Equo brand ambassador Bonnie Fishburn is getting into full competition mode – find out what she’s been up to in her latest blog:
Wow, since I wrote my last Equo blog so much has happened and I’ve been to so many places!
My first outing since the last blog was to Myerscough College for the British Dressage Regional Finals at Open Novice. Florence had been going really well, but when we arrived at the warm-up arena she had a mini meltdown because there were thirteen horses in there – it’s a relatively small space for 5 or 6, let alone thirteen!
Anybody who knows Florence has probably seen how she can react when other horses get too close, so this was her worst nightmare. It was just typical that the arena was so busy for our warm-up, earlier in the day there had been 3 or 4 in at any one time and it was then the same later on… but for some reason people thought it was acceptable to use that arena to school in, even if they weren’t competing in that class. There were even people who weren’t competing at the show riding!
To be fair, when our time came to do our test she did go into the arena and settle quite nicely. She did a sweet and accurate test, but I just didn’t feel that we’d had a great warm-up to get the best out of her. She finished with 63.9%, which was very disappointing and her worst ever score a BD competition. Not a good day – such a shame as she’d been doing so well until then.
A few days later I took both Percy and Florence for a play around Somerford Park’s arena cross-country course. Somerford is an amazing venue and it’s only about 30 miles away from us. They have such fabulous facilities, ranging from their 80-acre cross-country field, to their all-weather farm ride of about 5 miles… not to mention their showjumping arenas. They even have a fab café! Both ponies were on great form and flew round.
Our next trip was to Field House for their BE Arena Eventing. Both Percy and Florence jumped the BE100. Florence felt like she loved it and jumped a super double clear, despite me almost going the wrong way at one point. However, my little error did cost us one time penalty. Percy also jumped a good double clear and he was really pinging the show jumps. He was 4 seconds under the time but still only finished 8th. There was some speedy hot competition.
The following weekend was supposed to be our first BE event of the year up at Askham Bryan, but unfortunately they fell victim to the terrible weather we had. In fact 3 days before the event was supposed to start they were completely white over – I did think I was being a little keen trying to get a run so early in the season!
Next up was Elfie’s first ever party. He had a go inside the white boards. It was the first time he’d ever been in an arena with other horses to work and he was a little shy at first, but soon got used to it and was so brave and warmed up beautifully. When we went in for the test the one thing that he did take a disliking to was the judges box, which was a little bit of a problem because whenever we were down that end of the arena we were rather wobbly. But there were some really lovely moments away from the box. 60.8% wasn’t a bad score for his first ever test. Plenty of room for improvement but I was delighted that he coped so well with the party atmosphere.
Elfie wishes perms were back in fashion…
It was Florence’s turn to shine next and we headed to Prescott Arena for her second ever play at BD Elementary… and entered through Equo of course! She was a bit of a diva warming up and was determined to think that we should be out eventing by now. Maybe she thought we were there to practise our cross-country! We went in the E40 and she was lovely and cooperative, scoring 66.45% to win the bronze section and also win overall. I was so chuffed with her.
We then had the E59, which is the trickiest of the elementary tests. We are still very new at this level and need a few more miles on the clock, but we gave it a go and got some good marks along the way. However, we need more practise at movements like the simple changes, where we broke on the right rein and got 4’s. But it will come with time and patience. We scored a 62.8% in that one.
Our next outing was a bit of a drama! Horses are such great levellers. It’s amazing how many emotions they can give you in a day and how a simple little excitable moment can end in such a nasty and painful way.
I had Florence and Percy competing at The Wynnstay Hunt team arena eventing. Our day got off to a horrible start with one of our member’s horse having an excitable buck after a fence and sending poor John Done out the side door. Unfortunately he landed on his feet with an almighty crack. John was airlifted to hospital with an open fracture, where he was operated on, needing a rod and 6 pins to mend is broken ankle. How terribly sad.
Luckily that was the last of our dramas and we managed to jump 3 clears. I rode Florence and Percy, who were both clear, although Percy was somewhat wild! The team was good enough for 1st place. All in all the “Pretty in Pink” team had a day of dramas, but jumped 7 out of 7 clears.
So, it’s been a busy few weeks but we’re all very much looking forward to the upcoming weeks, as we have a lot more planned.
If you, like Bonnie, are desperate to get out competing then make sure that you search Equo’s upcoming events.