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Blog - Event Reports

End of 2015 eventing season... Part 1
30th October 2015 - 0 comments
It's October and yet another eventing season has been and gone. I'm going to try and summarise what I've been up to since May when I last blogged. Not sure what happened but as usual I've failed to stick to my commitment of posting regularly.


After three good events we had a summer to forget. Firstly, we went to Tweseldown and had three stops across the country which was very frustrating after 3 nice clears at our preceding events.

A week or so later we headed to Attington, XC schooling to see if it was a rider or horse problem because a sudden change in behaviour was really odd. Well it all fell apart there as he was just awful, refusing to jump lots of things and in the end we called it a day. After a chat with Jenny my trainer (and equine spinal therapist) I decided I had to withdraw from our first Novice at BCA and get the vet out. I was gutted!

Long story short (very short) is that Trad has some ligament damage in one of his coffin joints and is currently resting, mostly in the field with the aim of returning to work in the new year. Aims for next year are to have a fit and sound horse and do some eventing. The details of when and where haven't even entered my head. No point planning until we know how he is in January.

Here's a couple of photos from the events we did compete at…

Larkhill SJ

Hambleden SJ

Next up I blog about my eventing season with the camera…
21st May 2015 - 0 comments
At last we had good times! Left the yard at 7.30 and arrived around 9am giving me a couple of hours to walk the course and get trad sorted. Super trainer & groom Jenny had ridden Trad the night before, then bathed, plaited & trimmed him for me whilst I attended a funeral - he looked fabulous!

Dressage went well (for us), scoring an improved 35.5. It felt more consistent throughout and the scores showed this as we got all 6’s & 7’s. Still lots of work to do but that magical sub 35 doesn't seem so far away now.

We headed over to SJ where we found a nearly empty warm up. Jumped a few fences, watched one and then we were in. Trad jumped his usual solid round, unfortunately just touching the top pole on the second fence which fell. No real reason as far as I know, was on the right striding it was just one of those things.

At xc warm up we had a little wait so jenny checked on the Badminton scores to keep us entertained. That kept us nicely distracted until it was our turn. When called to the start box Trad has started to get a bit cheeky doing funky little spins & leaps - who'd have thought he would get so excited? Off we went, a little spooky (as usual) over the first few fences, which included taking off way too early at the second! Typically this was at the Fence my photographer friend Shane was at, we had a little laugh as I galloped past. The rest of the round was pretty uneventful really, felt nice and smooth once we had settled into galloping.

Once Trad was all sorted we headed over to the scoreboard to discover that we'd gone clear inside the time and that we had finished 13th. All good apart from that pesky pole in the SJ had cost us 4th place which would have been our first top ten finish! Oh well, never mind. We still enjoyed an ice cream at the end of the day!

It's taken me a couple of weeks to finish this blog off as I've been busy, mostly updating websites and I recently was asked to photograph a simply stunning holiday let. In addition to this last week Otto and I headed to Aston Le Walls to photograph my sponsored rider Harriet Upton who had three horses in the BE100. That as usual was a fun day out. Next up in just a matter of days is Tweseldown, which is due to be out last BE100 before stepping up to Novice.

Laybrook Farmhouse

Harriet riding Boo (Dramatic Effect)
Hambleden... Part 1
27th April 2015 - 0 comments
It's been a busy couple of weeks since Larkhill, I'm working on a new project for my photography business which will take me slightly away from eventing but not completely - don't worry you can get rid of me that easily!

So Friday was a very early start for Hambleden, one of my favourite events and one of the most local as less than an hour to drive. I've wanted to do the event for a couple of seasons but other things have got in the way so it was great to be able to get there this time.

For those of you have never been there it's set in a beautiful valley in between Henley on Thames and Marlow. The event runs mostly through woods which is a bit different and the woods themselves have the most beautiful bluebells growing in them.

It was a 4:45 alarm on Saturday for Otto and I to get up the yard. I'd packed the car & trailer the night before and when I arrived at the yard Jenny was just plaiting up Trad. We were both surprisingly quick for so early and Trad was loaded and ready to go. There was a beautiful sunrise as we rolled out the yard, I couldn't resist a few photos…

We arrived early and went straight to walk the cross country. Luckily I know the event well as we couldn't see much due to thick fog!!! The course was similar to the last couple of years, not big dimensions but tricky fences, cleverly placed to make the horses think. Jenny and I liked it and knew it would be a good test for Trad.

Once back we headed to dressage and Trad warmed up pretty well, yay I thought maybe we’ll get a sub 35! Unfortunately we were in the arena furthest away, which was a nightmare as Trad got totally distracted on route and by the time we arrived he had taken hold and wasn't listening to me. In the test he has this bad habit of totally dying off the leg (despite having Spurs on) and trying to yonk off with me as the same time. He's so strong & heavy on my hands that just to keep him in the arena can be a challenge. Later we discovered that I had got 38, disappointing to miss the sub 35 again. However I was pleased to see we had been given an 8 for our final centre line, so at least his straightness is better!

Show jumping was in the big open ring which had been beautifully presented and watered making the going perfect. Not much to say other than Trad jumped a lovely clear, flowing and positive round which I really enjoyed. I'm really looking forward to having a go at Novice SJ soon.

Cross Country was good but it took quite a bit of kicking, particularly at fence three, a box hedge, in itself not big but placed going into woods with the finishing horses coming past you the other way. Fence 6 also required a good bit of kicking, it's a wooden curved table fence which is wrapped in rope, something a little unique I think. Certainly makes the horses look. The only other moment came at the water, which was a run through to a skinny on the way out. We got in the water fine but drifted a bit to the right so had to jump across at a bit of angle on the way out. It's moments like this I wish I was able to use my Headcam to see what actually happened compared to what I remember…

Turns out we picked up quite a few time penalties so definitely no top ten finish and ended up in 16th. Two more 100s entered at Keysoe & Tweseldown and then the plan is Novice!

Part 2 of the Hambleden blog will appear soon...
Larkhill Event Report
13th April 2015 - 1 comment
First event of the season at long last, Larkhill - probably the windiest place in the world and the only flat area for dressage is on the top of the hill! Not an ideal place to be on a fit and strong eventer!

The day was one with a pretty leisurely start as dressage wasn't until 16:20! However as we had a 2hr drive which took longer due to traffic on the M25 we left the yard about 12:30. On arrival Jenny and I (plus the dogs) went straight to the XC to walk the course which turned out to be a bit stiffer than I expected!! However that's what we need if we’re going to go for Novice this season.

I left Lisa to pick up my number and she caught up with Charlie Coffee & Sophie, John & Tessa from Horses in Sport, unfortunately not much time for me to be social. When Jenny and I returned from XC dad had arrived with Trad (with 5 people, 3 dogs, Lisa's scooter, Trad & all his stuff we need two cars to get to an event now).

Jenny and I had a bit of rush to get ready but in the time it took me to get changed she had tacked up and managed to do super smart quarter marking (by hand - not stencil). Must admit I love having Jenny with us, her grooming skills are second to none!!

Up at dressage Trad had the wind behind him, however did settle and managed to complete a 38 test. A little disappointing as we should now be getting sub 35 every time but looking at the sheet we had been given lots of 7’s which was great but unfortunately a few 5’s & a 4 crept in and that's what cost us. However as it was our first test I'm still pretty happy with him and hope to improve next time out.

SJ is built on the side of a slope - a good test for us as we have improved in this phase over the last year. The course was twisty and involved quite a few doglegs on related distances and lots of turning back on ourselves. Luckily we've done lots of practice in our arena at home so the SJ felt really good and we went clear.

As usual I stuck to my plan for XC of heading straight there from SJ as it’s better than hanging around for ages. When we got to the warm up however they were running late and I had 20 horses on the board before me. The wind was really cold so Trad and I tried lots of walking around to keep warm - it didn't work!

Eventually it was our turn and god knows what's happened to Trad but I nearly fell off before we even started. I walked backwards through the start box and he did a mini rear and tried to gallop off! It seems XC excites him these days!! Once in the start box for real we had some mini leaps on the spot before flying off to the first at about 100 mph! First five fences were no problem if a bit on the fast side. Fence 6 was a sunken road and equated to our only sticky point on the course as Trad stopped to have a look in, however I kept my leg on and managed to kept a bit of forward momentum so no penalties!

The rest of the course felt really smooth, a slight look at the water splash and a bit of an odd stride in the middle of the last combination but neither caused too much concern. Over the line and had a bit smile on my face. Clear well inside the time and Trad didn’t even seem to be puffing or sweating!

In the end we finished on our dressage of 38, for 12th place which turned out be be just two penalties away from a top 10 finish. All I can say is what a great first event of the season and I am so pleased Trad has remembered how to jump in a forward and confident way!

Just a few thank you messages…

- Jenny for grooming and warming me up - total professional at all times and helps me so much. Very lucky to have someone so experienced and knowledgeable on my side.

- Lisa for filming all three phases and did a great job considering she had Otto attached to her (hence a few wobbles in the dressage filming - a bit like his dad he found it a bit boring)!

- Dad and Mum for driving Trad there and back and even putting him to bed for me when they got home.

- The organisers and volunteers who put on a great event.

It was also good to see a few friends at the event including fellow competitors Nicki Strong & Maddi Briggs, Fi Boughton in the XC timing box, Jenny Smith chief organisers of jump judges and the Ultimate Images team including Paul, Louise and Lez.

