In the last seven weeks I have only been out to one event. Luckily it was a good one – Little Downham. The past few weeks have shown the control that the weather can have over this sport, leaving us helpless to do anything but wait for it to improve. Nevertheless, the organisers of Little Downham managed to put on an excellent competition with surprisingly great ground. An amazing feat, especially considering the torrential downpours we have endured lately.
Although the horses were a little over-enthusiastic about their first outing for a while, both horses performed excellent tests and were close enough to the lead. The showjumping was right next to the cross-country course, which made it hard to maintain the horses’ focus as the other competitors were literally galloping alongside me. Consequently, Harry was so strong that I had two fences down, which is most unlike him. Maisie’s incredible ability didn’t falter and she jumped clear, however she was a little too keen and distracted at times.
The cross-country course was great – not too big but had enough questions to get the horses thinking. Harry’s performance was very good, still a little keen on occasions, but I think this can be rectified with some different bitting solutions. However, overall I was very pleased with him. Maisie was fabulous, easy to ride and very confident. She finished third - 0.2secs behind the winner, sadly!
I returned on the Sunday with Rubin and Columbo. They were fairly fresh as the wind was even colder. They did brilliant tests and were both in the lead afterwards. Both horses went on to jump a clear showjumping round, which was even more commendable when you consider the galloping horses next to the ring. Columbo put in an enormous leap into the water (I somehow managed to stay seated) and ended up with 20 penalties coming out, as I lost my steering. Disappointingly, Rubin had a green run out, without this he would have won by miles. I feel he needs a few more runs and experience under his belt yet.
We took Maisie to Houghton, just for the dressage in the end, and she scored a disappointing mark. She performed some excellent trot work but lost marks on halts that weren’t quite square, and for the first time ever, she jogged in the walk. As Bramham is looming ever closer, I decided to not risk her for a minor placing so we will now go to Bramham a little fresher, which isn’t always a bad thing. I am working on the test in a different way for Bramham – so watch this space for my result. The jumping is always excellent and soon the dressage will be too…