It's all go at the moment with seven horses in full work plus being very busy mending tack and rugs and managing to squeeze in some teaching, but not complaining as all the horses are lovely and mending rugs is my favourite job in the rain!
We took George out for his first outing last week, we went to Field Farm at Wymeswold which is great for cross country schooling. Mum took Darcy who loves XC and both of them thoroughly enjoyed them selves, Cherise took George, the aim was just to give him a nice fun time, he was a very good boy and popped everything asked of him.
Yesterday we took Billy and Archie to Vale View for a combined training competition. Both horses were lovely in the dressage and scored impressive marks. Archie is still just a bit unbalanced but very rideable and tries hard and this was my first test on Billy and I was very impressed with his attitude. Going in to the show jumping Billy was just in the lead with 74.58% with Archie close on his heels with 73.96% but Billy had one down jumping which was completely rider error as I got my line wrong on a curving related distance, but at least he only dropped below Archie who jumped a good clear. Then they both jumped lovely clears in the 95cm jumping.
We have had a really busy but really good weekend. On Saturday we went to the fabulous Chatsworth international horse trials, this event is one of my favourite events of season it is set in such an amazing setting and has a real international feel to it. I was riding Wang Chuk (Tiff) who belongs to a good friend Jo Payne, we did what felt like our best test to date in the dressage so was really good to get a competitive mark of 32, she was a little sticky in the show jumping but we managed just to have one down coming out of the first double where we just landed a bit flat after the first and didn't quite make the distance, she was great round a big and bold cross country which would certainly be our biggest test to date, she just got a little tired towards the end of the course on testing ground so we added 8.8 time to our score which nudged out of the platings. We were really pleased as this was our first event together and we had lots to get excited about for the rest of the season.
Today we have been to Eland Lodge for their unaffiliated event, it was Archie's first 90cm and when we walked the course there were certainly quite strong with lots of questions for him that he's not seen before. He is quite lazy but this makes him very rideable in the dressage and he did a lovely test to score 31 which considering he is still very big and green and there is so much to more to improve, he is very exciting. In the showjumping he jumped really well, there was a tight dog leg and I just couldn't organise him quick enough and we had one down. He was fab cross country jumping out of a lovely rhythm and answering every question, we had a few time faults but I am not worried as he is so exciting for the future I don't want to rush him.
Back at Little Garendon we have been busy, we have two horses oh holiday livery Urchin who comes most years and is a big favourite with everyone and Az who belongs to a friend I teach both seem to be enjoying their time with us, horses always seem to settle well with us. Also arrived is Billy who has come to be sold, he is a lovely 16.2hh thoroughbred who we would all like to keep, he did a little eventing a few years ago and has already been Xc schooling where he was fab and we took him with us today and he went really well and was very chilled, he is off to Shelford 90cm event a week on Tuesday. And last but not least meet Helaba (George) a seven year Chestnut Belgium Warmblood. He has done a little of everything but not a lot of everything. He arrived at LG and it was like he has always been here, we can't wait to get going with him.
We said a sad good bye to Posh last week but I said it with a smile as she has gone to an amazing home, I had a few people to come and see her who weren't right for her but when her new owners came I had my fingers crossed as soon as we said hello, the lady rode her beautifully and they made a great team straight away and I know she will be very happy. It was a hard sale though as we have had her for over six years and I have loved riding her, we have achieved a lot together including eventing up to novice and being placed at Chatsworth Horse Trials, we won nearly £1000 show jumping which is more than I have won on any other horse and finally we competed up to Medium level dressage and to cap it all she is a lovely person who will be missed by all at Little Garendon. We wish her new owners all the luck in the world with her and hope that they have as much fun with her as we have had.
What a fantastic day we had last Sunday at Rockingham Castle International, Flo was doing the intermediate, I was really pleased with her walk and trot work in the dressage she was a lot more rhythmical and it was nice to have good marks for it, she was a bit cheeky in the canter as was a bit fresh and tense which was a shame as that is normally her strong pace but I was pleased with a fair mark of 37.7 which wasn't to far off the pace being in the middle of the pack. The show jumping was well up to height and didn't walk to close to a couple of the oxers which stood up! Considering how chilled she was for the dressage she was like a mad thing to start with in the warm up for the jumping as if to say this is what's all about, she was magic round the course making it feel easy and jumping one of only 9 clears in our section, she has come on so much in the last few months I used to feel this size course was a bit of an effort for her where as now she makes it feel easy as long as her jockey doesn't do anything stupid! On to the cross country, on the way to the warm up I was thinking why do I do this, I think now I don't compete lots of horses at this level and with the cost of each event we only do one a month I put a lot of pressure on my self to do well and as the fences and big and technical you can't afford to be wrong. She warmed up great and we were off for what was my best ever round on her, she made it feel easy each fence she jumped I was thinking that looked massive when we walked it and she just popped it, I was really pleased with her fitness and galloped up the hill to fly the last to add just 8.8 time faults to our dressage which was good enough for 6th place. I was so proud of her she just tried her heart out and I can't wait till next time, as always a massive thank you to Mum and Cherise who both got up in the middle of the night to come with me and with out them I couldn't do what I do.
Well we have been keeping very busy preparing from the next events, Flo is off to Rockingham Castle intermediate on Sunday and Archie is aiming for Eland Lodge intro in the middle of May.
I took both horses to Emilie Chandler for a lesson last week, both horses worked really well and she gave me some great ideas to carry on moving forward with them both.
Last Thursday I took Archie and Cherise took Posh to Ashby and Orton Riding Club dressage this is really well run competition with a really helpful attitude from those that run it. Cherise and Posh's first test was a little tense but still good enough for 4th, their second test was lovely and was only beaten by Jo Payne on Tiffany who I also teach so we will take that and in third place was me and Archie who was a really good boy he still just gets a little bit wobbly when he becomes inattentive.
As I have not jumped a round of jumps since Belton I felt I could do with just checking we were still on form out an about as well as at home, so we took Archie and Flo to Weston Lawns, Archie jumped a lovely round in the unaffiliated class, he jumped out of a really good rhythm and although a little green was really careful and I am really pleased with how he is coming on. Flo was awesome, I think it was one of the best rounds we have had she was really keen and pinging over the fences, unfortunately we couldn't wait for the jump off as we had Halina Tombs coming to do the horses backs, but we went for a warm up for Sunday and I will be more than happy if she jumps like that on Sunday.
All the guests at home are going well, Harvey has now gone racing, he was a really good boy and was hacking out well and walk, trotting and cantering round in the school. His owners were really pleased with him and are going to keep us updated with how he is getting on and if he gets as far as getting a run we will hopefully be going to watch. Tonka is going well he is walk, trotting and cantering round and is brilliant on the roads, he will be coming up for sale soon. Alfie was really coming on with his relaxation and straightness until I think he felt it was all a bit like hard work and got an infection in his foot, but all sound now so back to boot camp tomorrow!