Nicki Strong’s Blog: Season off; boot camp on!

We caught up with Nicki Strong to hear all about how Blue finished his season – with a PB, no less! Followed by a hunting debut, these are exciting times for Nicki and her number one ride!

“The event season is over, Christmas is fast approaching, and I’m already fed up of mud. My number one dude Blue finished his season off with a strong performance at Wellington Horse Trials with a PB dressage, clear xc and an unlucky pole showjumping. We were so hoping to finish off with a debut Novice at Larkhill – our local event – but it was sadly cancelled.”

“Instead we opted for a BE100+ at Bricky; Novice dressage, SJ and a special XC course at 100 height but with Novice technicality. Bearing in mind dressage is our weakest phase and this was a step up, I was thrilled that he again recorded a PB! We had a couple of rails SJ where we lost rhythm in places, before absolutely eating up the XC. He felt really class round that course, just sadly had a run-out at a really simple fence where I think the low sunshine played a part as he just never locked on. I finished really excited for next season.”

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“I always think Autumn/Winter off-season is a great opportunity to regroup, take it a bit easy, and also work on your other disciplines. That means showjumping and dressage boot camp is ON! As well as lessons, Blue has been to a few dressage outings since as we look to become established at Novice level, with some great results placing either second or third each time out.”

“We also did some Dressage Anywhere, placing second with 67.69%. Really pleased with his progress so far. We’ve also been and had some jumping practice with showjumper Charly Edwards who has recently moved to the area. She got Blue really popping so I’m hoping we can go and put it into practice over some courses soon. I was very fortunate to have been selected as the lucky rider to receive a £600 bursary from Protexin Equine Premium, which is a fantastic help in paying for training opportunities like this.”

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“It can’t all be hard work and boot camp though –we’ve also had a blast round Larkhill hunter trials where he was epic, and made our hunting debut with Southern Shires Bloodhounds when they had opening meet at the yard I’m based at. Blue most definitely enjoyed himself and thought hunting was lots of fun!”

“In the background, I’ve also been busy with Ruby and Monty who have been doing low level rehab work at home – Ruby building topline after Kissing Spine treatment, and Monty who has had a nightmare with a tendon injury and hock issues which he has now completed treatment for. He was VERY grateful for his Horslyx supply during a super dull four months box rest, groan!”

“Next up? More dressage and showjumping, and back on board Mr Monty to start building him up again. Neck strap will be required!”