I'll start off with Warwick Hall. We went to this new venue not entirely sure what to expect. We were bowled over by our 1st impressions- gravel paths all around the grassed lorry area making getting on/ off the fields much easier! The Venue itself was lovely. It's a rather flat venue with dressage and showjumping next to each other but XC is hidden away. The XC course itself was rather flat and didn't have a water feature installed (yet!) but you could certainly see the potential this venue has!
Our Dressage warm up wasn't ideal- I always try to keep H secluded/ try to find a quiet area but the bottom half of the warm up was rather busy due to the SJ warm up restricting the numbers in it therefore having a counter effect. However despite this we went in and produced what I thought was an ok test only later to find out we broke the 30 barrier and scored 29.5, happy days! This left us in the top 10 of our section- the polar opposite from our previous outing when we were in the bottom 5, and in my view the two tests we had produced were very similar!
We had a little wait before SJ, but it was well worth it as H only went and jumped a CLEAR!!! And for a horse that normally suffers from 12 fault-itus that's an achievement!
We went on to the XC with both of us beaming- H showing it via doing some acrobatics when I was trying to get him to canter around! Luckily his enthusiasm remained but in a more controlled format and we stormed around the XC. We had two moments where he thought he was too good to listen to me and took advantage of his snaffle bitting so we went steady at a few jumps to remind him not to get too cocky! Luckily though my pony has a lovely long stride and made the time easily despite the pull's, only to finish 6th on 29.5 (3rd was less than a show jump away it was that close!).
1) It's still as beautiful as ever
2) It's still one of the most friendliest events on the circuit
3) All the courses are old school- big, bold and encourage positivity!
We stabled over night which was at the lovely Kelso Racecourse. The bedding here was fab- lovely clean, deep bedding with facilities for riders. Whilst there we met the Qatar Eventing Team who are aiming for the Asian Games- they were lovely and friendly and explaining their aims with their horses. They had traveled to Floors with their coach Joss Gray, and hope they had a successful time! But H was especially happy as we took him a Likit Boredom Buster to help settle him in over night (ideally it should be freely hung up but for this occasion it worked wonders!)!
Showjumping was in front of the Castle which is lovely. Unfortunately I let the side down and my stupid old habit of hooking then pushing came into force and I ended up costing us 3 down. H really tried but really had no chance- I am still incredibly frustrated with myself as I don't really do it in training and I fully feel like I'm letting my horse down when I do it as he's improved so much!
We thought seemed the Dressage and showjumping was running early we'd head down to the XC. It did end up running early but not by that much. However, because we got down their so early we ended up being the 2nd ones on the course that day. We also produced the 1st clear round of the day! H absolutely loved the course and made it feel rather easy considering its one of the bigger courses at this level which is encouraging as our next BE run will probably be at the next level up.
Although as the day progressed the XC proved to be much more difficult than H made it feel and due to the number of problems and we finished 13th despite my 12 faults from the Show jumping! Yet it was gutting to know that with even one less pole we would have finished at least 9th and with a clear show jump round we would have been at least 4th. But that's eventing I suppose and even some of the best riding at Badminton experienced that 'what if' factor thanks to the Show jumping!
However, the one positive was that we ended up getting another fab photo from Grossick jumping in from of the Castle with our EquiFeast numnah and latest Hows Racesafe Kit on (our last one was from way back in 2005 and still hangs in our lounge!).
My final bit of news regards H's weight. Over winter he looked fab- in fact the best he's ever looked in terms of condition! However, sadly its rapidly dropped off. He's had MOT's and been given the clear so its time to look into new feeding options. Thanks to twitter and advice we have some great ideas to try, although its going to be a long gradual process hopefully we'll get there. So fingers crossed Operation Fatten The Pony Works! Although be warned they'll be lots of bum/ belly photos being published in the near future (Hopefully non of mine though!).
He's a little picture showing his current state: