"The 2011 show season was probably my best season ever. Winning the hunter championship at both the Longines Royal International Horse Show and the National Hunter Show on Major Moylaw, a stunning chestnut heavyweight belonging to Alan and Isobel Hall, was amazing. I did go to HOYS full of hope that he might win there, but it was not to be.
I was not very well at this year's show, so it was hard to enjoy myself partying as well as riding the way we all like to at HOYS. But my week picked up on the Friday with a championship win in the Mobile Phones 4 Business Ladies Hunter of the Year class. My horse Jonas O'Shannon came to me in May of this year and I bought him thinking he would make a nice ladies horse. He is only five years old so it was a very big achievement for a young horse, and I was delighted with how he took everything in his stride. It was my first title win at HOYS, and trotting down the centre line was as big a thrill as I hoped for.
Since finishing the season at HOYS, the focus at my Oxfordshire yard has changed a lot. We sold a lot of my established show horses this Autumn, and I wish their new owners lots of luck next season.
We are now busy with the breaking of the three-year-olds, and I have a number of exciting show horses for 2012. Having been to Ireland on shopping trips in September and October, it is now time to get cracking as next season will be here all too quickly.
Two of the three year old horses I bought in Ireland are to make riding horses - a small riding horse called Ava, who is by Cult Hero, and a large riding horse called Suzy, by the stallion Sylvano. Both have been really easy to break, and they are now ready to go on to new homes.
Ava was amazingly straightforward. From first putting the saddle on and lying across her on Monday morning, she was trotting with me in our small arena by Friday. By the following Friday she was cantering and riding sweetly round the large menage. Quite incredible - I hope they are all going to be as easy as her!
I have also got a four-year-old riding horse, by the Thoroughbred Millenry - who won the St Ledger - back up following a summer in the field to mature. He is really exciting and has been sold to lovely new owners, so I'm looking forward to bringing him out next season.
Keeping up with the children
Hunting has been particularly pleasant this year, as I have a lovely horse to ride called King. He, like all of them, is for sale but I would love to keep him for the Christmas holidays so I can take him hunting with my two children Harry and Alice. They both have cracking ponies so I need to be well mounted to keep up! The ground has been so dry it is a pleasure to ride on, and not having filthy horses to wash of in the dark is always a bonus."
“Normally when working at an event for H&C, we are running from one field to another, chasing after riders, dodging rain or pondering on the most suitable footwear for the unpredictable British weather.
Street where the riches of ages are stowed
This week was to be different: a trip to London, specifically the trendy Portobello Road’s Electric Cinema, for the press launch of our new series Getting to Greenwich. A double whammy of excitement – chatting to some top riders, and hanging out on one of my favourite shopping haunts, where you will still fit in even if you're wearing tweed - the excitement was all too much.
On arrival, cameragirl Katie and I had to film the opening links to RRU – that’s Rudall’s Round-Up (like you didn’t know!) I am not sure I will never get used to talking to the camera with so many people watching, and doing it on the middle of a London street is certainly tricky. At least when I'm hanging out in fields all day, only the cows can ‘tut’ at you for holding up traffic.
Once Piggy French and Carl Hester had arrived and the pleasantries between the great and the good from the equestrian industry were over, it was time for the big show. We all took our seats, with Lizzie Greenwood Hughes – Director and Executive Producer of the series – sitting deliberately out of punching reach from Piggy French, just in case she wasn’t happy with the finished programme.
Piggy steals the show
Fortunately Lizzie’s fears were unfounded. The episode was well received and gave a brilliant insight into one of the country's most treasured riders, on her quest for Olympic glory in 2012. Episode one followed Piggy as she gave us a tour round her yard and a glimpse into her life, riding 10 horse a day, and the dedication needed to get to the top.
Viewing done, the mic was flung back on ready for me to pounce on Carl Hester (it's a hard life), before he headed over to Wembley for the Spanish Riding School premiere. Carl as always is a consummate professional when it comes to being on camera, and makes my life so easy – the cameraman (girl - sorry, Katie) says go and Carl just keeps speaking – result.
A cosy chat with Piggy on the sofa followed and I have to remind myself to finish up, as I could chat to her all day. She truly is as lovely as she seems on camera and an incredible rider – no, I’m not jealous at all.
