Pokey is featured on the video footage taken by Uptown eventing at Osberton International Horse Trials. To see her in action Click Here
Well it was a trip with both the girlies Puzzle & Candy to Bold Heath for the BE 5yo and Novice classes. Candy was up first, and after seeing who was in our 5yo section we knew our chance of qualifying would be very slim! She did a really nice test we guessed around a 34 because it was much more accurate and forward than her last test which scored a 35. I was a bit disappointed with her mark of 39.5 but then I suppose being against Ruth Edge did us no favours!
The showjumping was coursing lots of problems and poles were flying all over. It was extremely twisty and and all sorts of dog leg lines which for a 5yo would certainly unbalance them! Candy jumped a lovely round just catching one pole as I couldn't quite shorten her enough. This is definitely what we need to work on shortening and lengthening so she can get herself out of the difficult strides. The cross country was testing and had 2 waters complexes, doubles on angles and boldly built fences. I came back with a HUGE smile on my face.. Candy was absolutely awesome! She was taking me into fences, no hesitation and kept a forward stride throughout the 5m 18 sec course. It was the longest course she has done and coped so well only 2 seconds over the optimum time. I am so excited about her future and think she will be a really competitive novice horse.... fingers crossed!!
Up next Puzzle! Well she had lots more energy for the dressage then usual.. she was slightly distracted due to Candy being in the next field so I had a fight on my hands! She rushed a few of the moves and I came out say blimey that wasn't great! She still managed to get a 37.5. Its becoming a bit of a joke now.. the last 3 events we have done she has got that exact same score and every test was so different! I really hope it will just drop down to 33 all of a sudden haha.. well I can hope!!
Warming up for SJ was chaos! It was way to small for the amount of people trying to jump so I had a quick jump and went straight in.. she was so up for it and I could hardly hold her off the fences! Pokey is well and truly back!! She was going great until the wall fence 7 when she backed off and totally messed up the stride we were on.. I just kept my leg on and left her to it! She jumped it but knocked it good and proper! After that it felt like a jump off! She was on a right flyer and managed to come out with just 4 faults! I nearly missed the last fence number 10 because it came upon me so quickly! It was a great feeling to have so much power from her and I was buzzing going into the cross country. There was only about 3 clears in my section so I was chuffed with just 4 faults.
I new it was going to be a fast round XC as no one yet had made the time even the professionals were struggling with 5m 22sec. Puzzle was loving it and soon got into her stride. Damn I forgot my watch again!!! We were going a good forward pace so to still get 10.8 time pens I was a bit surprised! What I thought was fence 18 was 3 skinny houses on a very tight curved line.. I was on a complete flyer and new I couldn't make the last house so popped a circle in.. I thought this would result in penalties but when I got back I found out it was fence 18 a b and 19 which meant you were aloud to pop a circle in between the 2nd and 3rd house... PHEW!! In the end Puzzle was still placed 12th even with the time pens only a few managed to make the time and it was shocking how many people got time pens and lots of them! Really pleased with both of them. Tried to book Puzzle into the IU21 at Winkburn however it was full so currently on the wait list and entered into the Novice. Looking for another run for Candy but not to fussed if she doesn't do another until September. Lots of training for her!
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.
Puzzle & I have been lucky enough to be selected as one of the 6 finalists for the Horse Hero 1* competition. It now goes through to a public vote starting today (9/6/11 and runs till the 19/6/11) We would be over the moon if you could give 2 minutes of your time to click the link below and vote for us. You can have one vote per day so remember to keep on voting for us! Thank you to everyone who is supporting me.
A last minute entry thanks to Marion for Emailing the organizer so quickly got us a place at the Albrighton Hunt PC ODE held at Rodbaston. I really liked the BE course when I did it last year so was looking forward to going again and the owners of Dee would be there as it was their Pony Club hosting the event so was great to see Jane & Lucy.
As I warmed up for dressage she felt lazy for a change and I had to get after her more than usual! We did a nice test it was pretty accurate and she felt like she moved well, a little head shaky at times but hopefully the judge didn't see! When the all the dressage scores were up we went to have a look and to our amazement Puzzle had scored a 26.8!!!!!!! And for a change it was the best in our section! I was so shocked always wondered what i'd react like when we got the best dressage, don't think it has still sunk it that she can actually do a test that good after all these years!! Nice one Puz :D
I walked the SJ and was a bit guttered they were all plastic fences as I tend to think if they knock one they then knock them all! Thankfully she did a really nice round only just touching one fence and when we looked at the leader board she was still ahead as everyone had faults. So I new all I had to do was jump our usual clear round XC and push on to make the really fast time of 4mins 2secs.
Puzzle didn't feel quite herself over the first few she wasn't taking off on long strides like usual but as soon as we got into a rhythm the fences then came much better. The water fence was a bit sticky she jumped off from a stand still (not like her) and then we really struggled to get a good stride to the B part in the water, luckily she was clever enough to pop a little stride in and get us over it earning a big pat! She flew the rest of the course, I think she was a bit sticky because the course didn't flow as well as the ones she has recently done, the fences seemed to keep swapping from side to side so it made Puzzle on edge constantly looking for the fences she was meant to jump. She finished well jumping huge over the last hedge fence, I thought we might pick up a few time faults for our sticky start which we did but only 1.6 so I was pleased. As we waited for the scores to go up there were lots of time penalties added and I was still in a strong position. Rich Neale who came for support and to take some pictures was watching the results and told me that i'd won it! I was soooooo pleased, not only winning the class, but best dressage ribbon too which I have never had in all my life! Musto sponsored the class with it being a qualifier so I won a lovely Musto Snug jacket with the open eventing league and PC logo stitched on it as well as 6 points to go on the leader board, so a good day all round!
