Bonnie Fishburn’s Blog: A summer of highs and lows

We caught up with Bonnie Fishburn to get the scoop on her summer. To say it’s been a mixed bag is an understatement – but some amazing lessons learned, ribbons earned and demons faced! And of course it will end on a massive high with Bonnie’s impending wedding!

“So my first event in July was the one for main Frankie. He was doing his first BE event in over a year at Eland Lodge for the Open Novice. To say he was rather pleased to be out is an understatement. We had a rather excitable dressage but sort of got away with it with 32.5, he then went on to jump the most fabulous double clear. He was an absolute legend across country. So professional and found it so easy. We had 11.3 time but we were there to race round and we ended up 13th of 33 so not bad for a little play. It was just amazing to have him back out there, but unfortunately he paid the price after and was a little sore in his front legs again like last year. We may have to rethink his career. A very sad few weeks followed where I had to come to terms with the fact it may have been his last event.”

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“The following weekend I had a fabulous day at the British Riding Clubs Area 20 Dressage Qualifiers. Percy’s team were 1st in the Riding Test and he got 78.18%. Florence’s team were 2nd in the Open Dressage and she got 69.81% for 2nd individually. Percy was 3rd in Novice 34 with 69.3%. And Hayley Mayer and I were 1st in the pairs in 75%. Great results for Nantwich Riding Club and 3 qualifications for the BRC National Championships. So pleased with our ginger girls in the pairs dressage, they only met briefly three days before the competition to meet each other and run through the test that we made up. They took it all in their stride and just accepted each other’s company like little pros. Next stop Lincoln in September for the British Riding Clubs National Championships.”

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“Next stop was an Stafford Horse Trials with Florence and Percy. Not my best day that’s for sure. Florence, my careful showjumper, had the double down at the last fence which cost dearly because she’s had 31.8 and clear in time Xc, we could have been very highly placed. Percy was in a harsh marked section on 38.5, unlucky rail Sj and super clear Xc but then I find out they gave him 3 time SJ and he had pretty much bolted round then 14 too fast Xc and I’d hacked round cause of it being a bit firm. So I went to moan and they said they couldn’t check the SJ but they checked the Xc and they timed me wrong at the start but still got 4 too fast. Sack the jockey but on the plus side I jumped a left handed corner twice perfectly! I’ve always been told to take a positive out of a bad thing and that’s all I could find.”

“Our next competition was the BRC Area 20 Sj qualifiers, it may not have been the perfect weather with all the wind and rain, but I thoroughly enjoyed my day at Netley Hall with Percy and Florence. Luckily they ran the Open class first thing in the morning so we were all done by 10.30 and had the best of the ground. The course was a true open track and I’m made up with how my two homebred horses tackled the courses. Percy was up first and had an unlucky 4 faults at the last fence. Then Florence jumped a great clear. In the second round the roles were reversed and Percy jumped out of his skin for a fantastic clear. And Florence had a brilliant round but was so unlucky for 4 faults at the last. Just delighted with how well they jumped. Percy’s team for Nantwich Riding Club of Amanda Dakin, John Done and Lisa Cadman finished with 4 faults after the two rounds which unfortunately just wasn’t quite good enough for the win and took 2nd. Florence’s team weren’t so lucky with two of the riders having bad second rounds and finished 5th. First time I’ve not qualified somebody for the Nationals when trying, but I’m still there doing 4 dressage tests, so all is not lost.”

“For my first event in August I had a lovely day at Cholmondeley Castle with Percy. He’d not been on his own to an event for some time but he was a saint. We were in the BE100 and jumped a pretty much foot perfect double clear on a good dressage of 27.3. We added just 0.8 time penalty to our score which lowered us 1 place to finish 5th! I was delighted with him and chuffed to have got round after my last experience at the event two years ago in the intermediate. Not that I can remember much from my last experience but I do remember most of the 6 frustrating weeks that followed!! Just so pleased to leave the beautiful estate through the gates this time rather than sedated in a helicopter!! Demons faced.”

“Next up it was Florence’s turn and we headed to Swalcliffe in Banbury for the BRC Horse Trials National Championships. We were in the 100+ Championships. On the first day she did a lovely dressage test for 27.8 to lie 3rd in our section and 4th overall. On the second day she gave me a fabulous ride on the cross country and added nothing to her dressage after the roads and tracks, steeplechase or cross country. Despite me managing to turn my stop watch off after only a second, we still managed to come home inside the time. This left us still in 3rd place in our section and 4th overall, as well as leading the Best Homebred. We had a few dramas on the third day, first we got held at the trot up, then mum got struck into by Florence, who had had to jump out of the way of a horse that went to kick her, she landed on mums ankle and knocked her on the head and mum had to go to A&E for X-rays. Then we had 4 faults Sj which moved us to 4th place in our section, 6th overall and 2nd Best Homebred. It was a shame to add those 4 penalties right at the end of the event but I couldn’t be too disappointed because she jumped her socks off and was fantastic all weekend. And the good news is mum hadn’t broken anything, but is badly bruised so very sore but it was better than being broken.”

“Just two days later Percy and I headed to Herefordshire for the BE Novice at Homme House. I was quite pleased with his dressage but the judge was very harsh and we had a 38.8. He then just had an unlucky 4 faults SJ but jumped well. Then gave me a fantastic time across country. There were some quite technical skinny fences which he made nothing of and came home clear in the time to end up in 12th spot just outside the placings. It was quite an ask for him but he loved it and so did I.”

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“My final event in August was again on-board the wonderful Percy. Our dressage I was happy enough with but I still think we have a lot more marks to find, but it’s coming. We had a 35. He then jumped out of his skin showjumping but I had one down, I don’t blame him at all, I just got it wrong. But he gave me a great feel. And the cross country, what can I say, he was simply phenomenal again! It was a big and continuously technical track, yet he breezed over it and gave me the most wonderful ride!!! He has really taken the step to novice in his stride, he seems to love the technical tracks. Long may it continue. And the course was very tight on time, yet I didn’t feel I touched the accelerator once and he only came home with 3.6 time. I love this horse. We were 13th of a strong field of about 40 and a hot section to. Delighted!!”

“This was my final event before I get married on 26th September. I will still have a few dressage competitions and I need to learn to ride side saddle as I plan to ride to church on my wedding day. But I thought I had better stick to slightly less high risk competitions in the lead up to the big day.”