It’s been a busy start to the season for all three of the Young Eventers Programme riders. Our latest blog gives each rider chance to reflect on the season so far.
“We’ve had a great start to the season! All the horses have come out feeling fantastic from their winter work. The main aim I had for the Spring was getting HD Bronze to Badminton, but after not getting off the waitlist we made the decision to aim for the Bramham u25 Championship instead.
HD Bronze has come out feeling amazing and following on from some changes we made last year I really feel like I have him back feeling on top form again. I can’t wait to see how he gets on at Bramham especially with it being my last year in u25’s we want to give it our best shot.
Shanbeg Cooley has exceeded all expectations this spring! With him only turning 8 this year and with him now jumping double clear at five 3* events I thought it would be nice to step him up to 4* at Chatsworth with the aim of getting him to Bramham to do the 4*s. He performed fantastically at Chatsworth and so excited to see how he gets on at Bramham.
After a bit of time off HD The One made his comeback to eventing at the end of last year and came out feeling great this! He quickly stepped back up to 3* and took the win in the intermediate at Richmond, plus 3rd at Rockingham 3*! The plan is no to take him to Bramham as well.
I never thought at the start of the season I would potentially have 3 horses that I’ve produced myself heading to Bramham! Can’t wait to see how they get on and hopefully if HD Bronze runs well there the plan will be to head to Burghley later in the year.”
This season got off to a slightly rusty start for me at Oasby in the Intermediate. I came out of the start box for the first time in 2022 on my experienced Advanced horse, The Buzz Factor, riding fairly backwards. This resulted in a silly 20 penalties which was disappointing as we are an established partnership, and the mistake was complacent. Annoying as it was at the time though, it really showed me where I needed to step up if I wanted to achieve my goals for this year. We went grass cross-country schooling (something I hadn’t managed before Oasby) and got back into jumping out of a proper, forward rhythm.
Next time out at Thoresby in the 4* we did a personal best dressage and a great double clear to finish 25th out of 118+ in a really strong field. A month later at Cirencester Buzz came second in the Advanced behind Tom McEwen with another good test, and he was the only horse of the day to finish on his dressage score. I don’t think we would have gone so well subsequently if I hadn’t made my mistake at Oasby as I wouldn’t have thought so hard about where I needed to brush up.
His improving top level dressage marks have been a delight, and a lot of it stems from a breakthrough Pippa (Funnell) and I had in January with him during our Wesko Equestrian Foundation training camp.
My younger horse, Icarus X, had quiet runs at Oasby and Thoresby before stepping back up to Advanced level with fabulous double clears at both Cirencester and Chatsworth. I was especially pleased with him at Chatsworth as it was the biggest atmosphere he has ever been exposed to and he handled it with such maturity.
My two five-year-olds have been coming along nicely and both went double clear around their first 90cm. They will hopefully step up to 100cm soon before possibly aiming at some 5YO classes. It has been a bit of a shock eventing at two opposite ends of the spectrum with nothing in between, but it is incredibly rewarding in such different ways.
My May/ June plans are well under way with Houghton looming where I will run Juela in the 3*-L. CMS Google will be coming to Houghton as a companion for me to work and compete in the combined training ahead of her big run at Bramham in the 4*-L. I will also have Slaney Cruise at Bramham in the 4*-S.
Google, Juela and Slaney have all been having prep runs ahead of their big runs. I tend to save the horses for their big runs rather than worrying about getting inside the time every time out.
Lagrandessa has continued to progress well. She went to Chatsworth 2*-S and put in a great performance. At only 6 years old she coped with the crowds very well. She just had a slight green moment at a C element in a combination from jumping a little big over B. As always to have 20 penalties is a little disappointing but she’s an extremely talented and exciting horse.
The other horses in the yard are all going well and are set for their international runs. Horses are always great levellers just when you think they are all on track I came back down to earth with a thud the other day on Juela. Luckily nothing serious just, a little exuberant on the cross-country. She’s only a small horse but one of the feistiest.
I can’t wait to go back to Pippa’s to further my training with her.
I’d just like to say a massive thank you to An Eventful life for their cross-country videos. I like to analyse my rounds and see how I can improve each horse further.