21 August 2021
Two years ago I went with my team to do the dressage at the SWWRC champs at Hartpury. It was our first 'big' show together and although we came 19th out of 20, I was still happy to have been able to "have a go". But whilst there 2 years ago, I spied the show jumping going on indoors, we were only doing 70/75cm courses then and the champs was 80/85cm, but I said to myself... "Next year, I want to come back and do THAT". Unfortunately there were no qualifiers or champs in 2020 because of Covid. BUT 2021 - here we were again having qualified for the Dressage and having been handed a free pass because my team qualified for the Show jumping at KSEC when I was unable to attend (thank you Covid jab for that one - not!!)
We managed an ok test and were PLACED!! 7TH!! AND WE GOT A ROSSIE. But before I even knew this I had already been in to jump my first round. As we waited to go in, the previous rider went clear and the applause was deafening, echoing around the building but instead of being worried I think Fred thought this was his 'walk on' music.
Hartpury indoor is quite an area, with a gallery on both sides, the busy cafe overlooking on the 3rd side, and banners galore, so I was really pleased with the little dude who just picked up his canter and gave it all ago without spooking. We had a little look at things as we went around, clipped fence 2 which took it down, and then as we came into fence 4 (a double) I thought 'ah he's going to probably give me a bit of a boom over the first part' so I went to slip my reins to allow more room and just COMPLETELY DROPPED my left rein. So we popped over part a and Fred then went " eh? You wanna go left? OK" I could have steered with my knees and seat but I chose to circle. It felt the right thing to do for Fred. So we ended up finishing round 1 with 8 jumping faults and a whopping 16 time faults and unsurprisingly the drop score for our team. With Naomi on 8 faults and Jo and Jayne clear.
However, he had felt so easy over the 80cm fences, that I was keen to give the 85cm round our best shot. Bored and tired by a long day, Fred felt a little frazzled as we warmed up for the 85cm. But I felt I rode this better and gave Fred all the help I could. We knocked fence one I think, again because I tried to start on the right lead instead of the left lead. Granted that was the wrong lead for the fence but I thought he may 'dive' around the corner on the left. We had a sticky jump over 1, 2 and over the spread at 3 I decided if fence 4 was not better I would retire. And perhaps that made my seat relax because suddenly he picked up and really took on the last 6 fences of the course. And fence 8 was HUUUUUGE.
We took Fred straight to the trailer after and quickly got the very tired boy home. But I'm delighted to say that my first ever 85cm course finished with just 4 faults and was counted for the team. I was sorry to hear however that BamBam (like Fred) had found the day too long and was eliminated at fence 2. But with another clear from Naomi and just 4 faults from Jo, our team finished on a very creditable 16 for 10th place.