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Aldon Horse Trials 11th May 2016

We were all excited about our first event of the season and I was looking forward to blowing out a few cobwebs from the winter and getting my first lot of cross country runs under my belt.  It was forecast as a dry weekend with cold temperatures, and they weren’t wrong.  The mist was holding across the show ground and it was chilling to the bone.  This did add to the horses freshness along with their own enthusiasm to get going!

The first day I had three horses competing in the BE100.  Ours and Ladies Clubs rising 6yr old Bloomfield Tiger Two, Sarah Boon’s Spypark Ferro XS and a new ride for me this season, Mike and Naomi Roe’s INAWORLDOFMYOWN.

Warming up was entertaining!!  The horses were all feeling well, and didn’t hold back in expressing their excitement.

When I recovered some control and steering I was ready to go.

All of the horses produced nice tests with just a few moments of distraction.  I try not to dominate them too much at their first show as I feel you don’t want to turn their enthusiasm and excitement in to tension and make an issue for the rest of the season.  A little less pressure here allows them to relax by themselves and offer their concentration to you rather than fighting for it.

The jumping was a little the same.  There were a few spooks and moments of exuberance, but all horses gave me a good feel.

I’m never in a rush around their first cross country rounds.  As with the other disciplines, I don’t want to put any pressure on the horses, I want them to settle in to a rhythm and have time to focus on the fences and me so we can produce a smooth round.  This brings the horses in tune with me riding them and they build up more trust and confidence.  This allows me to ride them faster in the future without them feeling harassed and hopefully be more competitive.

Spypark Ferro XS finished just outside the placings, as did INAWORLDOFMYOWN.  Bloomfield Tiger Two crept into 10th place with a steady double clear.  I was happy with the horses and felt it was a positive run for the forthcoming season.

I had another new ride on the Saturday with Swang Crackers, another horse of Mike and Naomi Roe’s.  She was very eager in the dressage but didn’t do anything wrong.  Again, this was her first run so we weren’t expecting a ‘Valegro’ performance.

She is a fairly experienced horse and she jumped a solid double clear over the Open Novice track.  I went steady across the country so I could get a feel for how she likes to go.  There are a few things that I learnt and will take back to work on at home.  It’s all about building a partnership with new horses, and this is something that will come in the future if given time.

The final day was very exciting for me.  My advanced horses, Zagreb and Redpath Ransom didn’t compete last season due to injury and this was their first outing for what has seemed an eternity.

They were both very fresh, but knuckled down well to the job and produced nice dressage tests.

Even with all their experience, with their adrenaline pumping you would have thought it was one of their first ever shows.  They show jumped around, snorting and squealing, one minute shocked to see an arena attendant, then excited to jump through a combination.  They had the time of their lives while I just tried to steer and stay on!  They weren’t our best rounds, but it was lovely to feel the horses enthusiasm and enjoyment for their job.

I cruised around the cross country very steadily.  It felt amazing to be sat on such experienced horses and they made it feel so easy.  I had two foot perfect rounds and this was just what I wanted for both of them on their first show back.  Bring on the rest of the season!!

A huge thank you to all involved at Aldon horse trials.  The courses and the ground was super, and it ran extremely smoothly.  It was great to catch up with many people, from stewards to fence judges after the winter break.

I’m very much looking forward to the next event!