Laura Barber’s Blog: Going up the grades and coming back down to earth!

We love catching up with Laura Barber to hear about her adventures with Tally – and the latest instalment is no different. Read on to find out about their “incident” with a naked lady!!

“Well I’m pleased to report that August has been just as busy as the rest of our blogs, with the summer eventing season continuing at full steam ahead for Tally and I. We’ve also managed to have our belated Badminton BBQ with the whole of ‘Team Tally’ who came to support us, and we could finally show off our tshirts without any coats on!”

“We kicked off the month with our first trip to Calmsden down in the beautiful Cotswolds. We were doing the BE100 and Tally did a nice dressage to score 33. My highlight was being followed into the arena by the one and only Mary King who said ‘well done’ – she’s so polite I’m sure she says that to everyone but I was still totally starstruck!! We followed it up with a nice double clear (finally leaving all the show jumps up – yay!). Tally found the ground a little on the firm side & went a bit spooky on me so we picked up some time penalties XC but he finished the course well, which had caused plenty of problems.”

“Two weeks later we headed to a much more local event – Aston Le Walls, for their BE100. Tally had obviously been practising pointing his toes as he pulled out a 24.5 dressage, which was a new PB for us and took us all by surprise! In order not to get too carried away we proceeded to have the very first fence down show jumping, before we got our act together and jumped the rest well. We followed this with another XC clear but Tally was still being a bit sticky adding strides before the fences and putting the handbrake on a bit, meaning 4 frustrating time penalties dropped us out of the placings.”

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“I told my jumping instructor that I felt we needed an XC lesson to sharpen us up a bit and get Tally moving, so we went down to our course at home to practice our ‘land and go’. Tally soon got the hang of it and was flying, and although it felt a bit unnerving to be travelling at a much faster speed it proved we could do it!!”

“Our next event was at the end of August, back at ALW…for our first Novice!! I was very excited and nervous at the same time – I felt it was time just to try one and find out what happened! Well, it was SO nearly the perfect debut! The dressage was much harder than at BE100 level, and I was pleased with a 34. To my amazement we also managed to SJ clear! The XC was big and bold, but nothing too technical so we set out with good purpose. Fence 5 was a solid wooden chair, with a carved naked lady sat on top… apparently she was ‘warmblood-eating’ because as soon as Tally spotted her he slammed the brakes on and swiftly disappeared from underneath me, depositing me on the grass 20 yards in front of said naked lady. It happened in a flash and I was bounced straight up onto my feet by my air jacket, but sadly Tally was already headed home! Unluckily for him he ran straight towards my instructor who was standing watching from the hill, and swiftly returned him to me to pop back on. He went straight over the naked lady this time and flew the rest – I’m not sure if that makes it better or more annoying!! That was my first ever XC fall and Tally’s first ever XC fault, so I guess we haven’t done too badly to make it this far, and barring that one blip the rest of the day did prove that we are more than capable at this level. At least we have a funny story from our first Novice!”

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“This weekend we headed to Goring Heath for our first visit there; back down at BE100 as Goring has a reputation for being big and bold. Tally did another nice dressage for 33.5 and a good clear round a spooky course of SJs. I didn’t realise how nervous I’d be about going XC so soon after going splat! Luckily my Husband was with me and gave me a good talking to whilst I was tacking up, and I’m pleased to report it was business as usual as Tally did me proud with a lovely clear. He felt very purposeful and happy so I was glad to get that under our belts. Goring is very hilly and not easy to make the time – we were only 8 seconds over and I did slow down for a few technical combinations – he is definitely getting the idea and we will get there one day, but for now I’m just pleased we stayed together and finished in one piece with big smiles on our faces!!”

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“Next week we head to Blenheim for our third visit to their very exciting Eventer’s Challenge – can’t wait to do some shopping too! We then have Moreton Morrell BE100, and maybe a couple more in October…I can’t believe we’re nearing the end of the season, and think it’s definitely time for a rest soon! Our new Riding Club (Milton Keynes RC) is going from strength to strength with nearly 80 members now, so we’re also busy organising lots of events and demos. Horslyx have kindly agreed to sponsor our Winter Dressage and SJ league – so a big thank you to them for their continued support and I’m really excited to keep spreading the Horslyx word!”