Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Slighty Soggy Scone BE!

Saturday 24th April was our 2nd BE event of the year at Scone Palace, Perthshire. We were doing the BE90 class and had been drawn 5th to go in our section... which meant a dressage time of 8.24am! So alarm was set for 4am, with as much done the night before (including popping up to walk the XC!), so that we could leave the yard at the back of 6am to get there in time.

It had been raining most of the night and was still quite damp when we got there. A fairly decent shower of rain while we were warming up and doing our test wasn't appreciated by the photographer! ;) I had thought it may play in our favour and make "pokey nose" tuck her nose in for a change, but she was still just as interested in looking around (particularly at the lorries/trailers coming in the road right alongside the arena) and trying to figure out where the peacock noise was coming from!

So not one of our best tests and we scored 44pen, leaving us 23rd out of a section of 26.

Some photos, not all bad, as per usual the best is of a nice, square halt! ;)

At least with the dressage out of the way we could get on to the fun bits! ;) Didn't do too many practice SJs as it was already pretty muddy in the warm up and she doesn't like the mud, it just leads to horrible jumps as she tries to avoid it by jumping the take off spot as well as the fence! ;) Luckily the ground in the arena was holding up better as still fairly early, so she was jumping nicely, although on quite a mission! Had to really hold her back, but got to most of the fences on a nice enough stride, apart from the second last where we both saw a long one and then the last where we just got a little close, but she was very clever and careful and left it up for a clear round. :D

My friend, Lisa was good enough to video our round as well!

So on to the best bit of all- XC! The course had been changed a fair bit since we rode round last year and course designer was taking no prisoners, the first and third fence definitely looked like they were up to max. height! Nothing too horrid on course though apart from a skinny brush fence out of the water as they are allowed to build this 20cm higher than the max height for the class (so 1.10m!) which they had done and I know Heidi "doesn't do brushing through brush"!

Jumped the first fine, a little wiggly leaving the warm up behind to no.2 and then a horrible jump over no.3, but then great round the rest, with a real flyer over the barrel fence at 5! :D A little wussy through the first water (steep ramp in, splash through and out) but fab through the main water and flew the skinny brush leaving me grinning! Came home 7s inside the optimum time for a double clear jumping score! :D This was at least enough to pull us up to eventual 14th place in the class.

Again, Lisa was armed with video camera (she deliberately left it running during the times we were out of sight, hence the "grass & leaves shots" so she could figure out a rought estimate of our time! ;) ) so thank you again to her and here's us in action. :)

So very, very pleased with her jumping. :D Dressage, as always, could be better, but much easier to work on than the jumping. ;) Next is Auchinleck BE90 on Sunday 9th May and then we've been very brave and entered our first BE100 at Scotsburn on Saturday 29th May- eeek!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

1st BE of the year- Kirriemuir BE90

Finally our 2010 BE season has started! :D We made our furthest trek to date up to Kirriemuir to do the BE90 event on Sunday 11th April. As we were on fairly early (just before 10am dressage time), with a fair way to drive, no time to walk XC between phases, we decided to go up the day before and "camp" overnight. Heidi had a temporary stable booked and I managed to get a bed in my friend's lorry. :) Arrived Sat dinner time and Heidi settled into her stable quite the thing, very happy to go in and carry on munching her haynet.

I was able to walk the XC, get back and plait Heidi's mane and then do another lap od the XC before it got dark. Then dinner for Heidi (and me!) and off to bed.

Was really nice getting up and no having to worry about travelling! Was nice just having plaits to roll up, tail to plait and then a quick groom and we were ready! Heidi was very excited in the warm up (you could see the XC from it!) but we managed to survive the test with a little more accuracy than previous attempts, even though we still struggled with the "pokey nose"! Free walk was really good though with no jogging, so that was an improvement. Got a mix of 6s and 7s with a few 5s to end up with 38.5pen (61.5%) which is our best BE dressage score to date, hooray! Some photos below, as usual, the nicest is of the halt/relief of the dressage being over! ;)

Quick addition of boots and breastplate and onto the SJ. Arena was right in front of tents/tradestands, so was hoping she wouldn't be too spooky. Fairly hyper warming up, didn't do too much as she was still plenty warm enough from dressage and she knows what SJ is all about. Had a really nice round, getting nice strides to all the fences with no horrible short or long strides but sadly just tipped the upright before the double with her back legs, we were on a nice stride/pace, so think it was just complacency/laziness there, as you can see in the 3rd photo, she was certainly giving other fences on course plenty of air! ;)

No.8- the offending fence that gave us 4 faults!;

So then cursing the 4 faults SJ (usually our strong phase!) when we had our best ever dressage (typical!) we had a quick tack/clothing change at the stables and headed over to the XC. Course was really nice but quite hilly so I was hoping we were both fit enough! Had a really good ride, first 4 fences up the first hill a little wiggly (not sure if she was trying to head for the PN/Novice fences or the other horses in the warm up?!) but jumping nicely.

Then down the hill, sharp turn and over the double of roll tops fine and then the Helsinki step at no.6;
A sharp 180deg turn and gallop up the hill and over the chair on a slight angle at no.7;

And then a gallop up a really steep hill to no.8;

We then cleared the palisade, drop, shark's teeth, wall, half coffin, log, corner, brush fence, water and another wall with only a slight hesitation on her way down towards the water! (Princess Heidi does not particularly like getting her feet wet/muddy!) However we did get canter rather than trot once in and got a nice jump out over the roll top.

Back in the main field and a gallop towards the penultimate table fence;

Then over the last fence to finish clear, yay! :D Hoped I'd remembered to kick on after the fences and not dilly dally too much as we had time pens at both BE90s last year. Took ages for XC times to go up, but was thrilled when they did to find out were were inside the optimum time... by a whole 20s! Very pleased as she didn't feel like she was struggling at all, even with all the hills. :)

Got our hopes up when the commentator announced a provisional top 10 for our section with us in 10th place, but it turned out we ended up 11th, very frustrating with BE rosettes going to 10th place! Without the pole down SJ we'd have been 5th! But very pleased for our first ODE of the year, hopefully we can keep improving the dressage and get back to clear SJ/keep the clear, fast XCs, not asking for much really?! ;)

Thanks to my Mum for coming down to watch and cheer us on (and bring mini eggs, yum!) and Bob for sprinting around the XC taking lots of photos. :D

Next event is Scone BE90 on Sat 24th April, can't wait, definitely got the bug back! :D

Sunday, 4 April 2010

XC schooling in the sunshine!

Had a lovely day up at Lindores XC course doing a little XC schooling as preparation for our first BE of the year at Kirriemuir next weekend. Heidi was very enthusiatic and on really good form, jumping everything first time of asking. We jumped everything that we could find that had a ditch involved and she was really good, didn't even hesitate or think about stopping, even over the coffin or quite an airy trakhener. :)

Had her jumping nice and confidently on/off the bank and also had a really good couple of runs through a drop fence to tyre fence combo. Water fence was too deep to do more than wade through although with the course being on a hill, the ground was spot on and not too wet at all. :) She jumped really nicely over their pretty skinny corner fences too, so very pleased.

Hopefully she will be as enthusiastic and good next weekend!

A wee SJ lesson with David Gatherer at SNEC tomorrow night for a last minute tune up and then some dressage practice at home through the week. As our section next weekend is on first and it's quite a distance away, we are going up the day before and staying over. It will be our first time "camping" together, hope she likes it and behaves! She will be stabled on site and I have had the lovely offer of a space in my friend's lorry which will be far warmer/comfier than a tent. :)

Sadly no photos from today, but Bob being dragged along next weekend! :)