Solihull Unaffiliated Horse Trials – A Very Good Day!

On Saturday we took Flicka for her first 90cm (and first outing this season) and Sue Bown’s Merlin for his first attempt at 100cm.  It was the first time I had ridden 2 horses on the same day eventing for a little while and I was hoping I would remember the route of each XC course!!  We had very nice times, with Merlin on first after 12 for the dressage so walked the XC as soon as we got there… and it was rather “ditchy” – especially for the 100cm course but both classes had a beefy ditch at fence 5.

Putting that to the back of my mind (for now) it was onto my first dressage test with Merlin, who settled quickly to stay really relaxed and regular for a super test and score of 22.5!!  The judge even leant out of her car to say how lovely he was.  He feels so much stronger and established even in the few weeks since Aston Le Walls.  This was good enough to win best dressage too  🙂 – see a video of his test here.

Smarty pants chatting to the judge after his lovely test

Smarty pants chatting to the judge after his lovely test

Onto the Show Jumping with Merlin, which was on the brilliant outdoor surface at Solihull.  Merlin felt great and was well behaved to warm up inside with lots of other horses.  I was slightly concerned as others were saying and from watching it was obvious that the distances were rather short in the doubles and related distances – despite him being 17.1hh though I thought he would be fine if I kept it all fairly steady and relaxed.  Merlin had other ideas… he thought it was all rather fun and was quite speedy to the second fence resulting in a huge jump!!  I was pleased with how he settled though and finished the last few fences with a much better rhythm and shape listening well.  Most importantly he left the poles up for clear!  See the video of his round here.

I psyched myself up for XC, making sure I had a plan for the ditches, which was the only thing Merlin had shown a slight dislike to in training.  The first ditch came at fence 5 so I wanted him nice and forward by then – see 100cm course photos here.  Merlin jumped the first quite well but then went a bit green at 2 and 3 so I got a kick on and we flew fence 4!  My plan of using my voice seemed to do the trick at the ditches as he flew these too.  I was thrilled with how he grew in confidence throughout the course and just “popped” into the water over the log on a step and flew down the next large log drop, both of which I though you would rarely see in a 100 (maybe a Novice?! – see photos!).  See some clips of his round here.

He finished with a fabulous double but some XC time for 2nd place!! Now I just need to learn to ride him faster and jump the straight forward fences out of his stride.  Thank you again to Sue Bown for letting me ride her lovely horse!

Onto Flicka, who had been very well behaved waiting on the lorry.  She started the warm up rather fresh though including a couple of bucks but steadied to work as nicely as she ever has – staying balanced and calm in the contact throughout her test with just one mistake, early to trot.  I was really happy with the way she performed on grass for the first time at just a green 5yo too and delighted with her score of 31.  See her test here.

Trying to get her to pose for a photo!!

Trying to get her to pose for a photo!!

Like Merlin she was fabulous working in for SJ with lots of horses coming close.  I was so excited with her round as she just felt so classy and like she found it easy peasy for a clear round.  See the video here.

Her XC followed much the same route as Merlin’s class except she had to jump a boat before the water, which was at a rather strange angle to where the slope into the water was!!  See course photos here.  Flicka felt brilliant and really up for it!  She flew round with just 1.2 time and took on the bigger fences out of her stride well, plus she jumped the boat at a slight angle and cantered straight into the water – my “plan A”!!  Again I was excited by how good she felt – see some clips of her XC here.  She finished up in 6th place!

So doesn’t get much better… 2 double clears and 2 placings! 🙂

Flicka will now have a short break but then I hope both horses will be registered with British Eventing and get them out to some affiliated events.  All being well we will aim Flicka at some 5yo classes.

Lastly just because he’s so cute a little photo of Leo, Ali’s full brother – now 4 weeks old 🙂

Leo coming to say hello!

Leo coming to say hello!

 

 

What happened to April…

I just cannot believe we are in mid-May already!  I have been doing lots of schooling with Flicka and Merlin, who both go to another unaffiliated horse trials soon.  Flicka will be doing her first 90cm at her first proper eventing outing, I was rather excited by the scope and boldness she showed when we went XC schooling at the fabulous facilities at Lyneham Heath Equestrian last weekend.

Flicka flying the corner, she makes such a fabulous shape over a fence.

Flicka flying the corner, she makes such a fabulous shape over a fence.

Merlin will be stepping up to 100cm and I hope to get a confident cross country run on him at this level.  He a great schooling session too and I was really pleased with how straight and genuine he is being at all the narrow fences now.  To see videos of them both at Lyneham schooling visit please my Vet Gone Eventing Facebook page.

Merlin making the corners look tiny!

Merlin making the corners look tiny!

There was lots of excitement at the end of April with the safe arrival (finally) of Ali’s full brother (by Take It 2 The Limit), he looks so like her and has already done plenty of cross country practice flying round the field with his Mum looking on while stuffing her face with grass!  We hope we are able to take them to the BEF Futurity evaluation at Hartpury later on in the summer, which I think would be a good experience for us all as well as hopefully lots of fun!  I am really excited to see how he differs from Ali, especially being a boy!!

LEO

Donovan meanwhile has gone out into the field for the summer and I hope will start work again in the Autumn ready for whatever retirement from the higher levels will bring for him! Happy boy!

don in field

Lastly after Ali’s brilliant run in France, she extremely frustratingly picked up a minor injury, which meant that we missed Belton and will not be ready for Tattersalls (I’m starting to think she doesn’t want to go to Ireland…).  She is back working a we have had to change to plan B but hope to be up and running again soon…