Alice Oppenheimer with her Grand Prix horse Wiz - who started 2012 in very high spirits!
"I had a very good feeling about 2012 at the start of the year, but the first couple of weeks of the New Year proved me very wrong. Unfortunately, we lost our older dog, Scrappy, very unexpectedly. He slipped a disc and deteriorated very quickly so in the space of two days he went from running around the yard to us having to make the awful decision. Gayle spent the last two hours of his life feeding him chocolates that were left from Christmas, he loved the coconut crèmes but wasn’t so keen on the orange ones, and spat them out.
Heading for a fall
I also had a bit of a nasty fall from Wiz - you may have heard as Mum plastered it all over facebook and it then made Horse & Hound. At 12, and as a Grand Prix horse, Wiz should probably know better, but at least he is feeling well. I was told I was lucky not to crack my hip, but after a few easy days I was back riding so no harm done. I did blame Gayle though as she had said now that she was back up and running it would be my turn next. However things did perk up, Gayle was allowed to start riding again and has been on a mission, surprise surprise! She has also started jumping again and her rising seven-year-old showjumper, Dolly, who I have been schooling for her on the flat while she has been off, was unreal - so at least I did a good job on her.
Back out to parties
We have also been starting to compete again as it isn’t long until the winter regionals, and both Roxy (Headmore Roxanne) and Bracken (Headmore Boadicia) have been going to some parties in preparation. We weren’t sure Gayle would be fit enough to compete, but she and Roxy have been well away, winning a novice with 70.38% and an elementary with 65.88% at Merrist Wood, before then winning two novices at Crofton with 68% and 69%. Not bad as Gayle had only been back riding for two weeks, Roxy hadn’t been to a show for three months and there was room for improvement in all tests. Bracks also made the trip to Merrist Wood having also had a break from competition for three months. I was very pleased with how relaxed and rideable she remained as she normally gets a bit over the top when she hasn’t been to a show for a while, and she felt much more established and more confident in her work, and much stronger in her body. She won the medium with 67.35% and advanced medium with 69.19%, despite there being a few ring rusty errors and miscommunications between us where we hadn’t been out for a while, so we are all well on the way in our preparations for the regionals.
Crash hats compulsory
The new rules came into force on 1 December 2011, meaning that crash hats are now compulsory from prelim to advanced medium level dressage and in young horse classes. I am very pleased with my new Antares hat as it is so light it doesn’t even feel like I have one on, but it was slightly odd seeing everyone in crash hats in the warm up. It won’t be long before everyone is used to the change and it will be the norm, especially as there are now so many smart crash hats available that we can still look classy and stylish whilsee wearing one."
"We may have had another month off competing in December but it was still a very eventful month, as December usually is.
Window shopping goes awry
I got an early Christmas present when we went to the Brightwells Stars of the Future Sale. We had a table booked as we originally had Headmore Wimoweh entered, but after we were offered a sum we couldn’t refuse, we thought we would still go for the night out. Mum and I went up in the afternoon to watch some of the trial rides, and there were a few that caught our eye (even though we weren’t looking to buy). We did check through the list of x-rays so we knew which horses to avoid, but we weren’t overly thorough as we were just going for the jolly. However, after a few glasses of wine, one of the horses that both Mum and I had liked came in the ring, and the bidding was very slow on her so I asked Mum if I could have a bid. We still didn't think we'd get her for the price, but no one else bid again, so we now owned Elvedina (Evie), a rising five-year-old 17hh bay mare by Ehrentusch. She is lovely and will be out competing in Five Year Old classes in 2012.
Pathyway to piaffe
Del (Headmore Delegate) had an outing for the first time since the Nationals as we had an equine pathway session with Ferdi Eilberg at the Unicorn Trust. It was the first time that we had really practised the Grand Prix movements away from home, and everyone was really pleased with his progress. His piaffe and passage was super and his one-time changes are coming. The team vet, farrier and physio were also pleased with him, so it was a good day all round!
A dream Olympia
December always includes a reasonable amount of partying and celebrating, starting with my 22nd birthday, which consisted of a day out with Gayle, Amy and my sister, Kate followed by a lovely evening meal with all of my family and loads of friends. We also had a trip to Olympia. Amy and I went up for the dressage day to watch Charlotte Dujardin, and we weren’t disappointed. We were treated to a British top four, and the three members of the gold medal winning team were simply outstanding. It’s not outrageous to think that at least two of the individual medallists at the Olympics could be British!
