Having finally come back down to earth and back to normality following our incredible trip to Vidauban, it was all go preparing for the Winter Championships, amongst other things!
It was a bit of a manic juggling act trying to fit everything in, but we managed! Tank (Headmore Wimoweh) and Wilbur (Headmore Wrubinstar) had one final outing to Merrist Wood as our final preparation for the Winters. I was able to iron out a few little things with Tank in the arena, and Wilbur produced another polished performance to win with over 71%. It was certainly a good final competition before the championships!
Socs (Tantoni Sir Soccrates) had a pretend outing! I had been to be a guinea pig at the judges seminar with Stephen Clarke at Catherston Stud with both Socs and Del (Headmore Delegate). It was a fantastic day and both horses got some lovely comments and really good marks, and it was such a priveledge to get such insight from one of the most well respected international judges (and some good training tips too!).
I got some more good training tips at our world class squad training session as well. We were lucky enough to have top Swedish rider Tinne Vilhelmson-Silfven come over to teach us. I had a fab session on both Del and Bracks (Headmore Boadicia) and picked up some really good pointers!
We also managed to squeeze in a trip to Hunters for our first young horse qualifiers of the year. Larry (Tantoni Dallaglio) was competing in his first show in the 4 year old qualifier and was absolutely delightful from start to finish. He behaved impeccably, just had a few unfortunate wobbles meaning that he just missed out on qualifying for the final, but it was a very good start to his competition career! Billy (Tantoni Sibellius) then contended the 5 year old classic his first show of the year. He was a it too fresh but still finished 2nd to qualify for the final, getting some fabulous comments from the judges about what a super potential Grand Prix horse he is!
After all this, it was time for us to set off for the Winter Championships. My first test was in the medium open freestyle championship with Wilbur. We were drawn second to go and I was thrilled with him as he went into the arena at Hartpury, which is very atmospheric and a difficult arena for the horses, and rose to the occasion! We were awarded with over 74% to put us into 2nd behind the first rider who went in. I then assumed it was going to be a high scoring class, but I was wrong as we stayed in 2nd place right until the end, making Wilbur a reserve champion, what a start! He was unlucky not to finish higher as two of the three judges had us to win, but that’s dressage!
After Wilbur’s prize giving, it was Socs turn in the advanced medium open. I was hopeful that he could do well, as long as he didn’t get too nervous in the arena. Although he felt anxious during the test, he really stayed with me to produce a powerful, mistake free test to take the title and complete an outstanding first day at the championships!
The following day Socs was up first in the advanced medium freestyle. He was more relaxed inthe warm up and, despite getting a bit hot with the music, produced another fantastic performance to a difficult test to take his second title! I’m going to run out of adjectives for superstar Mr Socs!
Our final class was the medium open. Tank was my first ride and I was absolutely thrilled with him as he went into the arena and gave me one of the best rides he’s ever given me! I was dissapointed when I heard his score but he still finished 6th overall and he also could have been higher as two of the judges had him in the top three and one marked him down which, once again, is dressage! I couldn’t have been more pleased with him though! It was then Wilbur’s turn and he found going back into the arena for another test all a bit much so there were too many mistakes, but I really we had an outstanding weekend!
We are now getting ready to head to Saumur for the CDI next week, please keep your fingers crossed for us!