Kirsty Norwood’s Blog: Cross country, clear rounds, and … chickens!

We caught up with Kirsty Norwood to hear all about her trip to Eden Valley, where she wasn’t just competing, but volunteering too! Hear all about the event – from two different perspectives!

“On Sunday the 5th April, the time had come for our first event of 2015, and our first BE90 at Eden Valley. As I was last go to in Section K, I volunteered in the show jumping collecting ring for the BE80(t) in the morning, a job which I hadn’t ever done before. Everything ran smoothly and the competitors were very polite, always thanking us on their way out.”

“Before long it was time for some lunch before I went off to plait Java. Luckily the weather was very pleasant, a welcome change from the torrential rain we had had in the preceding week, causing the unfortunate abandonment of Saturday’s competition. Being last in my section for the dressage definitely worked in our favour. In a busy warm up, Java shuts right down and becomes very backward, making it very difficult to produce any soft work. I noticed this time however, he was lovely and forward. As we were trotting around the outside of the arena, some chickens decided it would be great fun to join in, causing Java to refuse to trot around the outside. After some persuasion, we eventually got going again and began the test, just a little tenser than I was expecting. Java produced a lovely test, just a little more energy needed at times to score 33.5. I was delighted with this score, it’s our 2nd highest BE score ever.”

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“Onto the show jumping. The show jumping probably produces the most nerves for me, it is our best phase and I put so much pressure on myself to jump clear. In 2014, we went clear at every single Cumbrian event, and I was determined to keep the record up! Luckily we held it together and Java didn’t disappoint for a clear.”

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“Onto the XC and I was very relaxed, as I knew there would be fences Java hasn’t seen before, and that just to finish would be a good starting point. Java set out of the start box on a mission! He flew up and off the bank and locked onto the narrow corner flying it with ease. Up the hill to the double of feeders and onto the trakehner. Java hasn’t seen one before, but he made light work of it and flew the rest of the course clear inside the time.
I was delighted to finish on 33.5 in our first BE90. As I was walking back, I heard the commentator announce we were in provisional 6th. As I was last to go, I was hoping that would be the final result! After Java was put away, I came back to find out we were indeed 6th! The BE90 sections were also generously sponsored by Horslyx, so we won another one. Java won his favourite thing! He was very happy with his winnings. I couldn’t have asked for a better start, all my winter training with Louise Smales is paying off!”

“Next up is Warwick Hall BE90. I also took my ex racer Bobby to some dressage. He has only just come back into work, and competing at an event other than racing is still very new to him! Bobby coped very well in the warm up and was working beautifully. Unfortunately, in the the test, we both went tense, losing the softness. He also did a lovely spin on our centre line, apparently the judge’s car is very scary! He is still learning and new to it all, and he made lots of progress, so I was very pleased!”