The count down to Badminton is well under way, and Duck had his final canter today and is feeling really good, so we will have a final jump at Edenside tomorrow before heading down on Wednesday.

Last weekend was meant to be a trip to Auchinleck, but turned out to be a trip to Craigie, as after loading up the lorry and making it to Kinross, Auchinleck was cancelled so a quick change of direction was needed.  I took Stan, Spike and William to Craigie Hunter Trail, which was great fun and the ground was fantastic.   Stan, and Spike were both clear, William blotted his copy book by running past a very straight forward box jump then jumping everything else with out batting an eye, he has a big sense of humour and likes to make sure I don’t get to big for my new boots!!!!!

The weekend before was a bit further a field, when I took Duck and Elton to Weston Park.  Duck was 7th in the Advanced jumping a really good Double clear, there was a bit of drama when he was chased by a dog from fence 2 to 7.  Elton was in the Intermediate and jumped a good clear cross country, but I think I will be looking for a change of brakes again!

Really pleased to say that I have a new Sponsor in Mountain Horse and the eagle eyed of you will have noticed that I was wearing a very smart new pair of their Supreme  boots at Kirriemuir and if not you can check them out at any of the coming events!!! Or www.mountainhorse.co.uk  .  They arrived while I was at Belton and where the first thing to be opened when we arrived home at 12 am.  The fit is great and they are lovely soft leather, so I  thought the best thing to do was to take them for a off road test drive with all the young ones going xc schooling before Kirriemuir.  They felt great from the offset and I never had a worry about grip, comfort or any of the other vital things you need to stay on board!

It was then on to Kirriemuir, Stan was on the wait list but got slotted in at the 11th hour which was fab so he was joined by Spike and William on the lorry.  I had managed to get them all along to Montrave for a XC school in the week, which was very useful and great to make use of a different facility when the opportunity comes up.  Kirriemuir was thier first outing on grass and  I was really pleased with all of them, they all settled well and did good tests, not overly flash in the marks all  between 38-39, but no misdemeanors so a good starting point.  They then all Show Jumped clear.  Cross Country both Stan and Spike where clear going really easily and well.  William had a wee blip early on when he ran passed the second part of a double but then went on to excel himself getting better and better.  So hopefully that will be his one and only blip for this season out the way nice and early!

Duck in the CIC *** Belton
The lorry has been notching up the miles this month, which is not

 ideal with the Diesel tricky to come by and then at a very inflated price!!!!

We did however come back with a small amount of prize money from Belton, when Duck put in a very smart performance in the CIC***, we finished  22nd but it was a massive field (about 128 starters) and a very International one with the French, Italians, Australians, New Zealanders, Americans and Japanese all turning up in force, as well as the Brits, it had obliviously been chosen as everyone’s event of choice pre Badminton.

I set off for Belton on Tuesday with Elton and Duck taking a scenic route in order to spend two days smartening up my Dressage with Carl Hester.  As always it was a real help and small little details have been picked up on, to polish in order to get the most out of them. Both went well and I had managed to do January’s homework correctly, so I can now ride a straight line on Duck!!!!!!  Not a problem for Elton, who is a master of the straight line but less so of the spooky corner! Halts and Changes were the other things getting a check up and so that has sharpened me up a bit.

After my lesson on Thursday, I loaded them both up again and wound up the Sat Nav to take me to Belton, where I re-connected with Mum and Suzie (Elton’s other owner) who had come down by train in order to watch the weekends action.  We had Dressage on Friday for both of the boys and they both did really good tests Duck got a 52.5 in the CIC ***  and Elton got a 28 .2 in the OI 7/8 yr old futurity class so both were pretty high up the leader board after day one. 

Elton was the only one running on Sat. He was a bit careless in the Show Jumping which put him back down the pile, we then moved on to XC were he felt really good, he had a run out late on in the course at a influential combination, but he chose the less complicated part of it to run past when his concentration just faltered for a second, which kept the Jump Judges on their toes, he came round and popped it the next time.   Hopefully he will realise the jumps have gone up in the SJ and that will come together again, but he really felt like a good horse on the XC and it definitely wasn’t a small or easy run for your first move up to Intermediate!

Duck had no entertainment on Sat and had to wait till Sunday morning and a very anti socially timed trot up on Sunday morning to get back into action again, before a wait till the afternoon for the class to start.  He loved the ground and SJ well with an unlucky 4 faults, he then went straight onto the XC and flew round, feeling really fit and well.  Both the SJ and the XC were causing a lot of problems with some very good horses glancing off, so it was great to have him feeling so good.

Before heading South I had taken Spike, William and Stan as well as the Barges on their horses to Gleneagles for some combined training which was useful.  It was nice to have Stan out again and he as well as all the others came back with a nice load of rosettes!