National Qualifiers, Posh Frocks, and Pitty Patty of Hooves for Next Year!Wow, what a month we have had, it has been very manic but also very successful!
We managed to fit in a very busy day competing before we had to set off for Hartpury and the regionals. It started off by taking Mischief (Tantoni White Mischief) to Oldencraig for the final potential International dressage horse qualifier as she had been so unlucky not to qualify at Wellington. She went absolutely beautifully and must be the most unspooky horse on the planet as she went into Oldencraig’s main arena and didn’t look at anything! I was very disappointed to finish 3rd and just miss out on qualifying, especially as the horse that finished 2nd had misbehaved, but we were thrilled with Mischief and were very confident going to the young dressage horse final at Hartpury!
I then had to drive from Oldencraig to Sparsholt to ride in the charity pro-am competition that I also did last year. Luckily traffic wasn’t too bad and I arrived in plenty of time for the draw where I was drawn on the second last horse to go, Parisienne Girl. We are only allowed 20 minutes to get to know the horses before we have to ride through medium 75. Luckily, Blossom (as she is known) has a very sweet nature and, although she doesn’t find it as easy as some others I have ridden, she really tried for me and we got round the test with no mistakes. I also managed to improve her score by nearly 4% so I was quite pleased! It was, as always, very good fun and interesting to see how the horses react, and it was for a very good cause (the Hampshire and IOW air ambulance) so it made it very worthwhile. I was also given a bottle of champagne for my time, so everyone’s a winner!!!!
We then had to get organised for our rather sizeable trip to Hartpury which was very successful all in all, with six horses there for six days it was quite busy to say the least, but with Amy and Jo helping us we managed to get it all done, and we had some good results along the way!
Wiz (Wurlizer) was up against very strong competition in the CDI with members of the British Olympic team and all of the Canadian Olympic team competing. We had the worst of the weather to contend with in the Grand Prix, to the extent that Mum had to buy me a replacement pair of gloves as I was warming up as we got so drenched! I was very pleased with Wiz despite the conditions, we just had one irritating mistake which was a shame but still scored 67.2% to finish 10th, which I was thrilled with in that company. He then surpassed all of my expectations in the Grand Prix special on Sunday to finish 4th, so we were thrilled with him.
Del (Headmore Delegate) was also super; he was 10th in the Inter II on the first day despite the class being held in the Hartpury indoor arena, which he hates. He then improved for the second day to score his best score at Inter II (despite having mistakes in both sets of changes) to finish 6th, so he is definitely going the right way! Bracks (Headmore Boadicia) also showed improvement finishing 4th the PSG despite having a couple of green mistakes.
In the young horse classes I also had some fantastic results! My two four year olds were delightful all week and impeccably behaved at their first championship show. Mischief was fantastic and didn’t get bothered when the class started 15 minutes late, she went in like a pro and did a fantastic test to finish 4th with 7.9, and Tank (Headmore Wimoweh) was also wonderful to finish 8th with 7.84, which was made even more special as his owner had been able to make the trip down to watch him! We were also pleased with Roxy (Headmore Roxanne) in the 6 year olds, especially considering that she hadn’t been to a show for three months! She was just a bit wobbly and ring rusty so missed out on a placing, but we were thrilled with how she went.
We had a very busy social life at Hartpury as well as the competing! One evening we went out with Judith Davis of Hawtins stud who bred Wiz, and we also had a wonderful catch up with Tank’s owner, Joanne Graham Whelan. It was the first time she had seen Tank since he came back to us as she lives in Northumberland, and it was a very enjoyable evening with plenty of wine consumed!
We were also lucky enough to see Charlotte’s and Laura B’s new freestyle routines for the Olympics. Charlottes was breathtaking on the Saturday night using very patriotic music to score over 90%! Laura B’s was also fab with Lion King music (although I could be heard saying I did it first!) but it really suits them and it’s looking like London could be a very exciting time!
We arrived back from Hartpury at about 9.30p.m. on Sunday, and I had to leave for the regionals with Gayle at 5.30a.m. on Monday, so it was rather frantic when we got back! There was much running around and trying to work out what needed to stay in our lorry, what needed to be put away and what needed to go with Gayle and I in the morning. Everything was sorted by 11.30p.m., but it did mean that I struggled to get up when my alarm went off at 4.45 on Monday morning!
We arrived at Kingston Maurward in plenty of time, so I could be seen plaiting up in the car park! Doris (Headmore Daydreamer) was first to go in the prelim and we were thrilled with the test, especially as she had had pus in the foot and only been back in work two days, we didn’t even think we would be able to take her! We were thrilled with her mark of 71.21% and first place, qualifying her for the Nationals and making our ridiculously early start worthwhile! Gayle then did the novice restricted on Roxy. They just had one mistake but I was very pleased with her way of going and hoped that the judges liked it too. Thankfully they did, Gayle and Roxy finishing 2nd and qualifying for the nationals also, so Gayle and I decided that the early start was very definitely worthwhile now! However, it meant that there was now pressure on me to qualify as well!
I wasn’t competing until the afternoon on Tuesday, so it meant that we could have an easy relaxing morning! I was very pleased with Roxy’s test as I hadn’t had a chance to run her through it and it was a very high scoring class (top ten all scored over 70%) so I knew we would have to go for it if we wanted to qualify and Roxy answered my every question! We finished 4th and qualified for the nationals, which will be my last ever elementary test, so hopefully we will be able to have a good one!
