Yorkie @ Belton
EEEK not long now till Badminton, Duck is wrapped up in a lot of cotton wool at the moment.
After Lincoln the snow came back with a vengeance and we were snowed in for the two weeks between it and Burnham Market, which made preparations a little interesting. It meant that not a circle was turn or a jump jumped between the two competitions but not knowing what the weather would bring for the rest of the season thought we better crack on!
Spike got us started at Burnham in the Novice, improving in the Dressage and Show Jumping and rock solid XC. Rusty had a couple of moments in his Dressage test when he hit the reverse button, he did then jump like a buck to get one of his re CIC *** qualifications. In the Intermediate Yorkie also settled well to make a big improvement to his Dressage mark, Show Jumping also coming, a little less strong XC, so much more consistent from him. Duck was running in the Advanced doing a very smart test that had him at the business end after the Dressage, steady XC in preparation for the big B. Elton also did a good test in the Intermediate much better in the SJ with a new kerb chain, unlucky rather than cocky to have a couple of poles he then jumped really well XC finish 8th.
We headed back down south again for Belton normally one of my favorite events, have to say that this time it wasn't quite up there at the very top! Yorkie had a very uncharacteristic little blip going into the water but again did a better Dressage test. Elton did a good test then jumped a really good Clear SJ in the CIC ** he was going fab XC till we had a bit of a crash, poor Elton, there were a couple of other nasty falls at that fence so hopefully we will see something different there next year. Rusty’s Dressage still had a bit of tension and there was quite a lot more tension in his SJ, 40mph winds to jump in was not his idea of fun, so we withdrew for another day.
Having been stressie in his last couple of tests we took Rusty up to Gleneagles to do 3 tests, so that he would have a chance to relax in the arena a little bit, we also took Harry, they both got red rosettes which is always nice!
We were back at Gleneagles at the weekend for their Hunter Trail, it was Harry's first XC, little bit wobbly but an exciting one for the future. William and Cracker also getting there first XC runs of the season, William was feeling a little cheeky and wanted to make sure I didn't get to big for my boots so we had the odd un planned detour on the way round! Cracker was on his best behavior though finishing 3rd.
Whoooo nearly all caught up! Just back from Inchcoonans BS today with Harry 3rd in the 90cm, Cracker 2nd in the 1m, Spike just had the first fence in the 1.10, Yorkie had a couple of poles in the 1.15 with Rusty picking up 2nd in that class too.
I will attempt to keep my Eventing page on facebook updated throughout Badminton, but quite often with so many phones in one place they can become temperamental!
Rusty shows off his moves in the snow
The good news to bring in March is that I have got a fab new sponsor in Robinson Animal Healthcare, http://www.robinsonhealthcare.com
lots of their products you will all be familiar with as they are firm favourites when ever there is a drama such as Animalintex, Equiwrap, Flexoplast, Koolpak Instant Ice Pack and Vetalintex. Hopefully I wont need to test out any of the products any time soon, but I can say from past experience they are great!
The weather has been truly miserable for March but we did pick the right first Event in Lincoln as it was the only one running in the country last weekend, cant say that it was tropical weather but at least we got to knock off the rust. I was getting very worried that I wasn’t going to get Elton XC schooling before we left, as the snow had come in again here and we were stuck at home. There was however a small break on the Thursday before leaving on Friday so I scampered up to Bacilton for a quick flip round, which was great and amazingly enough the ground was just about perfect, one water jump was out of action with a large amount of ice but that was all, so it meant that I felt a lot more prepared heading off south.
I had five entered for Lincoln, Spike for the Novice on Saturday, then Elton and Yorkie in the Intermediate, Duck and Rusty in the OI on Sunday. But with the panic that the weather was going to stop me from XC schooling Elton and the weather forecast down there I decided to swop Elton to the ON on Sat. Really pleased that I did as by the time he would have been due to run on Sunday the weather and the ground had really deterioted.
