For the first time in a while we were arriving at an event in broad daylight, and even better, there was time to ride all the horses on Friday afternoon at Wandin Park! Having not had the time to do this for a while it was nice to familiarise the horses with where they would compete the next day. By all accounts Wandin proved to be a great, albeit very busy event! I had five horses competing over four different levels, which made for a lot of different dressage tests and cross country courses! Luckily the courses all followed a similar path, and I was quite pleased that I managed to walk all four in one go, and even better remembered exactly where to go on Sunday!
Geisha was meant to be competing in the CIC 1* class, but we unfortunately found out at the FEI horse ID that her FEI registration wasn’t up to date. Having only just done it in October last year I didn’t realise it needed to be refreshed on a calendar year! The same thing had happened to 11 other riders, and so a CNC 1* class was made for us to allow us to still compete. Geisha had her A game on all weekend, starting with a PB dressage test where she got a 65% from one judge. She has struggled with this phase for so long so it is really exciting that it is starting to come together finally! On Sunday she jumped a very careful clear show jumping round, one of not that many. Out on cross country she gave me a dream ride to come in clear and under time. She was so incredibly rideable and brave over what proved to be a big track. Having put together three great phases she comfortable won the CNC 1* class, and would have placed 2nd had we been in the proper CIC 1* class. Time to get my FEI rego all sorted, but can’t be disappointed with such a great run and result!
Hughie did a lovely calm test in the EvA 105, but I unfortunately went across the diagonal to the wrong marker twice which proved to be very costly. Shows I should definitely learn my test more than 5 minutes before I get on – serves me right! My tactic to not confusing 4 different tests is to use short term memory, but it didn’t quite work out!!! Nonetheless I was happy with how he went. Out on cross country he jumped clear around what was again a big track for EvA 105. He was a little sticky in a few places, leaving me with some time penalties and a good idea of what I need to work on to nail the next cross country track! It was still great though to jump around clear, and he backed this up with a cruisey and clear show jumping round. He seemed a bit tired by the time he show jumped and this made him much easier to ride!
Milo attended his first horse trials in the EvA 95 as a last minute replacement of Woody who sold the day before. Though the atmosphere was too much for him in the dressage, he redeemed himself by jumping clear around the cross country course. I couldn’t quite believe I got him over some of the narrows considering my lack of steering in the dressage, but seemed to be a different story once out on course! He would see each jump and locked on beautifully despite being very green. He also show jumped very well, with one green rail down in what was a green round. He really showcased his natural ability and bravery though, considering it was his first 95cm track and I didn’t even jump a single warm up fence.
Continuing down the list of horses I competed… I rode ESB Irish Day (Dorris) for Heather Harfoot in the EvA 80. She put a great three phases together, with a super fun and rideable cross country, and show jumped in the worst of the bad weather on Sunday. There was literally lightning while I was jumping as well as rain pouring down!
Last but definitely not least, the baby of the team and Miss Personality, Chuckle! Chuckle was doing her first official horse trials and did not disappoint! She did a lovely dressage test scoring over 70% followed by a double clear jumping to win the class! What a good girl, considering she was unbroken this time last year, and then proved quite tricky to break in, being extremely sensitive and opinionated! Once she understands something though she will try 100% for you and she sure did exactly that this weekend.
So coming away from Wandin with 5 clear cross country rounds, and 2 wins, I couldn’t be happier with how my team of horses went!