Big names in getting to Greenwich
I am very much looking forward to the rest of the series. The other riders to feature include para-equestrians Sophie Wells and Debbie Criddle, show jumpers Guy Williams and Peter Charles, dressage riders Charlotte Dujardin and Laura Bechtolsheimer, and eventer William Fox-Pitt. I am sure everyone can find a rider they love out of that lot.
So work done and I must say a special thank you to H&C's web Editor Victoria Spicer – as she managed to steer me past the shops on the way back to the station. My credit card will be eternally grateful."
PS If you haven't yet seen our sneak preview of tonight's show, click here to watch.
So the season has finished and what a season it’s been. The team had a great end to the year, with a successful last few outings with good placings for the young horses at Pulborough and then two very good Intermediate outings, for both Chico Bella and The Perfect Storm at Oasby and Aldon. It was particularly pleasing to finish well with these two lovely horses, as they had both had to have a bit of time off and it is nice to get them back on track.
A new venture for me saw me and my mum heading off to Ireland for the Goresbridge Go for Gold sale, with the three horses I have been producing for Donal Barnwell. It is a sale for elite young event horses and I was very proud to turn up with my three handsome boys. They was a lot of interest in them, as they have all had good form throughout the season and are all lovely potential superstars. Taking horses to a sale like this was a new experience and it was actually really exciting when the bidding started! All three horses sold really well and Red Curran (my favorite of the three) was the top lot, selling for a very significant sum.
It was a great experience to be submerged in Irish horses, horseman and banter, and it was educational watching the experienced guys, assessing the horses and trying to work out which ones were going to be the future Badminton winners. I am already looking forward to producing next year’s crop.
Since being back from Ireland things have quietened down a bit as those three boys have gone and most of the others are having a little holiday. It won’t be long before it’s time to get them in, put shoes on, take hair off and get practicing our dressage and show jumping, but before that happens I am having a couple of weeks' holiday. I will be catching up on sleep, friends and having some time to myself which I am very much looking forward to. I have a great team of staff at home so it is nice to be able to relax and leave them to it.
"Hello everyone. I'm writing this on my sofa after a long day - first riding out for Paul Webber and Vi Jordan this morning, before going on to Uttoxeter for one ride, which finished eighth. It wasn't a bad run as the horse hadn't raced for a while.
Clocking up the miles
I've always found November to be my busiest month of the year and this year is no exception. Between driving to ride out and then driving to go racing, I've already done around 7,000 miles in my car this month. Luckily I have a fantastic sponsor that supplies me with my car and all my equipment for riding, and without this I would find making a living very hard. So I'd like to take this chance to thank Paul Reason of www.mayiclaim.co.uk, and Ginnie Marsh, who deals with everything for me and deserves a medal.
This week I went to the launch of the Hennessy Gold Cup, which is run on Saturday at Newbury. It was a lovely evening held at Hennessy HQ in London, and sponsored by Sportingbet. I was lucky enough to be invited as I have my first ride in the race this year - something I'm very much looking forward to as the Hennessy is such a prestigous race. I also have a little chance on board Sarando, so fingers crossed for that.
On a lighter note, my coloured goggles are still causing a bit of a stir in the weighing room. I've even had an offer by one of my twitter followers to customise me a pair for Christmas, complete with tinsel and lights. Tempting, but I think that might be taking it a little too far.
Well I hope you have enjoyed my blog and here's hoping that in my next one I'm writing about how l celebrated the biggest win of my career thus far!"
"So this is my first blog for Horse & Country! I have been staring at my screen for ages wondering how to start, so here goes.
All about me
"I am 29 and grew up in the bronx of Essex. I come from a non-horsey family but have been madly in love with horses for as long as I can remember. After I left school, I was stable jockey for Tina and Graham Fletcher for five years, before setting up my own yard. I used to show jump mainly but slowly I turned into an eventer, and started producing young horses for sale. Since then I have won the Burghley Young Event Horse final and achieved top ten placings up to CCI three-star level.
I now live in Tetbury in Gloucestershire where I share a yard with my partner Spencer Wilton, a dressage rider. We have a fantastic set-up with an indoor barn, covered horse walker, indoor and outdoor arenas, and lots of fantastic hacking. We have a Labrador called Babs, nine naughty chickens and a field full of young homebred horses.
Show jumping dreams
After a busy season of eventing, in the past few months I have put my show jumping hat back on. There’s nothing I love more than to pack up the lorry with a couple of horses and go jumping for a few days with Who Boy (owned by Jen Goodman) and VIP (owned by Rachael Hart).