Spike was the first to go and did not a bad test for 36, two poles SJ were a little unlucky but not totally unacceptable in very tacky ground and like all of mine slightly lacking in rounds jumped recently, due to snow stopping us getting the normal preparations in. He then jumped a super round XC little bit spooky at all the life size freisian cows dotted around the place. Elton having switched into the ON was next and as always did a nice test 32 little fresh mistakes before the first medium but a good start. He then was very full of himself SJ and just ran through the bridle, 3 down was not a very popular start with the jockey! So a little tweak will be made to the brakes and I hope we will see a big difference next time. XC he was fantastic so no complaints there!
Yorkie had the best of the ground on Sunday with an early start. I was really pleased with him throughout, his Dressage mark didn’t really reflect the big improvements he has made, he got a 43 due to a blip early on which then clouded the Judges opinion of him and slightly capped his mark, but all his transitions were smooth and correct so I was very pleased. We just need to make sure we don’t break into canter/ bouncing in the first medium next time! SJ he had the first fence but then jump a super round, XC no problem. It was a very speedy turn around to get to Ducks Dressage, but just managed with Ali West lungeing him, he was pretty focused for his first outing, again a couple of little fresh moments that took his mark down a little but that is the whole point of the first run of the season to hopefully get that all out of the system before the big parties. 1 pole SJ was just unlucky and a good XC in a snow storm and pretty terrible ground for him. Rusty really had to battle the elements with Dressage in the Snow, SJ in some serious mud and the same for the XC with some very heavy rain thrown in too. He did a good test 30, again one wee fresh blip so I will be working on no little extras from all of them next time! SJ he jumped fantastically just touching the middle of the treble but really enjoying himself and the same on the XC he loved the mud and although we just had a steady round to make sure we had a good confidence run to start the year and hopefully set us up for a fun season he came back with a 10th rosette.
Very excitingly Duck is into Badminton, I am trying to keep his training plan on track but we have been in snow since returning from Lincoln which is not helping but at least it is deep enough and now cold enough that I can ride in it, which wasn’t the case at the start of the week. The FEI’s name still cant be mentioned in this house, as their rule change has meant that Rusty will miss out on Badminton, so frustrated for Grace that her lovely horse will be missing out.
All being well we are off to Burnham Market on Wednesday with the same five, if we can get the lorry out!
Harry at his first ever jumping show
I am quite looking forward to the end of February it has been a bit of a month to forget, far too many dramas for my liking. The main one is that the FEI in their wisdom (not a word I am really associating with them at the moment) have from the first of Jan changed all their rules for the qualifications for International events, which is giving me some very sleepless nights.
When I took over the ride on Rusty we planned what we wanted to do, pre Badminton and all seemed on track till the BE rule book 2013 appeared. Because he is a relatively new ride, there is a possibility that he wont be allowed to go to Badminton. This is so frustrating as if we had been given an inkling that they were planning any rule changes, we could have gone to Pau last year (we thought it un necessary to do a 58hr round trip to do a 4* with a combination that was qualified for Badminton over a 3hr round trip to do a 3*). As Badminton entries close so early we cannot sort the problem, as there are no events in Europe before hand of a high enough level. It is a nightmare that the FEI have failed to give riders time to adapt, so if anyone else is in the same boat get on to BE or the ERA as ASAP, as the more people that let them know if their plans will be effected the better.
Snow didn’t hamper our trip to Gleneagles for the Arena Event this time, so all 7 got there party thanks to the extra wheels proved by the Morans. Harry was Fabby at his very first jumping show, super cool in the collecting ring, he started off his round a little wobbly, but got the hang of it by the end just having the last pole down. William also blasted round with one pole. It was then the turn of Cracker who was sooooo pleased to be out a huge smile on his face and a nice 2nd rosette pinned on his bridle. Elton and Yorkie also jumped good double clears and then Rusty had one pole in the OI but jumped a really nice round. Duck was slightly hampered by his jockey who got a bit competitive! He touched a pole so then I thought I better go quickly which wasn’t really the best idea so 2 poles, bad jockey mustn’t get to carried away!
