Bonnie Fishburn – An Eventful April

April has been a super busy month for us and there have been some fabulous highs, some nearly but not quite amazing results and a down to earth with a bump moment!!! But that’s horse for you.

But before I tell you about all that, let me tell you how proud I am of my 3 year old Cupid’s Arrow. I hadn’t planned to start riding her until later in the summer, but I’ve had time and the weather has been kind, so as you know in March I had started ground work with her and leaning over her and did properly sit on her at the end of March. Well now we are at the end of April I am delighted to say that I am doing little bits of flat work with her and also been for a hack. She has been a dream and I’m so proud of her.

Our first outing of the month was for the final leg of the S and G Equine Dressage League on 3rd April. I took Elfie for the Prelim and he was a super little man but I let him down by going wrong in my test. He finished on a score of 70.76% in Prelim 18 which was equal to the winning score but we were 1 collective mark different which separated 1st from 2nd. Had I not have gone wrong we would have been on a final score of 71.53%….sorry Elfie….sack the rider. But all was not lost as he hung on to the lead in the overall league so took top honours in the Equine Outline sponsored league. I also took second place in that league and won the Domonic Moss Farrier Novice league with Shannondale Rua who I had ridden in the first two events in February and March.

Then our second outing was on 8th April when Percy and I, after a 3.30 alarm call, headed off to Weston Park for the Novice and an 8.06 dressage time. Percy was being a total star all day until the 3rd last fence on the cross country where we really got caught out. To say I was completely gutted is a complete understatement. He did a lovely flowing test to score a 32.8 which was good enough to lie in 8th out of 30 something competitors. He was then awesome in the showjumping and jumped a super clean clear round. On to the cross country and he was absolutely flying and making nothing of the course, only to be caught out at the corner combination. He glanced off at the first element and I then just couldn’t get my line right to get back to it, resulting in a big fat “E” on the board and we did part company in the process. Totally devastated because he could have been very highly placed. I know everyone gets these off days but that doesn’t make it any easier, it’s just so heartbreaking. But on the plus side at least he has come home and we can try again another day. And up until then everything had gone so well for us.

The following day I headed off to Calverswell and District Show where Frankie picked up 2 qualifying results for the second rounds of the Senior Showing & Dressage Ltd after winning the ridden and in-hand Veterans classes. He was very well behaved in the beautiful sunshine.

In a bid to bury the demons from our run at Weston Park, Percy and I had a quick reroute to Sapey for the BE100 Plus on12th April. I had wondered if it could be too soon and and that he may be tired but this wasn’t the case at all. He did a fluent dressage test to score 32.3, followed by a rather jolly clear SJ and then he stormed round the cross country making very little of it, in fact I had a double handful the whole way round. Having been so gutted after Weston Park this was just the boost we needed. And to top it off we took top spoils. What a good cow pony. I was really happy with our  win.


On 16th April I competed at the NCPA Maelor & Shropshire Easter Show in the ridden Veterans class with Frankie and he was pure class. He seems to be growing up a little and excepting that he needs to have manners for this showing game. He was much more settled then he has been and gave me a super ride. He took top honours and won me an Easter egg.

Elfie had his first ever British Eventing event on 21st April. We headed to Kelsall Hill for the BE90 and most of the day was superb. He started the day with a 25.8 dressage and was really sensible warming up with all the other horses out on the grass. He then jumped a super clear showjumping round where there was lots to look at in a very busy and bright arena. He headed off on to the cross country and was giving it his all until we had a little look at the deep dark ditch. But he flew the rest of the course and came home under the optimum time. A pretty good start but a shame that we could have been in the top 10 without the 20 penalties.


And then on 29th April Elfie did his second BE90 at Bradwall Horse Trials. We had a super early start at 4.15am, were onsite at 6.10am walking the course and were all done by 10.30am. He was in a large section of 38 and was lying 12th after a pleasant and accurate dressage on 31.8. He show jumped nicely but had a very unfortunate 4 faults at the last fence. He then put in a super speedy clear round across the country. The 4 faults from the sj proved very expensive moving us from 6th to 13th but I was delighted with him. 

I was back at Bradwall Horse Trials the following day with Percy. The day didn’t get off to the best start with a 38.5 dressage , literally as we went down the centre line a big gust of wind came in from behind us and made him jump a mile, so much so I thought the white boards must have taken off behind him, but no it was Percy being daft. We just about held it together but for him it was a tense test and he felt very fresh, such a shame. It put us around midway in the section after dressage, to be fair the mark sounds awful but it was quite a harsh marked section. He went on to redeem himself with a superb double clear. He jumped his little socks off in the showjumping and gave me a fabulous spin across the country, round a track that caused several problems. He felt awesome albeit a tad keen. We finished up 10th in a large section of 39, with only 2.5 penalties separating 3rd to 10th.

Blimey it makes me tired just looking back at our month. It sure was a busy one.