Bracks also had her PSG on Tuesday afternoon and we were quite pleased with her as she is definitely gaining more confidence. Unfortunately, we had a couple of mistakes where she is still a bit green, so we finished 8th.
Our final class of the show was the advanced medium open with Bracks. I asked for more power than in the PSG and we were pleased with the test, there were just a couple of silly little things in the canter work. We still finished 5th, unfortunately just missing out on qualifying, but hopefully her score will be good enough for a wildcard.
The following week and with the London 2012 Olympic Games looming just around the corner, we took the final chance we had to attend a ‘big’ domestic show before the Nationals. It did look like we wouldn’t be able to make it as the foul weather we have been having had left Hickstead resembling a bog in both the parking and the arenas, but by the time we went Dane and all of the crew at Hickstead had been working tirelessly to enable the show to go ahead.
Hickstead was the last premier league of the season and the last chance to get those coveted direct qualifications to the Nationals. Unfortunately Bracks was not quite up for it on the first day and had an unfortunate moment in the PSG, but she was much more settled on the second day to produce a very green test, but it was a ‘clear round’ which we were very pleased with and next year when she is stronger and more established should be a force to be reckoned with!
Del competed in the Inter II and was much more confident, although it was still very green and there were a few mistakes. It was still good enough to score 67.89% and finish 2nd, gaining his qualification for the Nationals so he will now be competing at both Inter I and Inter II in September, not bad as he only did his first Inter II less than a month ago!
We also took Wiz even though he was already qualified so we could have another run through the test. He did a more confident and more established test than at Hartpury CDI to finish 3rd in a big class, so all in all it was a very good week for us at Hickstead!
The scary part of the month was my appearance on the radio. I went on BBC Surrey to talk on Tea for Two with Joe Talbot about our chances for the Olympics. It was a fairly long slot (about 20 minutes) but I think that I managed not to make a fool of myself and I was told that I had done a good job, although I don’t think my friends and family would have said otherwise!
More good news that is very exciting for me is that Jaffa (Wiz’s sister) has been scanned in foal to De Niro for next year. I can’t wait and this will be the first foal I have had on my own so I’m even more excited, unfortunately I’ll have to be patient though! Mum’s broodmare, Ruby, has also been scanned in foal to Don Frederic for next year.
The other very exciting piece of news is that my sister, Kate, got her results after she had sat her finals. She not only passed but did so with honours! Only a quarter of her year achieved that so you can imagine how proud my parents and I are, although it was quite embarrassing as Mum burst into tears at Hartpury in front of Charlotte, and then set me off! But huge congratulations to Kate... she is now a vet, scary!
With the weather turning for the better and summer finally arriving, it gave us the opportunity to get really excited about Kate’s graduation ceremony. Kate, myself and both of our parents were all able to go as well as a very long standing family friend, Sheila, who used to change our nappies! There was much hilarity as all of ‘the Opps’ came downstairs dressed up for the photos, especially when Kate commented that we had better get photographic evidence as that would be the last time we were all dressed up until either she or I get married!
We left with plenty of time as the ceremony was in the Freemason’s Hall in London and it was one of the days that the Olympic torch was going through London. It did give us plenty of time, however, to have a bit of a rest and a cold ice drink to cool down after the walk off the train! We then met up with Katie, one of Kate’s friends who was also graduating, and her family for lunch at a lovely Italian restaurant. It was nice for us to meet Katie as we had heard a lot about her but not actually met her, and it was a very enjoyable meal with good food and lots of pride around the table!
Once we had got to the Freemason’s Hall, Kate went off to sign the veterinary register and get her gown so she was ready for the ceremony. It was quite emotional when she came to find us but we managed to hold it together and went off for the photos, but unfortunately Mum and Dad look like they were being forced to stand there, but Kate and I looked alright! It was then time for the ceremony. The hall is a magnificent and very beautiful building and a lovely venue for such a special moment. It was emotional when they announced Kate as graduating with honours and very scary when the graduates went from being ‘students’ to ‘colleagues’! Kate is now free to practice as a vet, and will now be known as Kate Oppenheimer BVetMed(Hons) MRCVS... also scary!
It was a wonderful day and we are all very proud, and for once we were all scrubbed up well and were able to get some photos!
Now we can look forward to the Olympics, after a magnificent opening ceremony, and good luck to all of the athletes competing, it’s going to be a fantastic fortnight and will hopefully bring a lot of success for team GB!
Riding has been in our family for generations. With my mum, Sarah, competing at HOYS and RIHS it was only natural that, as soon as I could walk, I'd end up in the saddle!
As I was growing up I joined the Hampshire Hun
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Previous PostsBusy with Parties
We like to move it move it!
Winter Regionals - Success
Horsey Husband Shopping & Party Time
Training with the Golden Girl, Charlotte Dujardin
Wrapping Up For Winter
ArchiveIt might be fright night but the horses are alright!
Wiz proves to be a star at the Nationals
A month full of fun!
National Qualifiers, Posh Frocks, and Pitty Patty of Hooves for Next Year!
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An exciting year ahead is expected!
Qualifying for Advanced Medium....not a bad birthday present!
A sad farewell
A very special christmas present
When it rains, it pours!
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A busy month and a well earned holiday for the Headmore Team
The Climax of the National Championships
No rest for the wicked
A manic month for Alice
Building up to the climax of the summer season
Manic May for Alice
A busy and exciting April
Summer competition season kicks off!
A busy February for Alice
A fantastic start to the New Year
Happy New Year
Alice Oppenheimer joins the Dengie Supported Riders