It was then off down south with Duck and Rusty to Carl Hester’s for two days training, we filled up the lorry with Liz Mackenzie and David Gatherer plus horses, so he had a bit of a Scottish invasion. Both the boys were really good we might have the odd thing to work on before we’re perfect though!!!! The lessons are great but it is also fab to see all of Carl’s horses working, it always gives you a bit of a boot up the bum and something to try and achieve!!!
The drive home wasn’t quite as speedy as the trip down with a bit of a drama when we reached Cheshire, luckily we went into Sandbach services only to discover the lorry was losing water which then led to a very large recovery truck being needed to take us home ahhhhhhhhh, in fact it was two, as the first ran out of drivers hours, so we had to swop on to another one at Todhall.
After that longer than planned trip home, I headed up to Gleneagles to teach a full days XC clinic. It hadn’t been all plain sailing either with a last minute change of venue but it was fab of Gleneagles to step into the breech and it all worked out great. We were then meant to be heading back down to Cheshire the following day for the World Class Equine Pathway training and also a spot of XC schooling before hand, but with the lorry off being mended and the horses having had such a long trip home thought we had had plenty excitement!
Entries are in for Lincoln so really hope less drama in March and a good outcome from the FEI, pretty please!
Spike showing off his moves arena eventing
Well do I start with babies, puppies, rosettes, snow, rain or lorry drama? It has been a little bit eventful since Christmas, the horses are all on good form and just about fully up to speed for the start of the season. We just need to take them cantering which I think for the first time I wont be able to do here, as there is still snow on the top of the hill and the ground is so wet I don’t want to spoil it for the rest of the season.
Snow at the start of the month meant that we had a week of fittening work round the fields, with deep snow adding to the effort needed. It also nearly stopped us making it to the first of the Arena Events, as it took a morning to dig out the lorry and get it to the top of the drive. We had intended to take Harry, William and Cracker in the morning but they will have to wait till the next one for their party. Spike, Yorkie, Rusty and Duck did get to strut their stuff though, all remembering what was needed to jump well. I was particularly pleased with Yorkie, who jumped a very good double clear, we have worked hard with him all winter and it was very nice to have him come out more relaxed and ride able. Duck was his fab self as always and won the OI, to add to Rusty and Yorkies 6th placings.
We have also had another freezing late night outing to Gleneagles a few Thursdays ago, to do some Dressage with Duck and Rusty in the Medium and Yorkie in the Elementary. Well worth while, a win for Duck and 3rd and 4th for the other two.
Now on to all the hatch’s that have been taking place! Grace and Mark (Rusty,s owner) have a lovely little (growing fast!) baby boy called Liam who has been on his best behavior so far! Jinty was a couple of days later with the production of some new borns with 6 puppies, so cute, it is taking me a little longer to get out to the stables as I have to stop and have a little chat to them, before going out in the cold!
The lorry was a bit of a star in diverting drama this month as we arrived to jump at Edenside for Alistair to hear a hissing noise and see the front tyre going down rapidly. Luckily it happened while we were there and we managed to jump whilst it was getting fixed so no hanging about thankfully.
Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way…… !!! It is very nearly Christmas and the end of 2012, which has been a good season for the horses and hopefully will lead on to a very exciting 2013. December has been a bit of a challenge with ice and snow making it very difficult to do anything at the start of the month and then rain slowing everything down towards the end.
We have managed to tick along and once the ice had gone enough to get the lorry safely out, we spent four days going backwards and forwards to Edenside to ride in their nice indoor. That then led on to some Dressage at Gleneagles, in -4 temperatures on a Thursday night with Harry, Yorkie and Rusty which had a bit of an eventful start! Having been dotting back and forward to Edenside there wasn’t much diesel in the lorry, but as any locals will know Moto Kinross is a little pricey at the pumps so I was very confidant we would make it to Perth en route to Dressage to fill up! Whooops!!!! We did make it but the lorry cut out just as we turned into the petrol station, no problem down hill all the way to the pumps! Little problem, without the engine no power steering! So I would hate to see the CCTV footage of mum and I both hauling on the steering wheel trying to turn the lorry! Anyway, all was fine, we just rolled to the pumps the lorry had a wee drink and off we went again, what a star the lorry is!!!!!
