Goring Heath Novice

I was not in the best frame of mind heading to Goring after a really busy couple of weeks at work and rather too much lost sleep.  I had managed to continue riding Ali but my preparations were not quite as I’d have liked, however I decided to go and see how she felt!  After a 2.5hr journey (we still don’t seem to have worked out the best route to Goring!) we got all studded up ready for the dressage as there was plenty of time to walk the XC course after dressage.  She worked in fairly well but wasn’t quite as soft on the turns and serpentines as I wanted, once in the arena I just tried to keep her nice and forward and really went for it in the medium trots and canters – and it paid off, she scored 29 – her best at Novice yet and 3rd after dressage!

Onto the show jumping, I worked in for longer than normal to try and get her softer (and because she’d had quite a long break after dressage) but she obviously knew it was time for the jumping (which is much more fun!) as she was very soft and relaxed doing really good flying changes both ways while warming up.  She jumped well over the practice fences with me focusing on trying to keep the forwardness.  Unfortunately though I didn’t keep myself together in the arena and lost the jump in the canter getting far too close to the second fence and totally missing at the treble so we ended up with 2 down and 8 faults – I was really disappointed as she has been performing so well in this phase and I felt I had not ridden it at all well.

Onto the XC, which I decided to do despite the SJ as she hadn’t had a XC run for a while.  There we a lot of combinations and skinnies to contend with and the ground had been aerovated so was reasonably good despite the dry weather.  There was, as always when I have been to Goring a large step then down hill at fence 4b (after a skinny brush) and she jumped down it really well – a relief after the problems at Chepstow and confirmation it was the bright sand there that spooked her.  She also had to jump a log on a step into the water – she was really bold here but slightly dropped her hind legs on the log when she spotted the water! But I am glad she jumped in like this rather than ballooning into water like her mother used to!  She nipped round to various other skinnies well to come home with 5.6 time penalties, which proved quite good as no-one in my section went inside the time.

Click here to see us over the last 2 XC fences.

Rather surprisingly despite our 2 down SJ we still finished 5th, I think in part because of the many time faults everyone had on the XC (as well as a reasonable few jumping faults too) – a pleasing end to the day.

I am happy to report I now have just under 2 weeks off work! Also yesterday evening I got a call to say our entry had been accepted off the wait list for Gatcombe so we will run in the 1 star there in 2 weeks time.

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