Well May has certainly been a month that I have endured the serious highs and the lows of eventing! As lots of friends have said its character building and makes you even more determined to get your head down and put things back on track again.
But somehow it is a lot easier said than done sometimes! I adore this sport so much but when you start to have a little wobble the best advice I’ve been given is to not bottle it up, talk to lots of friends and get them to help you out of the negative cloud you may be in.
Going to the first International of the year is always so exciting as you get to dust off your tails maybe for the first time, have a chance to ride in the long dressage arena and feel the buzz of a slightly higher profile event.
Aston Le Walls International was a fantastic substitute for Chatsworth Horse Trials who sadly couldn’t run this year. Nigel Taylor and his team did a phenomenal job on the ground as the weather wasn’t completely on our side with endless showers.
I had 7 horses competing throughout the week so it was incredibly busy, but my team did a fabulous job at keeping the show on the road. First up we had my two big boys who were in the 4*S. Cartown Wallabe was a complete pro and jumped a beautiful double clear which set him up nicely for Bicton 4*L in a few weeks time. Highway was contesting in his first 4*S where he produced a beautiful test to score 32. I was totally over the moon with him as the 4* dressage tests are very technical and he is still getting the hang of his changes.
He then had one down in the showjumping and was on route to the most amazing XC round but sadly I rode the last combination very badly and made the wrong split decision to add another stride into the final combo. I was furious at myself as I felt like I had let him down after storming around the rest of the course, but I will learn from my mistakes and hopefully trust his length of stride in the future.
Next up were my two 7 year olds who were doing their first 2*S. Temporada was sadly a little opinionated in her dressage test so we withdrew her and saved her for another day. DHI Trend Setter did a phenomenal test and was lying in 4th after the dressage out of 80+ starters. He then had one fence down in the showjumping and was again on route to an incredible round but unfortunately we had a nasty rotational at the second last.
I walked away definitely quite battered and bruised and a cracked rib but thankfully he was totally fine. Again, this fall was such a shame and it really knocked my confidence as I felt it was totally my fault and I hate letting down my horse, my owners and my team.
After a wobbly 24 hours we turned around and went back to Aston with Monbeg Voodoo and Coolrock Cooley contesting in the Intermediate and their final run before their first 3*L at Houghton. I was definitely questioning everything as we were driving there and it felt like my brain was working at a hundred miles an hour.
Both horses however, were fantastic and gave me two exceptional XC rounds, which filled me with a huge amount of confidence to trust myself and not get hung up on your mistakes!
Onto Tweseldown International the following weekend, where I was a little tentative to be taking DHI Trend Setter after his fall the week before. He did a stunning test again to lie in 3rd place, one pole SJ and one green stop xc, but finished full of running and confidence which was an amazing feeling that he wasn’t dwelling on his previous run.
He goes to Nunney International where we will hopefully get the result he deserves (third time lucky!!!). Straight Choice was doing our first 3*S together and after a solid first two phases we had an annoying error on the XC where I ended up on the floor again! Funki saved the weekend with an awesome double clear in his first BE100 to finish just outside the top 10.
Houghton International was our final event in May where both Monbeg Voodoo and Coolrock Cooley were competing in their first 3*L. After two slightly disappointing dressage marks they stormed around double clear to finish just inside to top 20. The XC caused carnage and for them to both fly around easily inside the time was a wonderful feeling.
Going into the final show jumping round on the final day felt a little different as I wasn’t sure how they would feel after putting so much effort into the XC the day before. They both jumped their socks off and finished the week on a real high. I was so proud of how they handled the whole week and I can’t wait to aim them at another one near the end of year when we have polished up on our dressage!
I am enjoying a quiet week this week before heading to Bicton 4*L with Cartown Wallabe and Highway in the 4*S. Fingers crossed they behave as well as the younger two did at Houghton!