This was the first time we had been to Barbury for an international event (only done the Novice previously and not for a few years) and what a fantasticly run event it is!! The cross country viewing is just fabulous, courses great and rider/owner hospitality etc. brilliant too. We thoroughly enjoyed our few days away even if a slightly disappointing (but in many ways very positive) end.
It was both Donovan and my first time at 2* level and he performed quite well in the dressage arena – as usual he was spooky at the flowers (he will obviously never grow out of this) but stayed soft and rideable most of the way through. His lateral work went well too keeping good forwardness and mostly better bend, which he finds difficult and can be quite lazy in. He scored 51.9 to finish 29th after dressage out of nearly 100 starters.
We then had a break until Friday so time to get him settled in to the stables. I took him for a walk, trot and canter round the all weather gallops and popped him over a few fences on Friday – he was feeling good!!
This morning I fed and sorted him quite early then went over to walk the show jumping, which was in quite a spooky arena up above the trade stands and also had a strange ending with the last 2 fences up a steep hill on another level and heading away from the entrance (see video later) I then had plenty of time (not always a good thing) to watch some jump SJ and XC. The show jumping was causing plenty of problems, especially the second last fence. Donovan jumped a brilliant round, just clipping the last – I was so determined to get over the fence before that I then didn’t sit up and steady quickly enough for the last! Oh well, very pleased with the way he jumped and was listening to me – see a video of our round here.
I was quite apprehensive about the XC – not because of the size but the technical combinations, especially after my lack of brakes and control at skinnies at Salperton – see XC course photos here. I was trying a tom thumb bit for the first time in competition and as he was feeling rather bright I put the leather “curb strap” of my NS Universal bit I use show jumping on the tom thumb – I was glad I had as he was very keen in the warm up but one reminder that he had this bit on and he was with me!! He felt fantastic and was just brilliant through the first few combinations, especially the tricky corner to skinny brush at 5 and corner on a tight left turn at 10. He jumped the “crocodile” in the first water really cleanly and well into the 2nd water – where I decided to go long on the out (looked too similar to the fence he ran out at after the water at Salperton only 2wks ago!). After skipping through the quarry and sunken road really well, we came down to the last corner at 19 – having walked the course a few times and watching many horses over this fence earlier in the day most were going the right hand side.
Donovan took a disliking to this and had a rather naughty run out taking the red flag with him, I retired him as he just didn’t feel like he would go. In hindsight I think one of the problems was to get to the RHS you had to turn away from “home” and the way you were travelling – this seriously put him off and lesson learnt – I would really try to avoid this in future. Looking at the fence again I think he would have jumped the slightly wider narrower LHS of the corner better as you could see where you were going and the next hedge was in view.
Click here to see a video of our XC round up to fence 18 after which Dad lost me behind the hill!! Unfortunately couldn’t see what happened but I think after our assessment we know why…
Thanks Barbury for a fab few days and thanks also to Nick Gauntlett for help and support as always! A bit of a disappointing end not to get a qualifying result as hoped, when we had got all of the tricky combinations nailed and control so much better – but so many positives to take away from all 3 phases. Onwards and upwards….