The 3am alarm clock wasn’t that welcome on our first morning heading to Rockingham but once we arrived I remembered why we always travel up to such a fantastic venue with great courses and a really big match atmosphere.
I only had one ride on the first day; CLASS SPEC in his 2nd BE100 as I was also coaching Helena Vardag Walters with her two horses.
Specs was very good in the dressage performing a real “clear round” with no mistakes to lead the section on a 25. He followed it up with a really impressive double clear round a fairly tough track which really needed them to be bold right from the start. He made the whole thing feel like childs play and finished ahead of the section to WIN! A fantastic result for such an exciting young horse, it was also wonderful that his co owner Brenda Watson was there to watch him and pick up his prize – such a clever baby who will now enjoy a few weeks break to think about all he has achieved in such a short space of time!
Day 2 we were back with MONARTS MASTERPIECE for the CCI***S. After his slight loss of confidence at Chastworth we decided to drop him down a level to regain his trust and make him feel really happy again. He certainly did just that with a fresher than usual test to score 33 and a flawless double clear making the whole thing feel ridiculously easy – I couldn’t believe it when I came through the finish to hear that I had been eliminated for missing the penultimate XC fence. When I had walked the course earlier that day there had been a nasty fall very near the fence I had missed and the poor girl had had a number of vehicles as well as tall black screens surrounding her. Obviously not wanting to get in the way we had walked swiftly by but in doing so totally missed an innocuous looking table set out to the side which was obscured by all the ambulances. I should have of checked the program before I set out so I was furious with myself but couldn’t take away from the amazing feel Smudge gave me so onwards to Bramham for him.
Day 3 was another scarily early morning but it was definitely worth it to be riding BAYANO in the OI and VARDAGS SARATOGA in the INT. Bayano was his usual consistent self to score a competitive 28 on the flat and then jump a lovely double clear to finish in 4th place. The perfect prep run for him before Luhmuhlen in a few weeks time. Sara stayed consistent in the dressage to score a 31, a very pleasing mark for her at this stage when she is still finding the dressage slightly challenging. She too jumped a speedy double clear which was good enough to WIN! A fantastic result for this special, if a little quirky mare and her owner Ayesha Vardag – Sara will now head to Tatts for the CCI***L.
A massive thank you to our whole team for making 3 really long days possible – very little sleep was had but with all the horses performing brilliantly it was worth the extra hours.