In September we headed off to the new national show at Hickstead and had a really good kick-start to our show jumping campaign. We placed in nearly every class and won lots of money - well, more than you win in eventing certainly! I even got to live one of my childhood dreams five times over by jumping in the main ring, and finished third in the Grand Prix!
We then did the new show at Bury Farm, at which Who Boy (Boyce) had a win and VIP had a late placing in the 1.40m class and qualified for the Grand Prix. Sadly the Grand Prix did not go to plan but it is still early days in our partnership, and VIP is not always at my yard as he stays with his owner a lot of the time. Since then I have been to the Hand and Addington Premier shows and the boys have kept up solid performance with wins and good placings.
A sad farewell
It was a very sad day for the world of jumping to lose the legendary stallion Hickstead. The only positive in the whole thing is that he died doing something he lived for. This horse was a true champion and deserved the admiration he got from his fans all over the world. My condolences go out to all of those connected to him.
She makes my Christmas
Only today did I realise that Christmas is approaching thick and fast, thanks to a friend on Facebook who shared the link to Mariah Carey's All I want for Christmas. It really got me going as it's my favourite Christmas song. Once I had stopped skipping round the kitchen like an idiot the shock hit me that it’s only a month away and I have not even thought about what I want for Christmas, let alone what I am getting anyone else!
Staying on the topic of music, you must all check this song out:
Is this Sweden’s answer to Eurovision? If so, I want the Cheeky Girls to write a song for me so I can take on the Swedes with a rival horsey dance song!
I hope I did not completely bore you with my first attempt, and I am sure as I ‘blog on’ I will keep you all up to date in the world of Jay. Meanwhile, feel free to check out my website or you can find me on Facebook or follow me on twitter @jayhalim82.
"Well, Horse & Country have asked me back to do a second blog so I guess that must mean that someone read my first one! Thank you if you did.
Rupert ran a blinder
In my first blog I wrote about how I was looking forward to riding Time For Rupert in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby. I'm pleased to say that Rupert ran an absolute blinder on his seasonal reappearance, just finding one too good on the day in Weird Al. Thankfully, he has came out of the race bouncing and will probably now head to the Betfair Chase at Haydock in two week's time.
I was getting a bit of stick from the other jockeys this week, because of the white racing goggles I wore the Saturday before last. I saw them and I liked them, they’re a new range and I like to be different. I’m always getting abuse for my hair, my shoes, the way I dress – and the goggles are just the latest thing on the list. I actually bought 13 pairs yesterday in every different colour, so it'll only get worse!
The worst offenders are Aidan Coleman, who keeps telling me the goggles are horrific, and Paddy Brennan, who has been giving me lots of abuse as well. But the white goggles have gone down well with some people... An owner I rode for the other day - who follows me on twitter - said he was looking forward to me wearing them and was disappointed that I wasn't!
A long but worthwhile trip
Maybe the goggles are lucky. I'm writing my second blog on my way home from a long trip to Carlisle but thankfully it was a very worthwhile one. I rode a lovely little horse for Paul Webber called Sarando, who finished up last season with a very good second in a Grade 2 chase at the Aintree Festival and has just picked up where he left off by winning a very nice graduation chase at Carlisle today (Monday). He will now head to the Hennessy at Newbury in three week's time - something I'm very much looking forward to.
A hectic week
Today's winner was my third in the past five days, so things are going well at the moment - and with the Open meeting at Cheltenham coming up this weekend, hopefully those winners might help me pick up a few nice rides. As for the rest of this week, well I'm very busy riding out every day, plus I have three rides at Huntingdon on Tuesday, then Exeter Wednesday, Thursday I'll be heading to Ludlow or Taunton, and Cheltenham on Friday. Picking up another winner or two along the way would be nice!
As I said in my first blog, I'm more than happy to answer any questions you have for me so please do comment below or you can tweet me @WTKJockey."
Mr President is somewhat pleased to be back in action
“I’m pleased to say that Mr P is back in work! For the past eight weeks he’s been ridden around the lanes, and I took him in the school for the first time today. It was all simple work, plenty of straight lines and circles, and we only did about 20mins work to start with. However, we’ve had mirrors put up since the last time he worked in the arena, so he spent a lot of time reversing. I did think – ‘How old are you?!'