Getting back to the Dressage all three did nice tests, Harry got a bit bored and added a bit of jumping over the white boards, but over all went well. Yorkie and Rusty both did nice settled tests and I was happy with how they are coming on, so all heading in the right way.
Two really good bits of news for Duck this month, in that the BE riders and horse rankings are out both Duck and I are in the top 100 which is fab, but will definitely be looking to go higher again next year! I then got a letter to say that Duck had been placed onto the World Class Equine Pathway which is really good and hopefully we will get a little bit of extra training from it. Really nice to have his efforts from this year rewarded, a win at Floors, one of only 4 double clears at Bramham, 3rd in the CIC*** at Hopetoun as well as another Burghley completion to name just the few of his highlights.
The end of November brought the BE Scotland ball so we had a bit of an Owners from Craigow outing, which was fun and as always supper is always very prompt so I failed to catch up with everyone quite as much as I would of liked. After Dinner there is the Scottish Awards and it was nice to improve the table decorations with some silverware! With the presentation of the Scottish Novice Championship trophy for Elton and then the Events Show Jumping trophy for Stanway, looking back up the list of past winners it was lovely to see mine and Melody Rivers name at the very start, a few moons ago now! Reports on him though are that he is feeling very pleased with himself and not acting at all like his 21 years so hopefully he and Mark will be out and about again next season, it is so nice that he is have such a fun retirement /comeback!
Tentative plans are being put in place for next season, along with the B and C plans that are always needed when horses are involved but all being well I will hopefully take a good lorry load down to start the season as normal at Lincoln, which is just short of 3 months away.
Happy Christmas everybody and fingers crossed for a fab 2013. Thank you so much to TopSpec and Mountain Horse and HorseScotland for your support throughout 2012. The horses have looked and felt great thanks to the fantastic food from TopSpec, I have looked smarter and been dry and warm in this horrible weather thanks to the great kit from MH and we have had a few extra lessons thanks to HorseScotland. All of which are invaluable.
Thanks also to all the owners it has been a treat to have all of your lovely horses this year and hopefully we will go on to bigger and better things again next year.
Kings Berry @ Auchinleck,3rd in the Advanced 2003!
Well the event season might have finished but there definitely hasn’t been time to put are feet up with all the horses in work again. Duck and Rusty both had a month off, so they started back with a couple of weeks of walking and are now back in the school as well as hacking. All the horses are feeling really well and it is a job not getting them too fit, we keep having to going for long hacks to take the sting out of them but that leads to even longer ones the next time!
Harry and Yorkie have even hit the party scene!!!! Well they went to a Dressage competition!!!! It was Harry’s first ever competition and he was fab, he did the Scottish Farmer Prelim qualifier at Gleneagles and was a bit of a pro, behaving really well. We might not have been crowned dressage queens but he came away with a nice pink rosette and a big pat! Yorkie did two classes and I was pleased with him in both, the plan is to try and take him out quite a bit so that he becomes more relaxed, he likes to be two steps ahead of me, so I need to catch up. He came away with a rosette as well, so it was a good trip out again, even if the rosettes weren’t quite as red as I might have liked!!!!
I have added a facebook eventing page, imaginatively named Louisa Milne Home Eventing!!! There is a very small link to it at the top of my website header (will try and make it bigger!). So there is lots of extra photos from Burghley and Blair on there as well as some real blast from the past, of the orgianal dream team! There is also a chance to win a bag of feed from TopSpec for anyone that ‘likes’ the page in November.
Stan jumping his way to 2nd place at Aske
The final Event of the season is completed and just in time before the gales and floods started! In fact we were really lucky and it was a lovely sunny day and the ground was pretty good.
Stan was on Fab form and did a really lovely test which left him on a score of 25 very impressive as there is always the added challenge of the arenas being on a bit of a slope! He Show Jumped really well just getting a little stuck in the mud at one point for a really unlucky pole, before whizzing round the cross country for one of the fastest Novice times and a nice 2nd place rosette!
