The last few weeks have seen some big events taking place so there has been a lot to catch up on.
The month started off at Belton, where believe it or not we were all concerned about the hard ground! The team there did a brilliant job and worked really hard on the going. Xam was entered in his first advanced and Sligo First Class was in the Intermediate. Sligo did a rather sprightly test but show jumped much better for just one down. He flew round the cross country and feels very comfortable at this level and ready to tackle bigger things. Xam’s test was next. We have been working so hard in the weeks leading up to Belton on his dressage with Gill Watson and it really paid off. He did a super test and tried his hardest which is all I can hope for at this stage. We stabled at Willa Newton’s on Saturday night and had a fantastic time, great food and brilliant company!
Back to Belton on the Sunday for the show jumping and cross country. Xam excelled himself and produced a faultless double clear around his first advanced. The cross country course basically followed the same route as the CIC*** and he ate it up and have me a great ride. This left us finishing in 10th place in the advanced class and 2nd in the sub advanced under 25 section. All the classes at Belton were full of top class horses all having their final Badminton runs so to finish in the top 10 was a huge surprise! This placing has now qualified him for the British Open Championships at Gatcombe Park in July.
Both the horses came out of Belton look fit and happy and so the following weekend we headed up to Burnham Market in Norfolk where Bruno was in the CIC** and Xam in the CIC***. Bruno produced a solid performance in all 3 phases and finished 13th in a big two star section. His dressage showed a 13 mark improvement on his last attempt at this level so onwards and upwards. Xam once again showed a dramatic improvement on the flat and received a score of 44 which for his first attempt at 3* was incredible. Oslo was only 0.2 marks better than him!
By this stage the show jumping ring had got very deep and Xam did struggle to jump out of the mud and did knock an unfortunate two down but I was still pleased with how he jumped. I walked the course with William Fox-Pitt the night before and so I had a plan in my mind of where I was going. The track was big, technical and asked questions the whole way round. Xam just felt like a pro going round and we took all the direct routes to finish with just 10 time penalties and leave him in 11th. It’s not a bad result when you see that every horse in front of you has done a 4* and this time last year Xam was only in Novice! This result has qualified us for Bramham CCI*** under 25 national championships in June.
I am still going down to William Fox-Pitts whenever I can. I’m finding that riding so many different horses is really improving my riding and I also learn so much from just watching him on a horse.
We are meant to be at Withington this weekend if the rain holds off and then Chatsworth CIC*** for Xam and Aston Intermediate for Bruno!
Bring back the sun!