Victoria Bax Blog – Some Success and Some Disappointment
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Victoria Bax Blog – My first event has come and gone with some success and some disappointment. My rising 6 year old Alberta’s Rose (Tilly) kicked my season off at Poplar Park in the BE90 class. She started her eventing career in the second half of last season and by the end had completed 2 BE90 classes so I thought that would be a good starting point.I knew I had put the preparation work in, so was feeling quietly confident that we should have a comfortable completion under our belt.
The day didn’t start off particularly well though as I went to turn the battery isolator switch on in my lorry only to find I had somehow managed to leave it on from the previous usage and you guessed it… the battery was completely and utterly flat so absolutely nothing happened when I turned the key. My immediate thought was to get the battery charger on it ASAP! This I did on one battery by 6.30am. Bearing in mind there are 2 batteries which require enough charge to start the lorry I had to think plan B and that was to get my car and use jump leads to charge the other battery. So with both batteries charging it was just a waiting game until there was enough charge in the batteries to get us going! However, when I kept trying the ignition nothing was happening. After about 45 minutes I had almost given up any hope of getting started so I headed back indoors to go to the loo. Within a minute of me going indoors my husband shouted out that it had finally started and that was it we were off!
I was confident I still had enough time as I like to leave plenty to walk the cross-country course etc when I got there. With this near on hour delay it simply meant that as soon as we got there, I would run round the cross-country course and my husband would get my number and hat tagged and get the horse out and groomed etc. Finally I was on Tilly with still 25 minutes to go before my test. Tilly worked in beautifully and produced a super test for a score of 27, leaving us in 3rd place after dressage; a great start.
So onto the show jumping where Tilly had a minor crack in her confidence so I had to spend a little bit longer warming up than I usually would have. All appeared well though as we jumped a confident clear round; perfect!
Then onto the cross-country, which was of a good standard in my opinion for the first of the season and for Tilly’s lack of experience. We started well over the first, second and third, then onto the first combination, a double of log rails and on a 90 degree turn in the woods. I set her up, we jumped the first and it was left hand down as we had about 4 strides to turn and jump the second. I felt this shocked Tilly a little and she doubted herself so both my arms and my legs were going but we made it. The next fence was a ditch to brush, which she made light work of and then onto the water; a slope in and a decent skinny on the way out. The first water is situated under the trees and I don’t think she read the question entirely as she missed the skinny on the way out, so I quickly represented and we were off again. A nice run along a grass strip to a straight forward single fence and then onto another combination; a palisade type first fence then two strides to a skinny palisade. I set up, had the speed right and the control and we jumped in well but sadly we landed and wobbled right, then left, then right again and wobbled straight past it pretty violently causing me to finally eat some dirt! Neither of us were hurt but sadly as my air jacket had gone off and done its job well and Tilly felt like she had lost some confidence, I decided to retire and save her for another day, so we walked home.So a mixed day of emotions with a super dressage and show jumping, then starting so well cross-country but the technicality of the course caused one to many problems for Tilly at her current level.
The following couple of weeks saw Tilly doing lots of exercises using skinnies as the second part of combinations and building fences off strange lines and angles in the hope of teaching her to expect the unexpected a little more to try and get her ready for her next event.
Her next event planned was actually a step up to the BE100 class at Munstead. I thought long and hard about whether to drop her back down to the 90 class or keep her in the 100 as obviously my original plan hadn’t quite gone to plan. I finally decided to stick to my guns and go with the 100 class as the reason I had chosen Munstead to be the first BE100 class is because it is known for being a super step up venue. The ground is entirely flat and the cross country course simply runs around the boundaries of their fields without too many combinations.
I am super pleased that I stuck with this decision and did my homework in between events as we had a good result, producing a 32 dressage, a couple of rails in the show jumping around a tough course that begged you to run on due to the tricky lines and then a super confident clear run cross country. What a great day and a perfect first BE100 as planned!
Tilly will soon head off to Goring next for another BE100 class along with my main man Crystal Ka (Crysto) who is making his season debut in the Open Novice class which has been touch and go, as he only made it off the wait list a couple of days ago!I have recently had a cross-country lesson with Lucinda Green and Crysto to tune us both up as I am seriously aiming him at making his very first advanced debut this season so thought I needed to have some eyes on us to check what we were doing was good. I was very fortunate that one of my current schooling liveries paid for this lesson as a thank you for all the work I have done so far with her horse, which I was overwhelmed with as a gesture; Most definitely better than chocolates and flowers!
Lucinda made a couple of changes including a major Bitting change from a NS universal to a hand made bit consisting of a piece of leather with cheeks!
This made a huge difference to my boy who has never been very settled with his head when jumping and for the first time ever he eventually started to look down at the fences ahead of him and settled down, WOW! Now just to find that bit which Lucinda apparently had made in America! I am still in contact with Lucinda and she is trying to assist in finding one for me.
My youngest Alberta’s Pride (Frankie), rising 5 year old has now had his very first cross-country experience and he was absolutely incredible; most definitely the smartest youngster I have ever had the pleasure of starting out their cross-country! Admittedly, I had done a lot of work at home using my arena type cross-country fences to give him a taste for it but still there is nothing like galloping across the grass and jumping fences.
I can not tell you how excited I am by this boy, his future looks outstandingly bright!
My days continue to be busy now so until next time…