Eventer’s Challenge @ Aston-le-Walls (Pre-Novice/100)


SJ Jumping Pens: 4  SJ Time Pens: 0
 XC Jumping Pens: 20  XC Time Pens: 0
 Course Distance: nk Optimum Time: 2m 55secs
 My Time: 3min 20secs  Total Penalties: 24  Placing: not placed

Last to go again today! After our win at the November ‘Eventer’s Challenge’ at Aston-le-Walls, I decided to upgrade from the Intro (90) to the Pre-Novice (100) to see how we fared.

On my own today, I got there early and watched a few go before I went to get ready, the course looked very do-able but the SJ was clearly more tricky than last time – with sharper turns and less time for re-gaining balance etc. the XC phase looked up to height and included 2 ditches.  There were a number of issues I noticed – the SJ didn’t throw up any major problems; there were issues in the XC with a number of skinnies; there was a gallop up the track a the top of the KBIS arena then down the chute to a skinny corner; a few people had run outs or stops at this (approaching too fast mainly); other issues were jumping back out of the SJ arena into the KBIS arena over the ditch/drop and then to skinny barrel.  A number of horses objecting to the ditch and then a few run outs at the barrel.

Finn warmed up well – the fences in the warm up were quite big – but she wasn’t put off!  SJ felt good until we lost concentration coming to the viaduct wall (fence 4) – she took the top rail.  I got her concentration back and we cleared the rest of the course.  She had a good look at the final double (fence 9) and I had to really ride her – giving her a little smack in the one stride to the second element.

Down the slope then to the XC phase.  She was flying, fence 3 was a big box skinny – no hesitation- I was careful not to chase her and we met it perfectly.  Fence 4 was the open ditch – I over rode it and she stopped!  Did it second attempt and then the rest of the course rode beautifully – until the water.

IMG_1019We were supposed to just splash in and then out up a step then onto another skinny – the triple brush.  However, I took a bad line, going to the left of the house in the water and Finn locked onto a rather sizable Novice jump – which was designed as the novice jump INTO the water.  Finn was not having any of my attempts to focus her onto the step and ‘popped’ out over the left hand fence!  I circled her and jumped out correctly up the step to avoid elimination.  The photo shows the correct B element on the right; we did the left….  The photo doesn’t do it justice really – it was quite an ask out of the water.  Anyway – she made it feel easy and then cleared the triple brush and the joker fence in fine style!

As I left the arena there were a group of people watching on the bank – one chap said that we made jump out of the water “look like nothing”.

Anne Taylor was commentating, I saw her after and she laughed and asked me what the f*** was I thinking of adding that the mare certainly has some scope!  It was a compliment I guess, but doesn’t say a lot for my steering.

BDWP had us on 44 pens – but we only had the 4 faults at the viaduct wall and one stop at the open ditch – perhaps they awarded the other 20 pens for jumping the wrong element out of the water?  I did correct the mistake – but who knows?!?  It makes no difference to the round so no point making an issue of it.