Took Candy to Somerford Park Pony Club ODE to have a go at the Level 4 which I new would be the hardest most challenging course she has done. I was right! Everything was up to height and the cross country had lots for her to look at.
I warmed up for 5 minutes to try a different tactic and being as it was 24 degrees figured she would have less energy than usual! Again I was right!! She did a nice test the trot work good and she really improved with her trot to walk transitions for 3-5 steps. The canter really needs the most work as she is losing her balance easily through the corners and going disunited a little too often! I haven't seen the sheet yet as we had to leave early but awaiting it's arrival any time now!
As we warmed up for Show Jumping in the amazing new huge arena she was behind my leg and I really had to get after her especially with the course being built up with jazzy fillers too! We had a few sticky moments but after I gave her a tap around fence 5 she woke up and jumped much better leaving all the poles in their place! Yey clever Candy!!
It was getting hotter and hotter and trying to find a bit of shade was very difficult waiting for cross country! I was determined to have a good start to fence one so was on her case from the word go! She felt amazing and was taking me into every fence! She flew up the 2 steps to the skinny with no hesitation. She just decided to have a look at the trekaner but apart from that she was amazing and I was ecstatic she completed.
Video below and take a look at the fences she jumped! Very proud of her! Hopefully if the ground softens up she will be going to her 5yo Buckminster BE.
At the weekend we went all the way down to junction 21 for the Warwickshire PC ODE which was incorporating the Musto Open Eventing League. After a long 2 and 1/2 hour drive we finally arrived, the weather was scorching at 28 degrees. I decided not to put studs in for a change as the ground was very dry, Puzzle warmed up for dressage OK although she was slightly behind my leg (probably because it was so hot!) soon after we went in to do our test. It was definitely hard work and I couldn't breathe in my jacket, it could of been more accurate and more forward but on the whole I was pleased. She got a 34.4 and was 7th after dressage. The showjump course was really interesting and up to height, it was one of the most jazzy courses I have jumped in ages with a wall, gate, water tray, arrowhead and bright fillers under every fence! I could feel her backing off a few so had to use my whip a couple of times to encourage her (not like Puzzle at all.. is this the start of what is to come?). Puzzle jumped a great round giving the fences some real height (for a change.. properly because she was looking at the fillers haha!) Then we came to the last fence 10 a triple. She came round the corner and started backing off 5 strides away, I was thinking don't you dare do what you did at Catton park (pick up a disobedience!) So I growled at her at I have no idea how she managed to clear the 3 fences, but by putting 2 strides in between them she managed it (they were set at one stride!) So we came out with a very lucky clear which boosted us up to 4th place.
I didn't do much warm up for XC because it was so hot and dry. Mum walked her into the start box this time to avoid any cheeky behaviour! We set off a bit sticky over the first few, the course was quite testing, nearly every fence was a combination and on an angle. There were 2 water complexes both with big drops one was really early on around fence 5 the other right at the end. The most unusual fence which I wasn't looking forward to was around fence 7, it was a wide house set on one stride right hand turn exactly from the path so as you can imagine it was very tight and you had to ride for that one stride or you would be in serious trouble and extremely close to fence, it also followed 3 strides to a single skinny house. Puzzle never seemed to really get going she was lacking her usual drive, as we got to fence 5 the drop into water, last minute she decided not to jump off and I flew out the side door! Luckily it wasn't a bad fall I managed to land on my feet although my air jacket still went off! At least I know it works!! After the doctor had insisted checking me out I was aloud to carry on. I thought I could try her again at the next water fence later on in the course. The fences in between she still didn't quite feel herself and by the time I got to the next water drop I new she didn't want to do it. I walked her through the water so that wasn't the issue once we finished I jumped off to check her out. Everything seemed fine she wasn't obviously lame, when I took her boots off I noticed some gravel stones dropped out from her boots, some were even still stuck into her leg, they must of been from where they gravelled in front of the fences. Was this the reason?? Was they causing her pain? Was it just the hard ground and the fact that she new dropping off the step would cause a harsh impact on her legs? Who knows for sure. If she had done her usual clear round XC she would of finished 2nd. But like they say you have good days and you have bad days! All I know is that she definitely wasn't herself!
I was still wondering if there was something wrong with her, had she pulled something SJ? I rode her out the next day and when we set off she felt a bit short in front, I booked in with the physio after my friend Anna said maybe she was just a bit tight. The next day she confirmed that she was slightly stiff in the front right shoulder and felt a bit of swelling in the same leg, maybe that it was caused from all the hard ground we have had. So now I have cancelled all her events for the next month hoping after a few weeks off she will come sound and the ground will be better for her. Even though Puzzle can't talk she was definitely telling me something that day and I am glad I listened to her and didn't get mad thinking she was just being naughty!
Candy had a great lesson with Sarah in the week.. write up to follow, and is ready for her run at Somerford Park Level 4 (BE100) and then Buckminster 5yo BE.