We were also lucky enough to see a British winner in the show jumping world cup qualifier in Ben Maher. It was, as ever, a very exciting class and all of us had a fantastic time in the box. We also got to see the pony that we bred, Murkas Headmore Little Lightning, ridden by Harry Charles finish a close and very respectable third in the 128cm class in the evening, which made us all very proud!
A very Merry Christmas time
That just left Christmas... The Christmas period is always a bit manic with horses, but this year we had an absolutely amazing Christmas day and I managed to see all of my closest friends, which meant a lot of eating and drinking! I will be quite pleased when everything is back to normal. We also said goodbye to 2011, a mixed year for me with some good results, starting at Grand Prix, and some that I was disappointed with. Roll on 2012 however, a year that I saw in with style with an eight course meal and lots of champagne with a group of amazing people. What a night!
Happy New Year to everyone, and let’s hope that 2012 is a good one!"
"Well, what can I say! This month has been crazy busy, so much has gone on here at Headmore - despite us having no competitions, since all of the horses are already qualified for the winter regionals.
Weekend from hell
The month didn’t get off to a very good start with the weekend from hell! On the Saturday I was riding and somehow, I’m not quite sure how, I injured my neck eben though the horse I was riding was being an absolute saint at the time. I was told not to ride for a while until it was all settled, but it wasn’t too problematic since Gayle was able to keep the horses ticking over until I could ride again... Until she had areally nasty accident of her own on the Sunday evening, when the level-headed horse she was riding was spooked by a firework and panicked, leaving Gayle with a fractured pelvis. It never rains but it pours, as they say. Thankfully I managed to get back riding after a few days, and all the horses are going fantastically.
We have also said goodbye this month to two lovely three-year-olds bred here at Headmore. The first to go was Whybanquo, a Headmore grandchild bred by Mum’s best friend Anne Clark, who is out of Headmore Leanora and by the stallion Woiwode. He was bought by Charlotte Dujardin to replace Fernandez, her international Grand Prix horse, so they are a very exciting combination to watch out for. We also said an emotional farewell to another Woiwode gelding, this time out of our Rubinstein/Donnerhall mare. Wimoweh (Tank) has gone to a wonderful home up North where he will be much loved, nothing less than this young horse deserves. We wish Tank and his new owner, Joanne Graham Whelan, the best of luck.
Hats off to new rule
Now November is over, the new British Dressage rules have come into force. This means that we now have to wear crash hats up to Advanced level and in Young Horse classes, as opposed to having the choice of wearing a beagler (a strapless hat). I was expecting this rule to be introduced sooner or later. I am pleased to say I put off buying a new beagler! I am indifferent about this rule as I always ride in a crash hat at home anyway and used to compete the young or sharp horses in a crash hat by choice, and there are now some really smart crash hats available. I have just received my new Antares hat to compete in, so I will belooking as well dressed as ever in the ring next year. I have also received all of my new Albion bridles and headcollars to go with Del’s new saddle. They are very smart, and have a little touch of bling while still remaining classy.
Wheelchair driving error
On a lighter note - Gayle’s injury means she struggles to get around, so she opts to use a wheelchair if there is a lot of walking involved. I am clearly an amateur wheelchair driver though, as when we were out shopping I managed to ground the wheelchair while coming out of a shop and get rather stuck. Gayle and I had thought we’d be fine without a ramp... Oops! It’s times like that when you have to laugh or you would cry, and at least we have been keeping ourselves amused!"
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."
"With the nationals all over and done with and our main season now over, the three horses who went to the nationals; Wiz (Wurlizer), Del (Headmore Delegate) and Bracks (Headmore Boadicia), are all enjoying a well earned holiday. Luckily, I wasn’t left without horses to ride and jobs to do - it just meant I could have a bit of a foray into other disciplines...
Armed with a paintbrush
For example, we are in the process of putting together a new set of show jumps which will go in a field so all the show jumpers and eventers here can practice jumping on grass. This meant we have been busy painting various items whenever we have had a spare few minutes. Gina (the eventer) and I left our whole Saturday afternoon free to paint and clear out the shed where the jumps will live all winter, and had a very productive afternoon. We got as much painting done as we could with the paint we had, and I've done so much painting that I might have to borrow a horse to jump round the new fences myself. I don’t think it’s what most dressage riders get up to when their horses are having a holiday.
