Gatcombe CIC*

We had a great weekend at Gatcombe Horse Trials and were very grateful for a stable just a couple of miles from Gatcombe Park at Pixie Thomas’s lovely yard.  We had dressage middle of the day on Saturday and although Ali was not quite as relaxed as I would have liked (partly due to a very busy warm up area and her grumping at the other horses!) she did a reasonable test.  I was very pleased with our rein back as she stayed really steady and calm for this, which we have been practicing but was disappointed at still getting only average marks for it!!  She scored a 52.5, which again was rather disappointing putting us in 38th overnight out of 94 starters.

Working in for the dressage
Working in for the dressage

We walked the cross country on Saturday afternoon and then had a relaxing night in the lorry! On Sunday morning we headed back to Gatcombe Park for 9am so that we could do a “fake dressage” – taking Ali in her dressage saddle and working in the dressage warm up area for 20 mins to get rid of any excess energy before SJ.  And I’m glad I did as she was still rather fresh when I started working in for our show jumping round, it was great to have her nice and forward and keen though!  She jumped a fab round and didn’t touch a fence until just tapping the last, which thankfully stayed –  we needed a little luck as I had watched many go round rapping lots of the fences with none falling!!

So onto cross country on our dressage score!  It was a nice flowing course going through the woods a few times; there was a tricky rail down to a ditch and back up a steep bank to another rail, which caused a few problems but the fence I was concerned about was straight into the water – a log with brush on a step directly into the water, this would be the biggest jump into water she had done and there was turn towards to trees on approach.

Fence 17 into the water
Fence 17 into the water

But she was amazing! Answered when I said go and jumped straight in the fantastically up the step out.  Click here to see video of us through the water.  We came home with just 3.6 time faults, which I think I partly lost running down into the woods the first time where there was a tight turn that I wanted to make sure I got – I was really pleased but it was slightly frustrating that just those few time faults dropped me from finishing 13th down to 29th!  Still amazing to go double clear at her first 1 start though!  Really looking forward to Osberton for the Young Horse (6yo) Championships in 2 weeks and will practice our dressage a little more on grass between now and then to try to improve our mark!

On another note, Flicka, our 3 year old had her last ride on Friday last week going beautifully in walk, trot and canter including over poles in the school without being lunged or long-reined first and even popped a little fence!  She has now gone back out to the field for the winter before coming back into work in the spring.

Flicka popping a fence
Flicka popping a fence
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