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Treborough Horse Trials 2nd July 2015

This was our first trip to treborough.  We had heard it was situated high on top of a hill, and WOW, our source was not wrong.  The Sat Nav says you’re only a few miles a way, but the poor lorry couldn’t go any faster than 10 mph up the never ending climb on to the Exmoor hills.  We may have to nick name this event, Everest!!

We were blessed with super weather, and while walking the cross country course it was well worth taking in the view across the valley towards the sea.

The cross country course was full of questions.  The course felt quite long when I walked it, but not because of the distance, but more because how busy it was with twist and turns.  There were some awkward fences that needed jumping, accompanied by the good old ditch and palisade flyer fence which called for brave and forward thinking horses.

As with a lot of the events hosting the lower level competitions, I was disappointed with the ground, not just on the cross country, but also in the show jumping.  The show jump warm ups are often neglected, yet this is where you will probably do most of your preparation work.  It would be nice to see that they may have spiked this area to help take the sting out of the ground.

I had a full day with four horses competing.  Three in the BE100, and one in the Novice.

LVS Stonehaven Quebec started the show for us, and showed huge improvement in her dressage from her last event.  She was consistent in the contact, and handle the slight slope in the arena well.  She performed a lovely test for a score of 27.

The jumping arena had a gentle gradient running across it which was catching out several combinations.  Unfortunately, I think this also tripped us up.  Fence 9 was positioned just as the ground started to run downwards.  This caused the horses to try and put their back feet down a bit quicker and not quite finish their jump off.  We were caught out here and Darcy’s back feet just rolled the pole for 4 faults.

We headed into the cross country lying in a good position, but trying not to pressurise Darcy, as she’s only 5yrs, we travelled around for a few time penalties.  These were very costly as the result went, but I was over the moon with her performance, and she’d had another great experience to take forward for the rest of the season.

Storm Blue was competing in his second event this year.  He was extremely focussed in the dressage, and performed a very attentive and accurate test for a score of 28.3.

Blue showed his jumping experience, and breezed around the show jumping making it feel effortless for a super clear.

We set off on the cross country with a really good chance of winning and sadly, I think this effected how I rode him.  I set off a bit quick, considering it was only his second run and we paid the price shortly after.  Fence 7 and 8 was a hanging log, three strides on a downwards slope to a step down into the water.  We approached this at a confident speed, and when Blue saw the water behind, he took a moment of hesitation.  This hesitation cost us 20 penalties which marred what was a super round.  I feel if I’d given him a bit more time to assess the question, he would have jumped through more smoothly.  HINDSIGHT!!

I was really pleased with the horse, and I’m sure he has a win in him very soon, and will be making the step up to Novice in the not so distant future.  Watch this guy, he could be a special one.

Spypark Ferro was making his return after a 6 week break and was feeling fresh and eager to go.  He warmed up beautifully for the dressage but as we went across to his arena in the corner of the field we were mobbed by horse flies.  This made him a little sensitive, and although he performed a great test, I feel it could have been better if he could have solely concentrate on me, instead of being eaten alive.  Never the less, he stayed as focussed as possible and did his job.

Our show jumping round felt like a confident schooling round that you would have at home.  We unfortunately got caught out at the same fence as Darcy had, for exactly the same reason for 4 faults, but I was pleased with the rhythm and his effort.

Spypark ferro has established himself at this level, and took the cross country in his stride.  He jumped exceptionally well and didn’t take a second look at anything and cruised around well with in the time.

We were rewarded with a 3rd place for our efforts!

The Night Traveller (Hugo) was out again, and performed a clinical dressage test for another great score of 25.

Although the ground was hard, Hugo jumped a careful clear, giving everything plenty of room.

Lying in a good position, we set off with intent to make the time.  Hugo is a careful horse, and always jumps everything with plenty to spare.  It was quickly clear to me that he didn’t feel great galloping on the hard ground.  I slowed the pace half way around but I think the jumping on the hard ground had upset his rhythm.  We had an uncharacteristic stop at a simple galloping fence, on his second approach, at a steady pace, he was happy to jump, and we steadily continued home.  I think the hard ground had taken its toll on him.

Hugo, and a couple of the others, were a bit sore through their chests and shoulders from the concussion and jarring from jumping on the hard ground.  We quickly had them treated by our physio, which seems to have alleviated a lot of the tightness, but this is a reminder that horses are not machines, and there are a lot of considerations that should be taken into account when choosing how to run our horses, on certain ground conditions!