He won’t do any Grand Prix work until Christmas, as there’s nothing really for us to work for until Myerscough Premier League in spring. He’s enjoying being back in work, and he found it so hard playing second fiddle to Mr Hyde. Every time the wash buckets came out he was convinced it was his turn to go out and compete.
The first time I got back on him after his lay off, I went off for a supposedly gentle hack down the lane, and ended up reversing at 190mph because he wouldn’t go past the pigs. He even reared and tried to buck me off!
A visit to Olympia
Mr P won’t be ready for Olympia, but I’ll be there as I’m one of the judges for the British Riding Clubs’ Quadrille final. When I judged the qualifier at Aintree, myself and the other two judges all had differing opinions on who should go through, so the final judging could be fun. I also thought I was being lenient but I ended up being the strictest judge of all of us!
Mr Hyde is no music lover
Mr Hyde is now six years old, and has qualified for winters at medium and advanced medium level. I’m currently trying to put some music together for his freestyle tests – I like the music from the film Transformers. The problem is that it’s a bit dramatic and Mr Hyde is a bit of a wimp, so when we had our first practise with music we had to switch the music off because he was terrified. He’s had music blasting in his stable every night to try to get him used to it.
We’re currently weaning our foal, who's traumatised and missing his mummy. He's by a Dutch harness stallion, like Mr P, and he’s got a white blaze and four white socks, and his knees are up round his ears. We were thinking we might keep him entire but he’s too full of it and we had to geld him.
I’m pleased to say Simon is sound again after breaking his leg. He’s been riding Mr P a lot as it’s helping manipulate and work his ankle – it’s quite nice to see the two old timers go off down the lanes together!
Annabel has started school, so Simon and I get up at 5.50am to exercise the horses before Annabel goes to school and Simon goes to work at 8.30am, leaving me free to look after 16-month-old Ben during the day. So it was nice to get away to Majorca for a half-term holiday so we could have a break.
We had a little pony for Annabel to learn to ride on, but unfortunately she got dumped four times in two days. A further 11 months down the line she’s had her first riding lesson again, so I’m going to take her and her friend for lessons and hopefully she'll enjoy them.
There’s been lots of talk recently about the rule change about what hats you can wear to compete in dressage, and riders below Prix St Georges will now have to wear a safety helmet with a harness. I think there’s now a fantastic niche market for beautiful diamante skull cap covers – I told my local saddler that dressage divas need a bit of sparkle on their hats and don’t want plain old black or navy!”
All of Ann's team have gone back to school including son Jack.
“The leaves have all changed from the emerald green hue of summer to the brilliant reds, oranges and yellows of fall and the frost is now literally on the pumpkin. The change in season has brought an end to summer fun and has sent almost everyone at North Point Farm back to school.
Educating the young
Jack began his fifth grade year at the local intermediate school in September and, although he enjoys summer immensely, as all young boys do, he was happy to get back to the grind of schoolwork and his friends.
The weanlings are all off their mothers and in their own herd and they too have gone back to school. They have had their first hoof trims and learned to stand quietly. They have continued their lessons in halter, learning to walk quietly beside and yield to their handlers. And of course, they are learning to interact within the group dynamic of a herd.
One of our weanlings, who we had offered for sale, got educated in a big way when she boarded the trailer headed for her new home at Anderson Farms, having been purchased by David Anderson this summer. Although, Anderson Farms is one of Canada's leading Thoroughbred and Standard bred breeding farms, David is also involved in Percherons and has had much success with them. We wish 'Sunday' much luck as she begins her career and continues her education with Anderson Farms.
Tim and I have also gone back to school this fall. Last spring we were asked to lecture at the local University here in Connecticut, one of the few to offer a Bachelors of Science in Equine Management in the United States. The plan was for us to be part of a team of lecturers in the Equine 320 class, “Introduction to Equine Reproduction”. The other lecturers in the class are two Connecticut veterinarians who specialise in equine reproduction.
The plan was for us to teach the areas of recognising oestrus and teasing of mares, artificial insemination, and embryo transfers, as well as stallion management and promotion. Because Tim handles all the mare management on the farm and is exceedingly great at getting mares in foal, he opted to handle the classes dealing with mares. And because by default, I have become the go to person for stallion management on the farm, later in the semester, I will step up to the lectern to discuss the boys.