The following day, instead of spending another day painting, I went to watch polo. It was the last day of the season and Nick Pepper - who my friend Kerri grooms for - was playing, and as I didn’t have many horses to ride, I went along to watch. Nick’s team, BHC polo, were playing in the Autumn Cup sub final at Coworth Park and I made myself useful by plaiting their horses' tails, oiling their hooves and putting their boots on. My stint as groom ended when it came to putting on the incredibly complicated tack, so I left that part to the professional and watched the game instead. I did have the highly important job of spare stick holder, in case Nick broke his during the game.
It was a good game and Nick’s team won 7-5, with Nick scoring a lot of the goals, so we had an easy trip home in the lorry and it was a good end to the polo season. I now have to find some different jobs to do this week while ‘my three’ enjoy their holiday."
"We had the climax of our season last week - the Dressage Deluxe National Championships at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire. I had qualified three horses: Wiz (Wurlizer) at Grand Prix, Del (Headmore Delegate) at Prix St Georges and Inter I, and Bracks (Headmore Boadicia) at medium open.
The entourage arrives
We arrived on Wednesday, leaving plenty of time to settle the horses in before I had to ride Del, who was competing on the Thursday. Mum was redundant as we had two grooms with us, Amy (my best friend) and Tor, so we were very organised. Del went very well on the Wednesday so I was feeling confident, and we had a rather leisurely build-up as I wasn’t in the arena until 4.15pm on the Thursday.
I had ridden all three horses in the morning, and I was pleased with how they had all gone. However, unfortunately I didn’t get Del's warm up quite right for the PSG and he was a little bit tight as we went in the ring. There were no major mistakes in the test but it didn’t flow as well as it could have. We still scored a respectable 65.7% to finish 12th in a big class, and the foreign judge awarded us more than 68% and had us in fourth place, so it wasn’t dreadful, just a bit disappointing.
Friday morning was also somewhat leisurely, with a 5.30pm start time. I rode all three horses again in the morning, then I decided to compete Del in a snaffle bridle for the Inter I. We were so pleased with his Inter I test; it was much better than the PSG. There were a few green mistakes, but he was the youngest horse in the class and we scored 67.7% to finish seventh - just 1% behind the horse in second.
All systems go
Having had an easy first couple of days, Saturday was a bit of a shock to the system with Bracks in at 8.48am and Wiz at 10.43am. Del was also in the Inter I freestyle in the afternoon, so it was all systems go. Bracks was electric to ride, so she was tense and over-excitable, which led to a rather interesting test. It was definitely not our best, but she is still young and now needs to go out and do a few more big parties so she gets used to the atmosphere.
It was then a quick turnaround to get Wiz ready for his test. Wiz was not at his most co-operative at such an early hour, but with my trainer Erik Theilgaard's help, I managed to get him ready for our test. In the end he was super, he almost tried too hard which resulted in a few mistakes, but overall I was really pleased with it.
This just left Del in the Inter I freestyle. He warmed up fairly well but with a busy atmosphere, a sellout crowd and lots going on, he felt a little bit tense. Overall, I was pleased as he did settle down in the test and the canter work was some of the best I'd had all week. We finished on 67.5%, though again the foreign judge had us at over 70% and fourth. Consistently over the course of the week the foreign judges awarded me higher marks, so I can’t wait to get abroad next year.
Although it wasn’t the best nationals I've had in terms of results, we had brilliant fun and the horses and I learned so much. Next year will hopefully be more fruitful! All three horses are now having a well-earned holiday before we start the winter's training."
Gayle is becoming more of a dressage rider by the day.
"The nationals are finally here, so last week we gave Bracks (Headmore Boadicia) her final outing in preperation - the Wellington Riding advanced medium freestyle to music final.
A truly amazing horse
We didn't have the best of run-ups to the final, as she had messed around in the field the week before and given herself a sore back - not ideal this close to a couple of big competitions. Luckily, Natalie from Jenny Hadland and Company had been out a couple of times to sort her out so Bracks was able to go and compete.
We weren’t on until late, so no panicking to get ready, and she warmed-up well despite Wellington’s International arena being very spooky. It was pitch black outside and the test was under floodlights, but she didn’t even look at a thing throughout her whole test. The test wasn’t perfect, there were a few little mistakes here and there and the changes were a little bit green in the atmosphere, but I was nevertheless over the moon with how she had just gone into the arena and got on with her job. We scored 74.33%, which was good enough to finish second, not bad for all the drama we had had beforehand. That mare really is amazing.
