycott  Ali SJ at Draycott Manor 9th June 2013 – Photo courtesy of Trafford Photography www.traffordphotography.co.uk