It was a rather chilly morning as we set off for Gatcombe Park with sleet and hail threatening. It was to be my first time competing both horses on the same day so we were super organised – 2 number bibs, times all sorted and ice at the ready for after XC. Ali was first for her intermediate dressage test – she was rather bright with the chilly wind but we held it together quite well with just a couple of mistakes for a solid score of 31.4.
And so with the freezing rain starting to come down we rushed off to walk the XC course, the ground was mainly very good apart from a couple of wet spots and it looked to be an inviting course with some questions.
Donovan was very happy to be out and felt like he wanted to head straight over to where he could hear the cross country commentary! He went beautifully in the dressage though scoring 28.5, which would have been even better if his numpty rider hadn’t gone wrong (how can I remember 2 BD medium tests but not 2 simpler eventing tests??) It was straight on to show jumping for Donovan but unfortunately they were running rather late so once I was mounted we just kept him moving with an exercise sheet on so he didn’t get too cold. Despite the wait, he warmed up well and was jumping nicely despite a slightly muddy warm up area. In the ring he felt great, maybe slightly over jumping some of the time (I think because of the mud) and had an unlucky pole down in the treble, where I needed to keep him together a bit more whilst keeping the revs up! See a video of his show jumping round here. Onto his favourite part, the cross country and his first run for 2 years after his injury in 2012. He got a tad keen in the start box and I only just managed to keep him from going off too soon, once out however he was in a lovely rhythm and felt fab – we skipped round clear inside the time!! So happy that he enjoyed himself so much and felt so good, plus we got 5th place too 🙂 Click here to see video of Donovan on the cross country.
After getting all of Donovan’s gear off, ice onto his legs and a quick change back to SJ equipment for me it was Ali’s turn to show jump. I wanted to work her round for a reasonable amount of time following her having been on the lorry for 5hrs! She came out very fresh still and I did lots of transitions to get her listening to me. She wasn’t keen on the going in the warm up, which was now mud but was jumping quite well so I decided to go for it. She jumped the first 3 fences well but then seemed to run on down the hill and I think just went a bit green in the ground at the next spread taking the top poles and landing quite on the forehand. I then wasn’t quick enough to get the impulsion back to jump the treble so she didn’t make the distance on the spread in the middle. She went on to jump the rest of the course better. I was a bit disappointed and unfortunately we didn’t get it on video, which would have useful to watch but I think it was probably a combination of a few things including it being her first time competing SJ on grass this season!! She was again over excited at the start of cross country (as I remind myself once more I really feed my horses very little for what they are doing… think they’re pleased to be out)!! We had another brilliant round though with 2.4 time faults. I must also remember she is only 7 this year!! Click here to see a video of Ali on the cross country.
Great start to the season so far though and Ali has Goring Heath BE Novice next week for more practice on grass! Will get XC videos up in the next few days and put links on this post to them.