Tim’s first class went very well, and while he is not a fan of public speaking he is a fan of breeding horses; often telling us that he would forgo showing in an instant to concentrate on breeding and reproduction. The class is three hours in length, an eternity for someone not fond of speaking in front of a group but mere minutes when you are teaching something you love to do. I sat in the back of the class and watched the students taking notes and paying rapt attention to Tim, thinking, these young people are the future. I was happy to hear the good questions that they asked and was pleased that they paid such close attention.
The week before Tim’s classes began; I started my back to school experience teaching another class at the same University where I had been invited to lecture as one of the students “preferred lectures”. This class was an “Introduction to Equine Business” and I was made to feel quite at home and truth be told, delighted, flattered and honored that the class, according to the Dean, has specifically asked for me. In this class I was asked to speak about our business here at the farm and share how I/we got to where we were. Again, the students asked great questions and were a pleasure to teach and share with.
In another few weeks, I will be again standing in front of a classroom for the stallion management part of the repro classes and Tim will take his turn sitting at the back of the class as an observer. I hope that he will be a proud of my presentation as I am of his.
Pampered show divas
The only ones not back at school these days are the broodmares, who have finished teaching their foals for now and, who are contentedly awaiting the birth this winter, of their next foals. Our show horses are also enjoying their time off, having had their shoes pulled and making up for lost time by grazing in the pastures, rolling in the mud and generally acting like farm horses as opposed to pampered show divas, but who can blame them?
Please have a look at our new and updated website at www.northpointfarm.com We are so happy with our new web designer, Marty Sherman at Sherman Communications and the fabulous and very professional job she has done. Of course Marty will tell you that she too went back to school this fall as, she learned a whole lot about equine reproduction and Percheron horses in designing the fantastic new site for us. She’ll also tell you she loved every minute!
Do let us know what you think. Here is hoping that you are all enjoying the fall weather wherever you may be."
"Recently I spent a few days in Peterborough competing at a well-known venue called Decoy Lakes in the Fens. The first day was practice as we, the London Central team, had never seen the fishery before. After gleaning some information from Kevin Wilmot from TCF magazine, I was confident that the Strip lakes would suit my style of fishing - and it did.
I was soon into carp and barbel of good size and it was clear that too much feed put the fish back, while under feeding attracted more bites. Day two we had a 12 man knock up with all of us in a line and the skipper placed us into what pegs he wanted. My 0.5g float and 6mm expander pellet was soon gobbled up as I started to amass a decent weight of carp from 2lbs up to around 7lbs+. As I tuned into the venue and went into the zone, I was unaware that behind me a gallery of anglers started to build up and while I was enjoying myself, I was also entertaining a small crowd that also contained competitors over the next two days.
The other teams had started to arrive and news soon got round that I was emptying the place - hence the sneaky little so and so’s from the West Midlands team, sneaking a little too near, to clock what baits I was using and the make-up of my rigs. Of course, once the penny dropped what was going on around me, I started to ease off - I did not want to reveal any more tips on how to fish the lake.
At the weigh in I scaled 135lbs 14oz with 96lbs being the nearest weight. The next day, with a draw of Oaks 28, it put me at the wrong end of the lake and with the wind blowing hard into my face, making pole presentation almost impossible in the last two hours of the match. I weighed in 46lbs to win my side of the lake and a section win, but I was cheesed off as I knew if I was on the other side of the lake it would have been a different scenario as only 99lbs won the 74 pegger.
A team effort
On the team event draw, I drew Oaks again but this time on the other bank and I was rubbing my hands in expectation of a big weight, as I had been drawn down the end of the lake, spot on. After a hearty breakfast I drove off to the venue and when I climbed out of my car I was gobsmacked to feel that the wind had changed direction and was blowing even harder right down the lake. I caught early and it looked good, but then the flow started running against the wind direction and I started to foul hook fish. My match went downhill with a weight of 42lbs putting me fifth out of 12 in my section. We finished second in the team event, behind the Yorkshire lads who put in a great performance and deserved the win. Next year we are off to a place called Solhampton Fishery near Worcester to try to put things right."
Alice and friends take a break from dressage for a day's hunting
"With our main season over for the year, and the horses busy enjoying their two week holiday, I was able to have a few days away from the yard. I spent four days with my best friend, Amy, round her parent’s pub. This was novel for me as it is a long time since I had had any time off, and it meant that we could act like ‘normal’ best friends for a change, rather than spending all of our time together at the yard.
