Lizzy Bird – South of England

A very belated update from me unfortunately due to the dreaded A level results, uni applications, surprise holidays and lots of training with the horses! After Smiths Lawn the horses both had a week or so’s break. I decided this would be the best option for them this year as it gave me time to collect my not so great A level results, find out I still managed a place at uni and take a quick trip to Cyprus to see the family who were on holiday and celebrate my university place!! It also gave them a chance to not be worked too hard on the hard ground around that time of year which benefited them both, especially halle with her leg which I am overly cautious of and gave them both a chance to sink their teeth into some more Mobility Horslyx which accompanied them on their nights living out.

Our next stop was South of England horse trials – one of my favorite events for sure!!

After some very focused training Halle absolutely SHONE in her test – and even stayed focused when some hikers came by with fluorescent back packs and started rattling at the gate, remarking ‘what even is this?’. Sometimes I also ask myself what dressage is all about as it seems ever harder to please the judges, regardless of how much training you’ve done! I was slightly disappointed with a 36 with Hal but nevertheless we continued to have two unlucky poles showjumping and a super clear xc which was just over the time. Our section was extremely competitive and I was over the moon to finish 7th! We achieved another top 10 placing at Novice! and at SofE!

Todd again blew up in the dressage arena. Again pointing towards inexperience and the clear need for some dressage packed winter training. Even more disappointing as he is fantastic at home and out at training, but reacts overly so to my nerves – something I will have to work on controlling when I ride him in particular. He warmed up a bit horrendously for the showjumping and was very rushed, but as soon as he entered the arena became a total plank and was a bit strong and leany…how very young irish sport horse like! ha! I found the sudden change of horse without me even knowing a bit unsettling but adapted my riding as quickly as I could but not quite fast enough for two poles. Again, another area to work on with him over the winter. I am still yet to find a bit which is perfect for him… hmm. A slighty dissapointing moment followed in the day as I decided to retire him xc. He was a superstar for only his second novice but got a tad too strong between fences for my liking so I decided to save him for another day. He flew through all combinations and the height was not a problem so it was a shame for me to have to make that desicion but I felt it was justified and was the right thing to do. I was still very pleased with him and will now go and do some homework with him to perfect all three phases eventually!!

Uni has started and I am just getting into the swing of my course and commuting. In total I travel round 2 hours a day but it is totally worth it! Fantastic friends have been made and horses are being exercised in the times I don’t have lectures so it works perfectly!

Photo courtesy of Spidge