Nicki Strong blogs about a slightly up and down start to the season…

“My season got off to a bit of a false start on the competing front with cancelled events and minor injuries, but the last few weeks things have stepped up a gear, starting with a BD TeamQuest outing with team ‘Denplan Divas’ at Fair Oak Grange on Saturday 29 March. Blue, my accident prone ex-racehorse had actually had a run in with some fencing which left him a swollen leg the previous week, so had only been sat on once in the week before the event. He pulled off a 61% – a fair test though pretty tense throughout, but I was very happy with him under the circumstances.”

“The following day we went to a local equestrian centre which was running clear round SJ and XC – an ideal opportunity for some low key jumping practice over courses. Blue was a star and after a warm up popped round a 90cm course of SJ’s with just one down. The XC he just stormed round with no hesitations – a little too keen I think as I was more out of breath when we finished than he was!”

“Over the weekend just gone we were very excited to go to our first ODE of the season, and having done a few 80’s before, this would be his first 90 event. A slight detour on the way after missing a turn off, we eventually arrived at Tweseldown a mere 10 minutes before my test! After the quickest change and number grab from the secretary, we trotted down to the arena and went in with no warm up – not ideal. I was a bit flustered by this point and did some freestyle, performing a few of the movements in the wrong place, and Blue was quite tense too having been thrown in at the deep end. We ended up with a disappointing 46 – my fault entirely, but at least we made it by the skin of our teeth!”

“He turned into tigger and was very excited for the showjumping, very bouncy and deciding that he would give everything plenty of room. After his fence injury he hadn’t been jumping as cleanly as usual – wasn’t using his back properly or tracking up so I’d had him treated by our Mctimoney practitioner the Monday beforehand, and made his Mobility Horslyx available to him in the field, which combined seemed to make all the difference. He was really ballooning the jumps, and had a very unlucky pole, such a shame as he just clipped it on the way up but gave each fence plenty of room.”

“Onto the cross country, he warmed up really well and set off on course – ears pricked the whole way, seemingly not phased by the step up. I took him very steady through the first half of the course to make sure he didn’t make a mistake and lose confidence, but then kicked on the second half for a steady clear round. A great first run at that level to build upon and no worries about his capabilities. Yesterday, to top it all off, we went to another TeamQuest fixture with Denplan Divas, this time at Wellington Riding. This was a big ask considering his exertions the day before, but he came out fresh and feeling good, going on to produce a sweet Prelim 4 test worth 63.63% which was a good addition to our team score.  He tried really hard and listened to me with hardly any loss of concentration throughout which was a great achievement.”

“It feels brilliant to be out competing after a slow start, and I’m very proud of my little ex-racehorse who is just so honest and fun. We were also very excited to have some Horslyx deliveries, and I’ve been proudly sporting my Horslyx ambassador clothing out and about. The horses are getting thoroughly spoilt with their new supply of Horslyx, which has made their coats and hooves look fab, and because it’s packed full of vitamins and minerals, Ruby has even stopped chewing the fence posts too. Happy horses and owner! Thanks Horslyx for your support.”

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