Spike had his 2nd Novice run and felt very comfortable at it, his Dressage was nice and mistake free, so we just need to get it more polished now for next year. Show Jumping I hassled him a bit at the start of the round, which meant he had 3 poles but then settle down and jumped well to finish. Cross Country he was very confidant so now we just need the start of the 2013 to come around!!!!!
Yorkie was having a run in the Intermediate and there were more improvements to his Dressage with more relaxation and only a little blip to the canter strike off to the left, so it will be a winter of practice practice, practice! I was a quite disappointed with him in the Show Jumping, as he had a bit of a careless start to the course but then like Spike finished jumping really well. The main reason for taking him out for one more run after Blair was just to try and go into the winter knowing I had refined the brakes, a minor tweak to the positioning of the rein made a big difference and I had a really great ride on him with improved steering and brakes, so I am looking forward to working with him over the winter and then I think he will be one to watch for next year.
The end of the season has meant that I have had a bit of time to work away with Nimbus and my new purchase, which I am really excited about, it is looking great and ooooow it jumps!!!!
I had a rush of blood to the head before Burghley and bought a five year old from Edenside, ahhhh, not sure when I will have time to get started with him but hopefully another Duck in the making, bit of work to go before then though!
We headed to Burghley on the Tuesday so that we were all set to trot up on the Wednesday, it was great to be back there and nice not to feel like the new bee this time! I had my first look at the course on Wednesday and it looked great the ground was in really good shape and the course looked very similar to last year with the odd tweak to the combinations. I had been given one of the very last numbers squeezed in between William FP and Mark Todd which meant that I was right at the end of Fridays Dressage so it was a pretty packed house, but Duck was fab doing a really good test baring one mistake with a change and a little skip in the extended trot. There was a little variation with the marks one being 10 marks behind which was a bit annoying, so the mark was down a little on what I thought it should have been.
There was no rush on cross country day as I didn’t go till 5 o’clock so I mooched about catching up with people and watching some of the early runners go in the riders tent before getting Duck out for a pipe opener at about two o’clock. Then it was down to business, Duck was fantastic making it all feel like an every day advanced he was a lot less bothered by the spectators this year, so was galloping without looking about so much. He was foot perfect through everything, till the pair of us a had a bit of a moment at the last water, I might have just got a little complacent and he never focused on a very innocuous boat out of the water. A very simple fence and a very frustrating 20 pen before going on to finish a cracking round, we won’t make that mistake again!
He then had a short night to recover before trot up and Show Jumping on the Sunday as he was jumping again at 10.45. He trotted up great and then went on to Jump having two early poles before really switching on and jumping well, he felt pretty good but the ground had been pretty tacky on the cross country and think it just took a little while for him to really loosen up. So his second Burghley completion ticked and he is home safe and sound, good boy! If you are feeling very keen you can click on the following link to watch my rounds. Burghley TV
It was then back up the road and back onto everything at home, so that they would be set for Aswanley at the weekend. We took William and Spike for the BE 100 and Harry for the IN, but on arrival and after a look at the course, I got brave and moved Spike into the Novice. The course was looking great, its was no push over with lots of ditches and two decent waters but I thought he needed a challenge and I am glad I did as he jump really well, just touching one pole SJ and then fab XC. William had fun whizzing round his class, I nearly hampered him with a little bit of bad course walking, which meant that a quick wheelie was needed to right ourselves. Harry show jumped really well for another clear but then had a couple of blips xc, luckily we where staying up for an extra night to catch up with all the relations, so he got another spin around the following day.
Only one more event to go, which is a bit sad!
King Eider at Burghley jumping the very large Cotesmore leap
All back safe and sound from Blair, we had a really good week with Rusty and Yorkie both putting their best hoof forward! It was a bit more hectic than I thought as with just 3 horses up (Duck came for a few days) I was thinking I might have a bit of a holiday! But both Yorkie and Rusty take a little bit of acclimatizing, so they got ridden quite a lot before their Dressage, so no quiet days for me!
