Hello Equestrian Life Readers
I hope you are all well and enjoying, this somewhat, summer/spring/April shower weather we have been having. I think Twizzy is getting rather confused by it as she has had every rug out of her wardrobe on this past month, and is still coming in at night. Im not complaining at all by the rain, don’t get me wrong, I like rain, it means I can actually event Twizzy without worrying too much about the ground conditions.
Our first Novice event this year was at Belton. I have always dreamt of competing here, I don’t know why, because on paper it’s just like any other novice event, but for some reason Belton has that big event feel without a doubt. March the 30th arrived before we knew it, but were we fully prepared? Our first run of the season at Oasby in the BE100 could not have gone any better with a double clear and a 4th, but this is Belton, Belton International Horse Trials, competing against the professional, I hoped that we were not going to stand out like a sore thumb and just blend in with the rest.
I tried not to worry about it too much and after reading one of Becci Harrold tweets that said ‘anybody that is a somebody started off as a nobody once’ I began to believe that I deserved to be here along with the rest.
We were second on our section with a dressage time of 8.06. Twizzy was very much on her toes when we got her out the trailer, we managed to do her studs and get her tacked up, and once I was on she settled down nicely. Twizzy warmed up very nicely for her test, I felt she could have been a little bit more forward and into the contact, but on the whole I was happy and ready for our test. Sadly our test didn’t go the same way our warm up did. Twizzy has always had a thing about the car at C, I don’t know why, she just has the tendency to get very tense and spook past it, today was just like that, I don’t think it helped that the car was touching the letter C, which meant we had to get very close to it before we could turn.(cars are normally 5m away from C) Our major spook at C certainly upset us both for the rest of the test, I managed to get her near C, stay on board and complete the test, so it wasn’t too bad. We came out with a score of 37.5 which was good as I think our test could of had a 43+ score………
After having a very big moan on the way back to the truck it was time to get ourselves into show jumping mode. I was determined to not let the height of the fences scare me, I was to ride with power and full commitment to the fences from the moment the bell went. Before I knew it, we were warmed up and it was my turn to jump. Twizzy was so keen, she was on fire all the way round the course, we got a bit of a wobble on into one of the fences, which we had down, but the rest of the course she flew, which left me grinning from ear to ear.
After such a fab showjumping round I couldn’t wait for our Cross Country. It was big and bold and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. My heart was beating so fast in the start box, and I could feel Twizzy shaking with excitement, 3,2,1 GO and we were off, Twizzy was flying, she felt amazing, before I knew it we were at our first combination, two hedges set on a curving line, Twizzy knew what she had to do and she just kept jumping, the next fence was a step down in to the sunken road and out over a hedge. Twizzy felt amazing, she was jumping so well. The next fence that I was a little worried about was the coffin, Twizzy has in the past landed in a bit of a heap after the ditch, but here she was a amazing, she landed and just kept running, next up was the water, a roll top in, and out over a triple brush, this was the first triple brush that Twizzy and I have ever jumped, she locked on to it as soon as we had jumped the roll top and felt amazing, the next combination that I was a little unsure about was a skinny brush to a corner, there was no need for me to worry, like the other combination she knew what she had to do and flew it. Twizzy jumped amazingly over the next few fences home, and we had done it, clear round our first novice of the season, yippee.
We have had a weekend off before our next novice event which was at Eland on the 15th. In the mean time, Twizzy has made sure im not getting to ‘lar-da-dar’ when im schooling her, she made this apparent by leaping in the air, wizzing round the corner and me taking an unscheduled dismount in to the post and rail fencing……Cue one very purple and green Rachel and a trip to Orchard Farm in Plungar to find some Maxacalm for naughty Twizzy.
Eland came round a lot quicker than I thought it would, with only having a one weekend break I guess it was going to anyway. We had a different test to do at Eland with contains some 2 loop serpentines to X, medium trot medium canter, I had been practicing our test over the past week and it most certainly paid off, Twizzy did a wonderful test and we came away with a 32, which was a lot better than Belton.
We then headed over to do our show jumping, we watched a couple go while we were having a little break and the 3 we watched jumped clear. Was this going to be the day that Twizzy and I could also jump clear? We had some jumping back boots on for the first time at Eland and they made her get her back end up very high, she flew round the whole course which gave use our first clear at Novice, yippee.
We headed back to the trailer and got ready for cross country. The course seemed jumpable, yes there were some very big fences out there, two very big drops almost after each other near the back end of the course. Twizzy and I set out of the start box on a mission. I really wanted to get as close to the time as I could. Before I knew it we were at fence 4, a wall with a ditch in front followed by the corner at 5. Twizzy is so honest, she flew the wall and I landed on buckle end, I kept my leg on and she spotted the corner and just popped over it. Twizzy felt amazing she was taking everything in her stride, before I knew it we were at the first big drop which she dropped down very nicely and jumped over the hedge nicely even though I was on buckle end….again. Next up was the water, and this was where things went wrong, I’m not 100% sure what actually happened, so we went back to the fence judge and asked her. Her view of the event was:, Twizzy was going to drop down, but as she got her legs half way down the step she tried to change her mind and come back up, but the momentum of the canter pushed her back end forward, which meant her front legs went down sideways, and her back end slipped down the step, I had no chance at all of staying on and ended up in the water. The only thing I can remember is cantering down to the water and then seeing Twizzy trotting off, and Mum running down the hill to Twizzy. Twizzy was checked over by the vet who said she will be fine, but if we didn’t have such wonderful boots on the outcome might have been very different. I, on the other hand, am very bruised, I think Twizzy managed to kick my shin on the way out of the water as it’s currently rather fat and purple, I have also hurt my arm and elbow, but apart from that we are fine. We are entered for Chatsworth Novice on the 12th of May but at the moment, I’m not 100% sure about this run, we are going to take Twizzy to Keysoe for a run round the BE100 on the 5th of May and then we will decided on Chatsworth after that, if we miss Chatsworth we will go on to Little Downham instead.
On a happier note, Im also very pleased to say that I have a couple of new sponsors this year. Maxavita, a wonderful supplement company based on using green lipped muscles in their products, and Openfield, a Grain Merchant, providing you with all your agricultural needs. I would like to thank them for all their help and support in 2012.
Photos by Kev Blackband