Overall, an educational day at Pontispool for the team of horses I took down, perhaps not the best on paper, but lots of positives to take away.
First up was Midnight Chill owned by Clare White in the novice class. This was only his second run at this level and as a 6 year old he is still green, so I was really pleased with his dressage of 32.5, with lots more improvement to come. He then jumped a super round show-jumping (see video below) to just have one down. The cross country was a tough novice class and in hindsight perhaps a bit too much of a question for a young horse. At the water you jumped out up a couple of steps and then there were a few strides to a big corner underneath some trees and he just didn’t read it. I could feel that he hadn’t clocked it as a jump so sadly he ran past. It was a shame there wasn’t a long route here as it would have been a really educational course for him if I could have got him home. But we will re-group in training, find him a nice track for his next outing and go from there as he is such a special young horse.
I also had Troja Queen owned by the Giessler family in the novice class. Her dressage was slightly tense, but I really feel like she is improving every time out and I think her marks will soon reflect this. We had a slight miss-communication down a line in the show-jumping for 8 faults, but then a fabulous clear cross country. As I mentioned above it was big enough for a novice course and this horse just flew round, making nothing of it and giving me the round of the day.
Last up was Total Equestrian Constructions 5 year old Quintessential III. Her dressage test was lovely and it was great to see that she was in the lead after this phase. She improved on her PB once again to score 24.3. Even though she is young, she feels quite balanced on the flat and is getting quite established in her tests at this level, which is promising. In contrast she is very much still finding her balance in the show-jumping, so I was really pleased with her round (video below) where she just had an unlucky front rail of the oxer at fence 5. The cross country was also built on the strong side for this level, especially for a young horse, but she coped really well. There was just one green moment at the water. We had to jump a log first which was positioned in close proximity to the water (only a few strides of dry ground on landing), this took her by surprise, so she shot left and we missed the flags going in! An unlucky 20 penalties, but an honest mistake from her purely due to lack of experience. I will take her cross country schooling before our next outing to give her some more practice. But overall a positive day for this lovely mare.
I also want to mention my working pupil Leah Bentley, who was competing alongside me this weekend and completed her and her horses first novice. They did a lovely test of 29, a couple down show-jumping and then a great round cross country. To get round this challenging course with both horse and rider being first timers at this level was a real achievement and I was very proud of their performance.
After we got back from Pontispool we headed for some training with Richard Waygood with the horses off to Renswoude this week, which was great and we are now travelling out to Holland! We also had a very sweet arrival over the weekend, check out the picture below of our very own little black beauty!