Let's get quizzical
"My time off started when a load of us went over to the pub for a charity quiz in aid of Help for Heroes. I had rather shot myself in the foot as it was limited to teams of five but I had seven, meaning that we had to split into a three and a four. Nevertheless, we had a fantastic time (apart from knocking a glass of wine over one of our answer sheets), we didn’t finish last (much to everyone’s amazement) and money was raised for a very worthwhile cause.
The following day, Amy and I went shopping and to have our hair done, something which I normally do in a massive rush when I have a couple of hours spare. It was lovely to not have to panic about getting it all done, although I think I drove Amy mad as she wasn’t expecting me to be quite so picky about my clothes purchases. Comments such as 'too long' or 'too short' were followed by 'too flowery' or 'too Egyptian'! We did eventually find something for me that we both liked, and our very girly day was followed by a lovely evening at the pub with a live band for entertainment.
Back to the grind
I had Monday off to relax and unwind, before going back to normal on the Tuesday. It was definitely back to the grind as we had Roxy (Headmore Roxanne) going to Oldencraig on 8th to try to get her novice restricted freestyle to music qualification with Gayle. It was an early start but Roxy warmed up well and we were pleased with her test and how much she has come on, despite Gayle taking the freestyle part a bit too seriously and ‘changing’ the test (going wrong) in the canter work. It was still good enough to score over 70% and win, completing her qualification for the winters.
They also did a novice test while we were there, and all of us were over the moon as it was the best test that Roxy had done and I was sure that it was easily a plus 70% test, so we were disappointed with the score of just under 67%. Still it was good enough for first place and few more points towards her novice qualification, so it was a worthwhile trip to Oldencraig.
Roxy gains in confidence
After some success at Wellington the following Monday - where Yogi completed his first Prelim and Roxy gained a second in the spooky international arena - it was on to Fair Oak Grange for Novice qualifiers. Roxy is now really starting to gain confidence and enjoy her parties, and she was very keen when Gayle was warming her up for her first test. However, she settled well and produced a good first test, there were just a few little mistakes, but she still scored over 66% and finished 3rd. The second test was much more settled and Roxy is really starting to look very smart. She scored just under 70% and won the second test, which meant that she just needed one more point to complete her novice regional qualification as well.
Short stirrups on the hunt
We then all had a bit of a change of scene as three of us went off for a day of cubbing with the Hursley Hambledon Hunt. I took John, a coloured cob from the yard, Gayle took Yogi, and Becky, one of the girls from the yard, took Ria, a five-year-old mare by Keystone Rhondeo. Both Yogi and Ria are for sale so we took them for some exposure and a bit of a change, and I just took John for a laugh and a bit of fun!
We had a lovely morning, apart from the cold, there was a reasonable amount of galloping and a bit of jumping, and we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, though I could be heard complaining about how I wasn’t used to short stirrups, which got quite uncomfortable after a while, but I think cubbing in a dressage saddle would be even more uncomfortable!
Qualifications - hurrah
We had entered Crofton Manor with the intention of getting Roxy, Yogi and Bracks (Headmore Boadicia) all qualified at their respective levels, and it didn’t disappoint! Roxy just needed one more point at novice and Yogi needed one more win at prelim. Yogi was on first in the prelim and he did the best test he had ever done - not that he’s done many yet! He scored a massive 72.27% which was good enough to win and complete his prelim regional qualification, so that was one down. He then did the novice for experience and there were a few green errors. When he has done a few more tests he will be well away. Roxy just needed one point so she just needed a score of 65% to qualify, and she scored just over 66% to win, so that was also Roxy all qualified for the winters at prelim, novice and novice music.
I awoke the next day to pouring rain and a blowing gale, which is not the best conditions to do dressage in, but Bracks only needed eight more points to complete her medium qualification so off we set. She hadn’t been out since the nationals so I thought that we would both be a bit ring rusty, but she warmed up fairly well for the first test, and it was sunny outside so we were hoping to stay dry. As we went out, however, it started to rain, typically, but the test wasn’t too bad. We had a few mistakes, but she felt much stronger and much more established, and we scored over 72% to win.
I was fairly relaxed for the second test as she had settled by then and was really operating as we went into the arena. This test felt much more secure as we scored over 73%, easily completing her medium qualification for the regionals, so she is now qualified at medium and advanced medium and the freestyle at both levels.
We will now concentrate on training over the winter until we start competing again in the new year so, all in all, we had a very productive month."