We then had the prizegiving, where she amazed everyone further. She stood there looking, literally, like a donkey while all of the presentations were done, and then when she trotted off she transformed doing her most amazing extended trot. She is such a superstar.
Then, on Friday, we went back to trying to get all of the horses qualified for the winters, so we took Roxy (Headmore Roxanne) and Yogi (Ca-Traum), Gayle’s nine-year-old international show jumper - who we are trying to turn into a dressage horse - to Crofton Manor for a prelim and a novice. Gayle was on first in the prelim on Roxy in which she still managed to score 68.64% despite all the spooking.
I then did the novice H/C on Roxy to have a ride on her in the arena and see what she was like. The trot work was a little unsettled in places but the canter work felt lovely, and I think it did Roxy good to have a bit of a schooling round the arena.
It was then back to Gayle to do the prelim on Yogi. It was Yogi’s first ever dressage test and Gayle was very nervous. However, they didn’t do a bad job, it was a little bit wobbly and a bit spooky but she got round, so we weren’t too disappointed. They also scored 68.64%, meaning that Gayle finished equal first on both horses and that Roxy is now qualified for the regionals at prelim. We couldn’t have asked for a better result, and Gayle is really competitive and gets grumpy if she doesn’t win, so I was happy as well.
I then got on Yogi for the novice H/C as it was his first competition and we wanted him to have a quiet ride round. He was much more settled than in the prelim and did an absolutely smashing test, especially as it was his first ever dressage show. His mediums were good and his counter canter was balanced - which is obviously a difficult movement for a show jumper - and we were all pleased. If I hadn’t been H/C he’d have won the class, so it was a good day for all."
"Having promised to take Roxy (Headmore Roxanne) out to more shows in quick succession to help her gain confidence and experience at parties, we had entered her for a novice freestyle to music at Sparsholt on 3rd September. Not only was it Roxy’s first freestyle test, but it was also Gayle’s first freestyle as well. By the time we had got organised with the music, we only had four days to perfect the floorplan and teach Gayle how to ride to music, so there was a lot of last-minute practicing going on!
When we got there, Roxy warmed up very well and was looking the best I had ever seen her go at a show. This didn’t, however, stop me being incredibly nervous as Gayle went in, not because I didn’t think the test would go well, but just because I wasn’t 100% sure that it would! In the end it wasn’t totally perfect but Gayle did an impressive job of riding to the music and making it look like she was always where she was supposed to be, which doesn’t always happen when it comes to freestyle tests.
It was good enough to score 69.75% and finish a very close third, so we were very pleased - although they just missed out on qualifying for the regionals. Still, a fabulous effort for their first music test.
Moments of brilliance
I then took Wiz (Wurlizer) back to Sparsholt in the afternoon to ride him through the Grand Prix in the pick-your-own class, as preparation for the Nationals. The aim was to have a bit of a school round the tests to prepare us as well as we could for the nationals, so we weren’t aiming for a massive score. He warmed up fairly well, just lacked a bit of confidence in places as he hadn’t been out to a party for a while. Overall, I was very pleased with the test; there were no major errors, just a few places where it is still a little bit green and inexperienced.
When we went in to do our test, there was some moments of absolute brilliance. The passage in places felt mega, the trot extensions were very expressive and his changes were so enormous I nearly ran out of space on the diagonal. I was therefore, understandably, a bit disappointedwith my mark of 62.77%, but I wasn’t expecting a big score and it was a perfect last outing before the nationals. We now know the main things we need to iron out before next week, so fingers crossed it goes according to plan."
Alice's present to Charlotte a picture of her at the Europeans.
“Although I haven’t competed since Sparsholt with Bracken (Headmore Boadicia) a couple of weeks ago, I have still been kept fairly busy doing various other things.
A win for Roxy, a zapping for Gayle
Roxy (Headmore Roxanne) has been out a couple more times with Gayle. After her rather over the top first outing at Sparsholt the week before, we thought it would be best if we took her out again as soon as possible. So, we took her to Fair Oak Grange on Friday 26 August, for another prelim qualifier. Roxy was much more confident than at Sparsholt as she was starting to get the hang of going to parties a bit more. She looked super in the warm up and the test was much better, the transitions were super and it was very rhythmical. She scored just shy of 69%, which was good enough to win and half qualify her for the winters. Gayle then decided that she wanted to pick some blackberries before we left, but unfortunately for her the electric fence was on, so she got a couple of zaps!
