It is safe to say that this blog update is long overdue, in fact there are three or four overdue at this point! So first I thought I would give you all a quick run down of what’s been happening, and why it has taken so long to get these updates out.
I am shocked to see that the last blog update was way back in August, just after Bicton Arena. In my defense, our Facebook page has had a few updates since then!!
So.. the week after Bicton Arena, Teldon and Loki made the trip to one of our favourite events, Wellington Horse Trials, this year running an international 3* for the first time. Loki produced a good result in the BE100, he was still struggling with some tension in the dressage at this stage and Julia was slightly disappointed with a 36. But he jumped well and would show a big improvement before the end of the season.
Teldon moved back up to 3* at Wellington, following a difficult time in the rain at Camphire. We pulled out a personal best dressage at this level, scoring 49.5pen, it was great to break the 50 penalties barrier and it certainly didn’t all go to plan so I know there is plenty of room for improvement next season. The showjumping at Wellington is always influential, so we weren’t too disappointed with 8 faults and still on target for a top 10 finish! Teldon started the cross-country with his usual flair and exuberance, we were testing a new bit and it was proving a good fit. Unfortunately as we approached fence 7, I spotted the fence judge flagging me down, a rider had fallen at the influential gates at fence 9 and the course was being held. Luckily the horse and rider were fine, but Teldon never reacts well to being held in this way and when we restarted he was a different horse, leaning very heavily in the contact and not giving me the same responsive feeling in front of the fence. As we jumped the gates at fence 9 we nearly became another victim, as he hit both parts quite hard and so I had to change the plan and take a bit more time setting him up. We finished clear and I was delighted to get that elusive CIC3* clear round, but the hold on course had cost us dear. Before we were stopped we were running well and comfortably within the time, but the change in Teldon’s way of going caused us to rack up time penalties that ultimately cost us a placing.. Next year!!
Lander at BYEH Finals
Next up was the Dubarry Burghley Young Event Horse Finals, and Lander’s big day out. It was great to be making the trip again after taking Max for the 5 year old last year, and nice too that Julia had the opportunity to ride this time around. My Mom made the trip over from Ireland as she did last year, we are beginning to wonder if she comes to see us at all, or is it just go to the big events! (Only joking Mom!)
Lander was a star from start to finish at Burghley, it is a lot for a young horse to deal with, we left at 7am and didn’t get back till 10pm, it is a long time for a young horse on his own in the lorry, but he just goes with the flow! He absorbed the big atmosphere with his usual pensive manner, as though he is studying everything before deciding what he needs to do. He achieved one of the highest marks for his dressage, conformation and type, but sadly was a few marks off the pace in his jumping and so just missed out on being called back for the top ten. As was always the plan, Lander was officially put on the market following Burghley and was recently sold on his first viewing.. but he deserves his own blog post so more on the later!
A Flying Visit
In September I travelled home to Ireland for my friends Craig and Megan’s Wedding. I know people always say this, but it truly was an amazing day, with a fantastic party! I was honored that Craig had asked me to be his best man, though utterly terrified at the thought of having to give a speech in front of all their friends and family! But I wanted to take this opportunity to thank them again for a great day and for all their support, they have recently invested in a young pony that Julia is currently backing and who promises to be some pretty special!
While in Ireland I took the opportunity to trial the innovative new Bua Saddle, as I mentioned on our Facebook page at the time I was seriously impressed by how they have brought the saddle into the 21st century, but again that requires a blog update on it’s own to really fill you in.
Mark Todd Bridging the Gap Scholarship
I came back from Ireland ready to focus on Osberton and was delighted to hear that I had made it into the final selection for the Mark Todd Bridging the Gap Scholarship. It was amazing simply to make it to the final of this process and receive some great advice from Mark Todd during the final assessment. The selection process assess riders not just on their riding ability, but their team of horses and training principles, and also included an interview process where we discussed the structure or our business and how we aim to promote the sponsors of the training scholarship, Keyfow feed and the Mark Todd Collection. I was delighted to finish in third place and felt it was a really positive experience and vote of confidence for what we are doing here at D&L. Again I hope to give a full rundown of the process and the day in a separate update.. how many did I day I was overdue??
Teldon’s final event of the season was Osberton CCI2*, our first CCI for a number of years. With one eye on an early CCI3* next season I wanted to go to Osberton and make sure Teldon wasn’t going to get a shock at moving back up to the longer CCI format. The result may not have been what we were hoping for, particularly after a strong performance in the 3* at Wellington, but we learned a lot that we can take forward to next season. Three day events are a totally different experience to the shorter format events and though Teldon ran well within himself all the way round the cross country, there was a definite change around the 7-minute mark when he would usually be well finished. A silly lapse of concentrate from me put us slightly off the line to the angled ditch to skinny near the end of the course and Teldon didn’t even see the B element until it was too late, again I could feel his concentration also wane towards the end of the course, it was in-fact the longest course we have ever tackled, so good preparation to move up to CCI3* level next season. Trotting Teldon up on the Saturday evening and again Sunday morning he looked like a three year and clearly the course hadn’t effected him too much, which was encouraging for a horse 15 years young, though he did feel tired in the showjumping, so we will work on that before next year.
Where was I..??
The week after Osberton I was really excited to finally get to event Aldorro (Alfie) for the first time at Calmsden. This flashy grey gelding came to my on a recommendation from Mark Todd, and he has everything to impress! His owner, Jo Street, has been really patient over the summer and so it was devastating when I had to phone and withdraw him at the last minute after a fall at home. I suffered a nasty concussion in the fall and was off riding for nearly two weeks, bringing a sudden end to my season. By the sound of it I was pretty amusing to be around for a few hours, if slightly annoying because I kept asking the same question over and over. I was gutted not just because I was unable to ride, but the timing meant that I missed the last few events of the season. However, a week later everything was put into perspective with news of William Fox-Pitt’s fall in France. In the end I was incredibly lucky to suffer nothing more serious than a concussion and a few events. It was great to hear earlier this week that William is now conscious and his condition looks to be improving. We wish him and his family all the best, the out-pouring of support from the eventing community has been inspiring as always, it really makes me proud of our sport.
Loki's Flying Finish
I did recover enough after a week to be able to drive Julia and Loki to Broadway so that they could finish their season properly, and what a way to finish! Loki was much more relaxed in the dressage and showed everyone else a glimpse of what we see at home. He jumped his usual exuberant clear showjumping and put in a really classy round on the cross country too. It is amazing to see how Julia and Loki have progressed through the year, from the stressy ex-racehorse who started the season and finishing with a well earned 4th place at their last event of the year. Onwards and upwards in 2016... actually, going by the photos, he has quite enough ‘upwards’!
In other News..
In the middle of the frantic end to the season Julia and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary, moved into a new house and sold Lander.. all on the same day! Julia also officially received her residency permit, allowing her to stay in the UK for 5 years. It has been an incredibly long and complicated process to get to this point and we just can’t believe how much has happened and how far we have come in the last year. Here is to a good winter season and a safe and successful 2016 season!