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Ella's November Blog - No Rest For The Wicked

With the end of the eventing season, most people would be off for a well-earned break... but not for us! We’ve decided to crack on with the winter training straight away whilst the weather is still reasonable before having a quieter time when the inevitable happens and everything freezes over. To make the most of this we’ve registered with British Showjumping this winter to crack the showjumping which is exciting!

Over the summer I have been slowly bringing Sky, my old event horse back into work. I starting riding him at twelve years old and I owe him everything for showing me the ropes eventing and teaching me most of what I know. Unfortunately in June 2018, he suffered a suspensory injury which meant the end of his eventing career, however, I’m thrilled he’s made a suitable recovery to pursue a new career as a showjumper!

I was very excited to take him to Felbridge NSEA with Happy for his first competition in over 18 months! At 17 years young, he was thrilled to be back out and was back to his old winning ways, taking 1st in both the 1m Eventers Challenge and the 1m County Challenge Showjumping qualifier. This qualified us for the County Championships representing Surrey and the Eventers CVhallenge championships at Hickstead in the spring which was amazing. Happy wasn’t to be outdone, jumping double clear in both the 1m arena eventing and the 1.10m country show jumping qualifier to finish 5th and 4th respectively in some very speedy classes- not a bad way to start the winter!

The next weekend we took Happy back to Felbridge for our first attempt at BS. Due to issues with points he had to jump in the 1m open but pulled out a lovely double clear to finish just outside the placings. The Newcomers was massive and Happy jumped a beautiful round until the penultimate when there was a rather large sack the jockey moment… A miss into the double on my behalf meant he was unable to jump out and I went flying over his head which was very frustrating as he was jumping so well.

After a lovely night at the SEEL ball celebrating the end of the eventing season, we headed up to Vale View for lessons with Caroline Moore. I always look forward to our trips up there, it was well worth the 4 hour journey and a brilliant way to kick start our winter training. April was back from her 3 week holiday and she and Happy were on brilliant form, having both flat and jumping lessons. We all learned lots with plenty of homework to put into practice over the coming months. Big thank you to my amazing mum for taking me up there and camping in -1°C overnight on her birthday!

Another busy weekend then started with another attempt at BS with both April and Happy. Jumping in the discovery this time, I was thrilled with Happy’s round to take the win by 2 seconds- not bad for an eventer! We then had a much more successful attempt at the newcomers with a couple of poles where he was a little tired after a busy week but I was very pleased with how he jumped and that we were able to put into practice what we’d learned with Caroline. April just jumped the 1m open as she was jumping the following day and was thrilled to be competing for the first time since Addington. An unlucky pole cost her a placing but she felt great!

We then took April and Sky to Coombelands for a go at some arena eventing. It’s always good fun and a good way to banish some eventing blues with both horses having an amazing time. Sky jumped two double clears in the 95cm and 1m finishing 7th and 4th respectively, just going a little too speedy as he was having so much fun! April also jumped a lovely round in the 1m to finish 6th.

We finished the month with another BS outing with April and Happy. Happy got a little worried by the tight indoor warmup, unfortunately, meaning he struggled to concentrate in the ring for a couple of poles in each round. April was the star of the day, jumping brilliantly. An unlucky pole in the 1m was followed by a super speedy double clear in the 1.05 amateurs and I was thrilled with second place.

As well as showjumping, we’ve been busy with the dressage at home. I’ve really benefitted from a couple of lessons with a different trainer than normal. It's hugely benefited to have a fresh viewpoint on what we’ve been working on and I’m very pleased with the progress we’ve made this month. Happy had a tendency to get a little worried out competing so we’ve taken everything back to basics, making it as clear as possible for him without the pressure of upcoming competitions. He’s going brilliantly and I’m looking forward to seeing if we can put it into practice at some dressage competitions next month.

Until next time,

Ella x

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