Rusty did his test on Thursday morning and I was really pleased with him he stayed relaxed and baring a little break before the second medium he did a really nice test, bits to work on over the winter but there always is!. Yorkie was on Friday and again I felt a big improvement with how he is going the down side was that both he and I tried to sabotage his test with me going wrong twice and him stressing into the canters, but otherwise a really good test that is being to show signs of getting very smart!
Cross Country was on Saturday afternoon and Rusty set the standard high by giving me a cracking ride round the 3 star, so nippy on his feet and really straight. The course proved to be really tough and half the field was knocked out leaving him in 8th over night. The 2 star was also proving to be a tough track, so I was really chuffed that Yorkie jumped a good clear. He was quite strong which was expensive on the time but I definitely can’t knock him on his bravery! As long as I can point him at it he seems to Jump it! I think I might have been one of the few that was pleased there were hills and mud as it meant that he was a bit more settled from the top of the hill on. So more minor tweaks to be made to the bitting and then hopefully he will be great.
They trotted up well on Sunday morning before Show Jumping in the afternoon. Yorkie jumped one of only five double clears to finish 16th in the 2* and then Rusty jumped really well just knocking two poles, but staying 8th. All being well and with a lot of cotton wool for them both, he will hopefully join Duck on the road for Badminton, in the spring.
On my return from Blair I got an e-mail for British Eventing, to say that Elton had in fact won the Scottish Novice Championships, which was a lovely surprise and great that having won the Novice there last year he went back to win again. BE had made a bit of a mess up, which meant that poor Olivia was put in the wrong class with Zebedee, being Grade 1 he was not eligible to be in the Novice Champs, so the results have been amended.
Porthill Rusty Nail, 3rd Scottish Intermediate Champs
Stan was on top form again at Hendersyde finishing in 2nd on the same score as first in the Scottish BE100 Championships. He did a good test and then whizzed round the cross country, show jumping was run in reverse order, to add to the tension. He was a bit surprised to be heading out again but jumped a lovely clear. We were just a bit faster than the winner on the XC, who where closer to optimum time which meant they finished ahead.
We also had William and Spike down for the BE 100 and they both did good tests, Spike putting in his best performance so far for a 31. William was a little spooky when it came to the SJ fillers, so there was a lot of kicking from me and I was quite pleased with 8 faults! Spike had a rub for 4 faults. They both then went on to jump really nice XC rounds.
We returned to Hendersyde on the Sunday with Harry for his first Event with me, but the Scottish weather had other ideas and after making it to Kelso, we turned around and headed back through some very large floods. Making a stop at Oatridge to their dry indoor where we jumped 2 rounds, so at least we made it to a competition! A few poles down each time, but on the whole he jumped nicely and behaved really well.
The following weekend the lorry was loaded for Eglington, with some of the big boys. Elton was in the Scottish Novice Championships, which is run as an Intermediate Novice and he put on his posh shoes for the Dressage, followed by his jumping shoes!!!! One pole Show Jumping followed by a blast round the XC left him in 2nd.
Rusty was in the Scottish Intermediate Championships, so we had an Advanced Dressage and Show Jumping followed by an Intermediate Cross Country and he added to the rosette haul finishing in 3rd . Jumping well, just getting a little unbalanced in the double for 8 faults in the Show Jumping. Yorkie was also getting a run before Blair in the Intermediate and I was pleased with him, with a more relaxed dressage and Show jumping round. XC we had a very leisurely canter round with was very nice!!!!
It was then on to Richmond with Stan (Novice) and Harry (Open Novice), the weather warnings were out, but luckily when we arrived they were aggravating! And the rain stayed away. Stan got a little tense in the Dressage, when the score collectors arrived with thier Hi-Vis on, but then went on to jump a really good double clear, feeling fab. Harry had a bit of a wait for his Dressage as the Dressage judge was very late to arrive but he did a good test, going on to jump a double clear as well which was a good start! We were meant to be rushing home to turn around to go to Drumclog but the weather had caught up with us and it was cancelled so Spike and William have a weekend at home.
Next stop is Blair with Yorkie and Rusty, before Burghley with Duck