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Osberton Young Horse Championships 9th October 2015

We set off for the long drive to Osberton with just the one horse, LVS Stonehavens Quebec.  The weather forecast was good, the horse was in super condition and we were stocked up with wine.  This was all the makings of a great event!

It took a while for the sunshine to break through the heavy mist, but when it did we were blessed with some fabulous Autumn weather.

LVS Stonehavens Quebec settled very quickly, and you wouldn’t believe that this was her first stay away from home.  She came out of her stable as if she was at any other show and felt really relaxed.  The Novice level dressage test that the 5 year olds had to perform required a lot of balance, something that young horses are generally still developing.  The arena was surrounded with trade stands, there were several National flags proudly flying and the fair weather had encouraged plenty of spectators.  All of this created many possible distractions for any competition horse, let alone young and inexperienced ones.

My horse entered the ring as if she had been competing in this environment forever, and I couldn’t fault her focus.  From the moment we entered the arena she put every bit of energy in to performing at her very best.  She listened to me with great focus, and gave me a lovely forward feeling throughout.  Our only blot on the test sheet was our final halt.  I feel that she had given me her all, and as we halted she slumped sideways to gain her balance.  This I can forgive her for, she had put all of her effort in to her performance and just ran out of energy.  She is only 5.

This positioned us in the top 5 after day one which we were absolutely thrilled with.

Day two started very misty again but this didn’t stop the show jumping going ahead.  The course was up to height, and was held in a sloping arena, which always adds a challenge in itself.

We warmed up well, and I new if I trusted my horse, she would be careful and give me her all.  It’s so easy to let the extra pressure of a championship to effect how you ride.  You can often try and be too cautious and not ride with the same conviction which can result in mistakes.

LVS Stonehavens Quebec did not want to touch a pole.  She jumped round effortlessly for a super clear round.  I was acting relaxed but if I’m honest, this was a huge relief.  One pole down in this phase, and that’s your chances of a rosette gone.

Onwards to the cross country lying in 5th place, it was all to play for.

I thought the cross country was a bit too easy.  I know the horses are young, but all had won qualifiers and most had already competed at Novice level prior to the championships.  I feel that the course could have provided a few more questions, not to scare the horses but to challenge control and accuracy.  Maybe some combinations  on curving lines?  This would at least create an opportunity for a run out if the riders did not prepare the horses well enough.  After all, eventing should be about all 3 disciplines.

The horses were set off in reverse order of position.  This meant we were going at the end of the class which gave us a bit of time to enjoy watching the show.  I think it’s a great idea to run the competition this way as it creates a bit more excitement when the top placed horses go out on the course, especially for the public who are watching.

We had a super ride around the course, and on perfect going we cantered around well with in the time.

I don’t think we could quite believe it.  I travelled to Ireland this time last year with LVS Stonehavens Quebec’s owner, Jess Crocker and we bought her to produce so Jess could enjoy the journey of an event horse from the beginning.  The horse had raw potential, but had no balance, no steering and no experience.  One year on, and what a difference!

We popped the horse in her stable with plenty of carrots and the first bottle of Prosecco was opened.  Then the second, then the third!  I’m so glad they don’t breathalyse you before the prize giving!!

It’s always great to be involved in a mounted prize giving, and when the National anthem plays it’s a very proud moment.  Whether it be for a big 3 day event or a young horse championship, it’s all relevant, and you feel great achievement.  I enjoyed the lap of honour, and was sooo looking forward to the celebrations ahead.

BEDE organised a great event, it was great fun with a super atmosphere, and we were over the moon with the result.  Happy Days!!