We catch up with Cara Shardlow to find out how she has rounded off 2014 with her team of horses…

“In my last blog I was about to take my 4 year old, Sandonista, to his first competition and as he has been a bit sensitive I did not know how he would cope.

He had been for a couple of rides in the lorry to an arena in the next village and behaved very well, but that was on his own. Anyway I need not have worried as he behaved very well, probably better than my older horses and won both classes and two trophies!

He went to his first affiliated competition a week ago again behaved very well but struggled in the canter as he is so big the 20 x 40 arenas are a struggle to keep his balance in at the moment, I’m really looking forward to the future with him once he is stronger.”

“I’ve also had my homebred coloured out for his first affiliated outings, he is 5 but has been out of action for a lot of this year due to getting some small injuries one after another. I dropped him in at the deep end really as he last competed in May and had only done two competitions at that point but I thought we would have ago at novice level. I could not have been more shocked when he won with over 70% and got a 2nd as well. This was the beginning of November and the cut off date for the winter regionals is the end of November, but seeing as he had done so well I thought I would try and get the points I needed and take him out again. He was brilliant beating some lovely warmbloods and winning again, this just left 1 point outstanding for the regional qualification and only 1 week to get it.”

“So we headed to Port Royal a week later, he needed to get over 67% to get what we needed, he was naughty for the first time in the warm up and rather full of himself, but calmed down for our test. It was going very well until the very end of the test when a horse walked passed the arena entrance distracting him and before I knew it he had jumped out over the white boards, I could not believe it, this then dropped me to a 1 for that movement. He got just under 66% in the end so missing out on the regional, I was not very amused with him at the time, but really when I look back he has done so well to even get close to regional qualification after the year he has had and we will be out trying to get our summer qualifications soon.”

“At the beginning of November I achieved one of my dreams competing at my first Prix St George and on a homebred and trained horse, Rhythmic Times, we even did quite a respectable test getting the tempi changes right, we need to work on canter pirouettes but it was such a thrill to be doing it. This was only unaffiliated but will be doing our first affiliated in the New Year. Detonator also did his first PSG the same day and was fantastic, he is only 8 so there is lots to work on but we got 66%, again he will go affiliated in the new year as he has got his summer regional qualification at advanced medium already.”

“They will all have a break from competing now until early January, then it’s all focus on the winter regionals at the beginning of February with Rhythmic Times and Detonator, they have qualified for 5 classes between them including freestyle tests. I’m now praying for the weather to behave and not snow as our nearest indoor school is an hour away, so it can be a bit tricky getting enough training done with them.”

“The Mini Horslyx are proving invaluable again, lots of my liveries as well as myself are using them for helping with shooing and clipping. My farrier thinks they are brilliant and is even carrying some around with him and encouraging owners to use them as they can work so well at entertaining the trickier horses whilst being shod.”

“Now the flies have gone the youngsters out in the field are not being bugged as much so they have switched from the Garlic Horslyx to the Original Horslyx, it’s so nice to know they are getting the vitamins and minerals they need now they are not getting as much grass and are being fed hay, I have to say they look great at the moment.”

“I hope everyone has a lovely Christmas and new year I’m really looking forward to it and having a little break. I’m going for a trip to Olympia next week to get inspired watching some of the worlds top riders including Charlotte and Valegro, I can’t wait!”

bonnie 12

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