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Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Askham Bryan ODE

The week after Bishop Burton brought our final event of the season - Askham Bryan.
It also brought a fantastic support team of family friends, friends and mostly importantly, my instructor - a 4* international rider. It was great to see such a mix of people come and watch and willing me to do well.

I'd never been to Askham Bryan, so was looking forward to seeing a new event, a new course and a new setup.

Another social start at 8.45am, and arriving at Askham Bryan (just outside York), I walked my cross country - lots of fence types that I hadn't tried before, including open ditches, hay carts and banks. I was looking forward to the challenge, and it definitely gave me an adrenaline pump!

Thomas was again, a star. Enjoying looking around at what was going on while walking over the dressage warm up, but settling straight into his work. He did go a little lazy during his test and required A LOT of leg, but the warm up had been sticky, and we'd warmed up a little longer than planned.

All that said, we scored 37, which was a great finish, but with a little more energy could knock a few marks off it to improve even more.

We had a very long wait from the dressage to the show jumping - 2.5 hours!

I took the time to walk the course with my instructor again, and watched the show jumping together, learning the course and where the errors were coming from and why. My instructor was great, helping me with what to do at each area where the poles kept dropping.

Eventually it was our turn. I was thrilled to bits - just two poles down from where I let my shoulders drop onto Thomas too much. Without a doubt, our best show jumping round.

We decided it would be best to get changed quickly and go straight out onto the cross country, and had 6 horses in front of us waiting to go. We didn't do much to warm up and the ground was getting turned over and sticky, and I didn't want to waste Thomas' energy. 

Once we were out and going, it was fantastic - we took it steady over the first few and the ones that required a little more concentration, but enjoyed a nice gallop over the steeplechase. 

Here's a short video Andrew took of us coming in over the finish:

We pushed for the finish line, knowing we'd slowed up in places, as you can see, and it produced probably one of my favourite photos:

The main aim was to have a good, solid, confident run to end our first season, and so we could head straight into 2013 feeling good about eventing! We yet again improved our score, finishing on 50.6, and again in 22nd place.

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