Laura Barber’s Blog: Finishing the season

We caught up with Laura Barber to hear how her season – the longest ever! – finished, and how Tally has been getting on since his holiday!

“It feels like it’s been quite a while since I’ve written one of these – since our last update our season has ended, Tally’s had his holiday and I’ve been travelling internationally for work… so I’d like to say things have slowed down a bit but I’m not sure that’s correct!!”

“As I left my last blog we were just about to head to Blenheim. I actually paid 2 visits to this fantastic local show, as our new Riding Club (Milton Keynes RC) managed to get a late entry into the RC Eventers Challenge on the Thursday, so I went along to support. I took my dog and we had a lovely day shopping, supporting, can catching up with friends – we walked for miles! On Sunday we returned with Tally for the Equilibrium BE100 EC – we were on quite early and the fog had barely cleared, but the course looked a good mix of bright SJs and portable XC fences, finishing with a massive skinny SJ joker fence which nearly everyone was having down. Well Mr T, ever consistent, jumped a lovely round for a double clear, even managing to pick up toes over the joker at the end. We were just 4 seconds over the time and I think we finished in 10th place (although the rosettes only went to 6th – at least we got one for taking part!!). More shopping and food followed – another great day out!”

laura 28

“I’d decided to finish our season at Moreton Morrell at the end of September, as all of the October events were quite far from us, and to be honest I think we were both running out of steam a bit after our longest season yet! We had nice times (I’ve done very well this season – thank you secretaries!!!) and arrived just after lunch. Even though it was late September it was seriously warm – Tally had just decided that week to start growing his winter coat so it wasn’t ideal timing!! His dressage was quite lazy but we still got a good score of 32. Their SJ is on a surface, but the recent rain had made it very deep – warming up I was really struggling to get Tally going and we very nearly parted company over a big oxer – not ideal prep!! In the ring it was actually ok, we just had the back rail off the final triple bar, although the rhythm was a bit laboured and he wasn’t travelling as well I would’ve liked. I was undecided whether to go XC or not as he was feeling a bit below bar (despite still being in quite a competitive position!), but I decided to head over to the XC seeing as we were there, on the proviso that I’d pull up if he didn’t feel right. Well sadly that’s what I ended up doing – he didn’t warm up brilliantly and just wasn’t taking me as I needed him to; the BE100 at MM is big and bold so you can’t be indecisive on the way in…we crawled over fence 3 and really spooked up to the 4th, so I put my hand up and walked home. Tally had nothing to prove, he’d already been clear round there before, and there was nothing to be gained by pushing on and potentially having an accident and damaging confidence.”

“Although this was a bit of a disappointing note to end the season on, I know I made the right decision, and after a few days off, bringing him in to being stabled at night, and most importantly being clipped, I had a very happy horse back firing on all cylinders. Our last full event at Goring Heath had been fantastic, and this season itself has blown everything else out of the water, so I’m a very happy girl who’s still counting her lucky stars.”

laura 29

“Since then we have done some British Showjumping (getting our first ‘official’ double clear at Discovery), some arena eventing at the fantastic Aston le Walls, and organised a very successful Arena XC clinic for our Riding Club at our MKEC base. On the topic of Riding Clubs, our Horslyx sponsored winter points league is going really well, with the 2nd rounds of the show jumping and dressage shows now taking place – lots of members are being encouraged to get involved (when they perhaps wouldn’t have done otherwise), which is fantastic to see and what these clubs are all about. Can’t wait to see the champions crowned next year!”

laura 30

“So that brings me round to now – Tally is just coming back into work after a well-deserved holiday (and feeling amazing!), and I’m recovering from a rather intensive work trip to Cyprus (feeling less amazing!). In other news I’ve got back on my older horse Caffrey, who’s had a very quiet year after struggling with Cushings and Laminitis. My Mum had been walking him in hand but he can be quite wild(!) so I decided to jump on instead – after 4 months off we went for a lovely wander round our fields, no saddle, no problem! You can see from the pic how much he loves his Horslyx – he’s permanently sporting the ‘Horslyx nose’ – he takes his brand representation very seriously!!”