We headed down to Arena UK on Tuesday night with my trusty 5yo Gracie in tow, and my not so trusty little 4yo Rio too. For those who don't know, Rio was broken earlier in the year and has been not so easy to do ever since! He's always been very highly strung and spooky, so when I decided I was going to take him with me to Arena UK, despite him not having ever been to a show or off the yard, and only having jumped a few small courses at home, everyone thought I was being ridiculous( me included)
We arrived a bit late on the Tuesday after work, so didn't have any time to ride them, which I was a little gutted about as I was hoping Rio would get to go out and have a walk around the rings and familiarise himself with them, but instead I got them both put to bed in the dark and that was it for the night.
Wednesday morning came so I went to go walk the courses for the day. Rio was jumping the 95cm open, which just so happened to be in the main ring with all the scary fillers and wings ( just my luck). Gracie was jumping the Discovery qualifier so I headed back to get the first one ready. Rio was the first up, except feeling like I was sat on a ticking time bomb ready to explode he managed to cope with the warm up really well. We trotted around for a few mins and he soon settled then we just popped a few warm up fences and went in. Except being to nosey to go into canter and his head and neck representing a giraffe we got around alive and in 1 piece, for just a fence and a run out at the water tray, which he came back round and jumped absolutely no problem. Success!
Gracie then jumped the Discovery qualifier. I have been working on speeding her up a little as going fast isn't really her thing. Despite a few communication errors where I wanted to go long and she chipped a stride in we finished DC & 24th out of 113, which qualified us for the final and also got us a rosette and some prize money!
Thursday was the turn of Rio jumping the British novice and Gracie the 1.05 qualifier. Rio felt much more confident in the warm up, and all was going well until fence 4 where I had a near miss! I just let him run on a bit and forgot to ride, so he gave me a sharp reminder to book my ideas up and he jumped the rest lovely for just a pole at the double.
Gracie jumped another DC in the 1.05. She felt really well and was very responsive and jumped from everywhere I asked. We wasn't fast enough to qualify on this day though!
Friday I had the 4yo and the 5yo qualifier on each horse. Rio was first up and he warmed up perfectly, he was totally relaxed and was jumping out of his skin for me. He felt amazing around this course. One baby error at the double where he jumped in too big gave us 4faults but he came back and jumped it perfectly! I can't believe he jumped so well around such a 'big' course at his first show with absolutely no experience, he has a really bright future ahead of him.
Gracie felt amazing in the 5yos, she just got a really unlucky pole at the first part of the double! She really didn't deserve it but thats showjumping. She's come on so much since Northcote a few months ago where she jumped the same class but kept going sky high and very un-economcial over everything! This horse is my absolute hero, they'll never be another one like her for me.
Saturday brought a day off for Rio! One more discovery for Gracie even though she had already qualified. She was in the main ring and gave me an amazing ride around. I really pushed her for the first time in her life really in the jump off (Some really awful riding from me in the video) All was going so well until we got the 2nd to last fence in the jump off! So gutted as she really was going well and without it would of been very high in the placings. This set us back to 22nd which still was enough to qualify and get a rossette and some more prize money which is always good!
I didn't jump the GP as I was pleased enough with them both through the week and they are both still very young so lots of time to jump GPs yet. I had an amazing and educational week which has really made me realise where I want to be in the crazy world of showjumping! I'm very lucky to own these amazing horses and have such brilliant people around me such as my dad for constantly driving us around and feeding us, a huge thank you to him!
Thanks for reading, they are on holiday for a bit now but hopefully the good rounds will continue!
The videos to the horses rounds are on my youtube here for anyone who would like to watch them :)