Above is my entry for this years Dodson & Horrell, Horse & Hound Young Rider Bursary. Let's hope this year I can do a bit better than 6th! Hope you like it...
Equestrian Life have done an amazing article on local riders at this years Chatsworth Horse Trials. Both my horses Candy Blue & Pokeys Puzzle feature in the latest magazine with a great write up and picture too!
Really pleased they have included thanks to my sponsors and even a link to my website. Big thanks to Rich Neale for this fantastic article and pictures.
Well what a horrible day... it never stopped raining! I took Puzzle to Catton Park ODE to do the level 5 which was a Musto qualifier. For those of you who arn't aware of the Musto League it is only for those who compete at Open level 5 and if you are placed 1st-6th in any of the Musto Qualifiers around the country you pick up points which then goes onto a leader board for your chance to win great prizes. If you are lucky enough to be in the top 10 you win:
I decided to enter for the amazing competition Horse Hero have on offer which is to win the ulimate 1* experience at Blair Castle. The prize includes entry and stabling, rider and groom tickets to all event parties, a hamper of goodies from event sponsors, an official event polo shirt, a horse hero T-shirt and a set of Laura Bechtolsheimer training DVDs worth over £700. The winner will also receive pre-event training with a horse hero celebrity event rider and mentoring from an experienced competitor throughout the competition, including course-walking and warming up for each phase.
I feel that this opportunity couldn't of come at a better time for Puzzle & I and would love to win this bursary. Once judging is complete there will be a public vote for the winner so if I get through please vote for me!
My video entry is below hope you like it.
Well Puzzle's 2nd year around the amazing Chatsworth Estate, can't believe it has been and gone so fast already!! We were in the novice section D and got to do our dressage on the Friday evening. I had plenty of time so hopped onto her earlier to get all the tension out and hopefully get a better test in the long run. So after 20 mins of a relaxing warm up we took her back to the box to chill for a bit while I was getting ready. I got back on her with 20mins to warm back up again and she felt lovely. She was much more relaxed and into the bridle. My instructor Sarah Healy came just in time 10 minutes before our test, to just tweak a few things which really helped and I can't thank her enough. I felt relaxed, Puzzle felt relaxed as we trotted down the centre line. She did really nice trot work which is the bit she is normally tense and was spot on with the movements scoring mainly 7's. As we went onto the canter work I felt her come up a little and wasn't as forward into the bridle as normal. So my test was reversed I did better in the trot and slightly worse in the canter but still managing to pick up 6/7's finishing on a 35.5 which put us around 12th after the dressage phase which was an amazing achievement for Puzzle & I as we rarely seem to be in the top quarter after this phase. After dressage I walked the course with Sarah, it had changed slightly from last year missing out some fences which had moved over into the new 1*. I have taken pictures of the course which will be below.
Saturday came around even quicker and I was walking around the SJ course thinking this can't be the course it was all on the right rein and didn't flow what so ever! Somebody decided to check to see if it was the right course which she was told yes it was. As I got into the warm up my friend told me that it was the wrong course and somebody had highjacked it the previous evening changing a few of the numbers round!! Glad I new this before I went in! So the SJ course was actually really nice! As we were warming up there were so many horses in the collecting ring and it felt manic. Puzzle hates horses cantering past her really close so I felt her become really tense and she wasn't going forward. I tried to jump the practice fence so many times however it was so busy, people putting the fence up, people putting the fence down before I could even get a look in! I cantered on such a small circle which felt like 50 times trying to get near to the fence. I felt really sorry for Puzzle who at this point wouldn't even go near the SJ fence. Then I heard my name called and it was our time to jump. I tried to calm Puzzle down but it didn't work she was really uptight. Our SJ round I felt was really hit and miss none of the fences came to us well we were either too close or too far, she wasn't strong at all but was so coiled up I had nothing to push forward. Puzzle knocked 2 fences which considering the horrendous warm up and the amount of poles that were flying in other people's rounds I wasn't mad at all she had really tried for me and I was pleased.
We had such a long wait till the cross country nearly 5 hours!! Due to the 1* having to do their cross country round first. I had time to look around the shops and have a look at how the score board was shaping up! We was in around 20th at this point with all to play for in the cross country and this phase in our favour. I got Puzzle off the trailer before my time to stretch her as waiting that long anybody would be stiff! She did a nice warm up and was jumping well (due to there be not many horses in the collecting ring!!) They shouted us across and then Puzzle decided to do a little dance before getting in the start box (pure excitement!) 3..2..1 and we were off she flew out of the start box and ate the first few fences up. The ground was starting to get cut up and I had to slow for the corners, trying to make up time in between. We had such a great round nothing seemed to cause a problem or slow her up she was on top form flying round, we pushed on for the finish hoping to be inside the time. When we checked the results she had done it in 5.16 so 7 seconds to spare! More and more results were coming in and people had picked up a fair few time faults moving us higher and higher up the board. We were placed 12th overall which I was chuffed with shame we couldn't beat our 9th place last year but we were extremely glad of the improved dressage. Hopefully next year Puzzle & I will brave the 1* and Candy may be ready to move into the novice.
Thank you to all my supporters family & friends who came to cheer us on and the amazing good luck messages, the fantastic sponsors for this event Super X Country & William Eyre & Sons, Rich Neale for our super pictures for each phase and especially my mum Marie who was there for me every step of the way.
Here you can read Becci's Eventing Diary