Hi everyone! We’ve continued to be extra busy here so I thought I’d check in with a little update…
Following our competitions over the last few weeks, next up was a little pole work party for Elfie at Tushingham Arena. It was an evening event and quite a big ask for him (as he’s only three) to go out in the lorry at night and then into an indoor arena, which he’s never done before.
In true Elfie style he didn’t let it upset him and just got on with the job. He is a little pleasure to work with. He has also starting doing a little bit of jumping now and is already cantering a little course of fences. I can’t wait to get him out to some little jumping parties in the near future.
On the 18th March we managed to get to our first event of the year. Having travelled 113 miles to Lincoln after our 2.55am start both Florence and Percy were a pleasure to ride in the Open 100.
Florence was rather confused in the dressage having been doing elementary tests recently – I think she was expecting a little more than just walk, trot and canter, but we just about held it together for 31. She jumped her little socks off in the showjumping for a clear and she felt really good! She then gave me a fabulous, smooth and bold ride across country, inside the time to take 1st place. What a way to start our season!
I was delighted with Percy after his dressage, but we only scored 36. Judges just don’t like my cow coloured horse. He then jumped a lovely clear showjumping round and gave me a great spin across country, inside the time, but then I discovered that I was given 20 penalties at fence 4… a very straightforward box type fence.
He had spooked at a timber frame building next to the fence and slammed to a halt about 10 strides out. A simple smack with the whip he picked up canter and jumped the fence. I can’t believe they gave me 20 penalties. The fence judge said: “presented at fence and napped”. I was nowhere near the fence and if they call that a nap I’d love to see what they called a proper nap! I did argue my case but the penalties stood. As you can imagine it put a real dampener on the day, but at least the ponies both gave me a great ride. He should have finished 6th. The highs and lows of eventing, eh?
It was nice to see Oliver Townend taking the prize giving to help the organisers out as they were running out of daylight for the novice, so they were all busy elsewhere. Overall it was a really good start to our season.
Next up was a trip to one of my favourite events, Gatcombe Horse Trials. There’s just something extra special about competing down there. Percy was a complete pro and it was so close to being a perfect day, but we had a minor blip cross-country, which I blame myself for.
He was 11th out of 40 after the dressage on 30.5… finally a judge who likes him! He was just perfect, despite the sticky ground and windy conditions.
Then showjumping he jumped his little socks off, tried so hard in about 4″ of mud and gave me a fantastic clear. Again, across country he gave me the most wonderful, bold ride and didn’t seem to mind the cut up ground. But then I fluffed up at fence 17. I fiddled him off his line at a skinny bench to a drop hedge, but he popped it the second time and finished in great style.
I should have been really gutted, but I just couldn’t be because he tried his heart out for me. Ok, I was a little disappointed that we would have finished easily in the top 10, perhaps even as low as 5th or 6th, but he showed me what a truly talented horse I have bred.
My final adventure of the past six weeks was with Elfie for his second ever dressage test. We entered Berriewood through Equo and did the Intro B and Prelim 12. In the first test he scored a 62.6%, which was good enough for 3rd place in a huge class of 15. I was delighted with him!
Elfie also did a lovely test in the prelim and it was his first attempt at cantering in a test. The judge liked him but not my riding, saying “let down by his rider, she needs to learn to ride an accurate test”. I thought that was very rude… at the end of the day he is a real baby and my aim wasn’t to push him into the corners and unbalance him. For a young, recently broken baby I thought he was great. He scored 60.9% in that one.
It’s quite exhausting just writing about our adventures over the last six weeks, but I would say that’s quite usual for us at this time of the year. Catch up soon!
If Bonnie has inspired you to get out competing then make sure that you search Equo’s upcoming events.