Another busy month competing, as I try and get in as much as I can before the season slowly starts to unwind and I go back to uni!
The star of this month absolutely goes to Del. After his fantastic result in Camphire, I decided he was ready to step up to do his first ever intermediate. I took him to Aston le Walls, going with very little expectations and feeling rather curious to see whether he would rise to the challenge or go into his shell.
Thankfully, he was just awesome! He pulled off a 33 dressage and jumped two seriously smart jumping rounds! I couldn’t get over how confident, quick and careful he felt on the cross country. It feels very exciting to now have two gorgeous horses competing at intermediate level!
A few weeks later and we were back at Pembroke docks getting the Irish ferry at 2.45 in the morning again, this time heading to Millstreet with Darius in the CCIS-3* and Del doing his first ever three day in the CCIL-2*.
What an amazing venue Millstreet is! Indoor stabling, multiple surfaced arenas, an atmospheric show jumping arena and an incredibly well built cross country course. Definitely a venue I will return to next year, and probably the most impressive one I’ve ever competed at!
We arrived there on the Wednesday, and after giving both horses a leg stretch and letting them settle in, Del had his trot up on the Wednesday evening which he flew through. I then had my dressage test with him on the Thursday evening, as he was last to go in the 2* long section.
He did a much improved test which I was very pleased with, as he still struggles on the flat, to get a 32, which left him just inside the top 20.
He then had his cross country on the Friday morning. It was a much longer track than he has ever done before, being over 7 minutes; the ground was very deep and there were lots of hills to tackle on the course. He was absolutely super over all the fences, only going a little green at the coffin, but felt so confident the rest of the way round, so I was absolutely thrilled to cross the finish line clear, with just 2 time faults!
I felt I couldn’t have pushed to go any faster as he was tiring after the 5th minute, but hopefully with a few more three days under his belt he’ll learn how to push through feeling tired on course!
I then had to leave him with my team and rush on up back to the stables to get changed and jump on Darius to do our dressage test. Again, a much improved test from him left us with a score of 32 and to be in the middle of the field in a huge 3* short section!
Later on that day I had my show jumping with Darius, who felt absolutely mega, just tapping one pole where I placed him too deep in front of the fence. So Friday was a pretty busy, but successful and satisfying day!
Del then trotted up early on Saturday morning which he skipped through, and then went on to jump a fantastic clear show jumping, to finish 11th in a competitive 2*.
Without the 2 time faults he would have been 5th, so it just goes to show how close it was! I’m so chuffed he’s gone and done another double clear, and so pleased with how well he was jumping on the last day after a long and tough cross country course!
Finally, Darius had his cross country on the Sunday which he felt absolutely class round. Unfortunately, he tripped coming out of the first water which meant I had to circle to get round to the brush, but that didn’t take away from how brilliant he felt around the rest of a course that was causing its fair share of problems!
With only a couple more events planned for the rest of the season, I’m starting to get myself ready to return to uni to finish my final year. It feels absolutely surreal to nearly be done with that part of my life; my years in education seem to have just flown by! But I’m looking forward to making the most of my final year and starting a whole new chapter to my life.