The 2019 season has started very positively for us with all of the horses putting up some great performances and certainly feeling as though they have come on from a good winters work.
For our first event we headed to Aston le Walls unafilliated with Diamond Holly (Princess) in the NOV and Iriana PFB (Iris) and Vivendi de Vardag (Viva) in the BE100.
Princess was rather excited to be out and was fairly unruly throughout but gave me some great moments in each phase – she is such an enthusiastic mare, there are times when this gets the better of her! Viva scored a solid 32 in the dressage and rolled an unlucky pole, she then gave me a super spin round the XC feeling really keen and positive. It was my first event riding Iris so was somewhat of a fact finding mission. She was lovely in the dressage with some really pleasing movements but also feeling that there is so much more to come from her – she then jumped a lovely double clear feeling seriously classy. Definitely one to watch for this season.
Next up was Tweseldown with some of the more experienced horses. BAYANO and AMAZING VIII in the OI and VARDAGS SARATOGA in the INT. All three were very jolly in the dressage, they produced some lovely work but also added in a few extra moves to keep us on our toes! Amazing jumped a beautiful round SJ but sadly rolled two poles which is very unlike her, but she made up for it giving me a great spin round the XC. Bayano and Saratoga each rolled a pole and also gave me fantastic rides XC – exciting to see what this season holds!
With Pontispool unfortunately rained off it was up to Belton International for our next event this time with BAYANO and MONARTS MASTERPIECE in the CCI****S. AMAZING VIII in the ADV and VARDAGS SARATOGA in the CCI***S.
Vardags Saratoga unfortunately really struggled in the atmosphere in the dressage and tension really took over the test badly affecting her score. She can be very tricky in the dressage and despite working in beautifully we didn’t mange to pull of the test we’d hoped…back to school for her! She made up for it however with a really good double clear round a meaty track to we were thrilled with her overall performance.
Amazing VIII also found the dressage areanas very exciting so lost a few marks thr0ugh tension, but jumped brilliantly picking up 8th place in the Advanced – another fantastic result for the special horse who owes us nothing.
Monarts Masterpiece had some fantastic moments in the dressage but is still a but rusty having not been out at all this season – he jumped a fantastic clear round SJ which is a massive achievement for him as he doesn’t find this phase the easiest. He set off XC well but he definitely suffered for not having any prep runs and we ended the round early. He will have a couple of confidence giving runs and then step up again later in the season.
Bayano was very good on the flat for this stage in the season, performing a very polished test with a few moments of tension to score 31 and sit just outside the top 10 in a huge section of well over 100 horses. He then jumped a beautiful double clear – picking up just 2 time faults XC and I believed we had done enough to clinch the win in the Grantham Cup, a huge accolade at such a prestigious class. Unfortunately when we returned to the lorry it appeared we had bee given 15 penalties under the new “missed flag” rule. This is a new system brought in this season and has caused huge controversy, not least because the ruling punishes horses, riders and owners when they have still jumped the fence and have done their best to answer the question posed. A lot has been said on the topic and we are hoping that the FEI will listen to the riders and the rule will be changed as quickly as possible.