We then took her to Crofton on the Tuesday for a prelim and her first novice. Crofton is a good venue for young horses to gain experience at as it is very spooky and most horses are a bit ‘looky’ first time they go. Roxy was no exception! She warmed up well but was spooky in both tests, which was a shame as the good bits were really good. This unfortunately kept her score down but it was good experience for her nonetheless.
A celebration for Charlotte
In between Roxy’s two outings, we had a very busy three days, Charlotte Dujardin came down to hold a clinic on the Saturday and Sunday, fresh from her and team GB’s success at the European Championships. As you can imagine her clinic was jam packed, also Amy (my best friend) and I had organised a surprise party for her on the Saturday night - everyone had clubbed together to buy her a present. I had been panicking all week about whether or not we would be able to keep it a secret and whether or not Char would like the party and her present. Thankfully, it went better than Amy and I could imagine, Char had no idea, she loved her present and everyone had a fantastic time, job well done I think.
Wiz and I give back to the PC
Following this busy weekend, on Monday, it was my local pony club’s 80th anniversary celebration and I had been asked to do a dressage demo. I took Wiz (Wurlizer) as I thought I would be able to show everyone all the movements a Grand Prix dressage horse would have to do. I was very nervous as I had to talk and ride at the same time, two things that I can do in abundance when I do them separately, but two things I had never really had to do seriously together. However, the demo went well, everyone enjoyed it and all the kids came up to stroke Wiz, which he absolutely loved. I also really enjoyed it and it was nice to be able to give back to the pony club as Wiz and I started together in the pony club all those years ago!”
“We have been trying to organise ourselves to get qualified for the winter regionals fairly early on in the qualifying season so we can spend the majority of the winter training, so we had a trip to Sparsholt on Sunday 21 August in the hope of being very efficient in our aim!
Show jumper turned dressage supremo
First thing in the morning, I took Roxy (Headmore Roxanne) to do a couple of prelims with Gayle, who is actually a show jumper by trade. As I can’t ride at the lower levels, we have managed to persuade Gayle to don a stock and drop her stirrups a few holes and take out the younger horses. Unfortunately, this meant a much earlier start for me as the prelims are always early, and I could be heard commenting that I hadn’t had to get up that early to compete for years.
It was only Roxy’s second outing so we weren’t expecting much, but she warmed up beautifully. I just had to remind Gayle that she was riding a dressage horse a couple of times. In the first test Roxy was very spooky as she hasn’t seen many different arenas, and this led to a lot of mistakes and very funny shaped circles, but Gayle did a fantastic job of riding even though Roxy thought that the markers and judges’ box were going to eat her. However, they still managed to finish fifth so it wasn’t too dreadful. In the second test, Roxy was much more settled and there were just a few minor spooks, and they finished second by one mark, a dramatic improvement on the first test. All Roxy needs now is a few more miles on the clock and the wins will start coming.
Push button pony and jockey errors
We then took Bracks (Headmore Boadicia) back to Sparsholt in the afternoon to do a medium and an advanced medium. She warmed up quite well for the test and I was fairly confident going into the medium. She was simply awesome, she was so rideable and just exactly where I wanted her that I could just sit and steer, she made it easy for me. There were still a few places where there could have been improvements but I was using the test as a schooling round before the nationals and overall I was very pleased. We scored 68.38% to finish a close second.
We then did the advanced medium and she was simply phenomenal. She gave me the nicest ride I have ever had around advanced medium 98 and when we came out of the ring I gave her a massive hug and kiss and told everyone how amazing she is and how much I love her. Bracks is what I would call a good mare, she would jump over the moon for me if I asked her to and she always gives her all when I am working her, she is just so delightful. There was one fairly massive mistake in the test, but it was completely jockey error. We still scored 70.79% to finish second by one mark, but if I hadn’t been a moron at the end of the test we would have won. Overall, it was a very worthwhile day at Sparsholt and Bracks is now qualified for the advanced medium winter regional, we are definitely getting there!
Go team GBR
Finally, what another amazing achievement for dressage in Britain: team gold, two individual silvers and an individual bronze. It really has been an amazing year for British Dressage, and long may it continue. Huge congrats to everyone involved with Team GB.”