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Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Floors Castle Horse Trials

With a lot of hard work being put in since Burgham, everyone was looking forward to Floors Castle. We were given a very reasonable dressage time of 10.50, so with a nice & easy start, we set off at 7am to make way to Kelso in the Scottish Borders. As we headed further into rural Northumberland, thick fog set in and the heavens opened with rain. Suddenly the event didn't seem so appealing! However, checking ahead, the forecast looked OK and the event was still running as normal.

An hour & a half later, we arrived to a very prestigious entrance at Floors Castle:

The sky, although grey, was bright, and it didn't look like any heavy rain was due. Setting off to walk the cross country course, the ground felt really good; a little springy but not too soft. It rode really well! The views were beautiful, fences running along the running River Tweed river bank, and right in front of the castle itself!

After walking what looked to be a lovely flowing course, we headed back to the wagon to get ready for our dressage test. As I got myself dressed in my breeches, jacket and stock, Andrew put Thomas' studs in. We were ahead of time, and had plenty of time to tack up and head over to the dressage. The warm up and arenas were in front of the castle, so made for a great shot:

Thomas warmed up really nicely and seemed to be listening to what I was asking so thankfully he wasn't quite so tired when he went into his test. He put in a really nice test, apart from one moment when we had a slight disagreement - but we both got over it and continued to enjoy the test. We scored 39.

Unfortunately, the heavens did open as our test started, and only lasted until just after, so we got a bit drenched! Andrew headed off to find us a new pair of gloves as they were now a little slippy, but the break did mean that the rain eased off, and we took the chance to go for our show jumping.

The warm up was busy and after a few jumps, we were able to go straight in. The round was nice with just two down, leaving us on a score of 47.

With the skies looking brighter and a quiet cross country warm up, we got changed, booted up, and headed down. Thomas gave me a lovely cross country run, attacking the jumps well. We came home clear and inside the time to leave us on a final score of 47.

It has been our target to finish under 50 this season, so we were all delighted, and half way through the scores, it looked like we could be in a good position. In the final results, we missed out on 10th place by just two points! It didn't spoil the day; we'd hit our target and had a really great and enjoyable day out!

Thanks again to our sponsor, Jan Wood Properties, for their ongoing support.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Burgham ODE

The alarm was set for 5.15am & with an early night on Saturday, everyone was looking forward to a day out at Burgham Horse Trials. 

The week had been spent trying to work on a dressage niggle that I had, and thanks to some great instruction late on Saturday evening, Thomas and I were feeling much more positive about the dressage - even if it wasn't totally fixed! 

With feeling tense and unsettled in the dressage at Northallerton the previous week, I wanted to make sure that we warmed up for enough time this week. Maybe I selected a little too long - 35 minutes! But Thomas was definitely worked in well, and although being a little tired, he was settled into the dressage phase. He completed a lovely relaxed test, maybe a little too relaxed in place but I can't complain, as I'd rather have this than a tense test. We scored a 41, and although was a little disheartened by the score, felt the test had gone much better. The score was well placed in amongst the rest of the class too, so it wasn't just us! As usual, Andrew videoed the test for you to see.

The show jumping was up next. It was another blustery day, so with a marquee very close to the far side of the show jumping blowing around, I decided to enter the ring and trot past this. Thomas didn't find the marquee so fearless - with another group of people putting up another one next door! After a couple of tries to get him past, I decided to leave it and start the round. I was worried about coming over number 7; right next to the marquees and a triple bar. It was our first triple bar, and I was excited to jump it. We do have a video, but it lacks fluidity unfortunately due to the initial distractions. We had three down so I wasn't too disappointed, but would have liked to have been able to take a better line to fence 1. Not long after my round, the group of people were made to stop putting up the marquee and asked to remove what was up...

Now on a score of 53, I was keen to not add anymore to the score. We did just that, coming home clear and inside the time - just 5 seconds spare. So I'll be looking to improve Thomas' fitness and even with the spring grass the feed needs keeping!!

Andrew managed to get a shot of us coming over the first, but unfortunately, selected camera and not film for our return to the finish! 

We all had a fantastic day and finished in our best position yet - 15th! I was really pleased with Thomas and pleased that we'd been able to turn around into a much more positive feeling at the end of the week.

Thanks again goes to the support of our sponsor, Jan Wood Properties.

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