Next stop is Hambleden in less than two weeks - can’t wait!!
Combined Training at LMEQ
26th March 2015 - 0 comments
Right well that's it, my first event has been entered!! Well actually the second has been too as I got balloted out from South of England so instead I am heading to Larkhill. No particular difference for Trad and I, I don’t think, but a lot more hills and walking for the support crew – sorry guys!

Seeing as my first event has been entered I thought I better step up the training so whilst everyone was eventing at Aldon, Swalcliffe & Lincoln we headed to LMEQ for some combined training. It was my first time there for an event and I was really impressed with how they organised it. Ok so the entries were only small but they had set up dressage on grass, had a full functioning catering unit and a photographer in the SJ who even supplies free small resolution downloads. Not sure what the business model for this, i.e. who pays but it's great for the riders!! Other nice little touches that the LMEQ team have added was that they emailed me the results before I'd even left and the next day they sent me a scanned copy of my dressage sheet as I wasn’t around to collect it.

For the dressage we scored 35.8 which was probably about average for us. Trad showed promise for some movements scoring 7’s but we also scored some 4’s. The aim of the season is to keep the dressage scores below 35. SJ was great, he warmed up nicely and we went in first, jumping a nice clear (despite) shying at some jump blocks in the arena!

After SJ we decided to take advantage of a discount offer on XC schooling… Another great idea from LMEQ. I'm very pleased to report Trad jumped his socks off, not looking at a thing and jumping everything we could throw at him – it was a real confidence boost for both of us!

As my dad was using our trailer elsewhere Jenny my super helpful friend / trainer / groom drove us in her little lorry which meant Otto had to share the middle seat with Hattie, Jenny's Labrador. This wasn't much fun for Hattie but eventually they both settled down and Otto basically led on top of Hattie – I think he thought her fluffy coat was nice and comfy!!

On Sunday Jenny is riding Trad at Addington in the unaffiliated dressage championship she qualified for earlier in the year.
Event Report - UA PN (100) at Aston le Walls, 5th April 2014
06th April 2014 - 0 comments
First event of the season… New year… New approach? Well not as such but I’m feeling much more confident this season after an educational year in 2013.

Read on to find out how we got on...
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Event Report - Arena Eventing at Keysoe, 9th February 2014
12th February 2014 - 0 comments
Last Sunday saw Trad and I taking a trip to Keysoe for the first time for a three-phase arena eventing competition. It was a rather windy day but for once recently there wasn’t too much rain.
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Event Report - BE100 Jump Training at BCA, 12th January 2014
13th January 2014 - 0 comments
On Sunday 12th January 2014 Trad and I had our first outing of the year with a trip to BCA for our first ever attempt at the British Eventing Jump Training, sponsored by Baileys Horse Feeds.
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End of season report
04th November 2013 - 0 comments
It's November, the clocks have changed, it's now dark when I get on the train to work and dark when I get home in the evenings. This means the eventing season is over in the UK for another year and it’s now time to decide what I am going to do with Trad over the winter in preparation for 2014.
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Event Report - BE100 at Pulborough, 12th October 2013
30th October 2013 - 1 comment
A bit late (& short!) but here’s my report from the last event of the season… After the double clear at BCA it was off to Pulborough for the last run of the season.
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Event Report - BE100 at BCA, 2nd October 2013
03rd October 2013 - 0 comments
Wednesday 2nd October and it was nearly three and a half weeks since our last run and lackluster performance at Goring Heath. This time I was very determined to do well...
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Event Report - BE100 at Goring Heath, 8th September 2013
11th September 2013 - 0 comments
Two weeks since our run at Wellington and I should have been feeling positive about Goring Heath but having very late times on the Sunday (Dressage at 16:37) meant I'd spent the whole weekend waiting and was struggling to get fired up.
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Event Report - BE100 at Wellington, 25th August 2013
27th August 2013 - 2 comments
Right then a few weeks ago we had a great XC run at Smiths Lawn but a nightmare SJ with two stops so this time out at Wellington I was hoping to sort that out whilst continuing with the improvements on XC.
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Event Report - BE100 at Smiths Lawn, 6th August 2013
08th August 2013 - 1 comment
After only eight days break for Trad and I we were off to Smiths Lawn, one of the more local events as its only an hours drive and also one of my favourites having previously come third in the Novice there back in 2001 with Dime.
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Event Report - BE100 at Carlton, 28th July 2013
30th July 2013 - 0 comments
Carlton, another lovely setting for Trad and I to try and get back on track after the big E at Purston.
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Event Report - BE100 at Purston, 29th June 2013
30th June 2013 - 0 comments
Second event for Trad and I and we were off to Purston Manor for the BE100, after Mattingley and a double clear hopes were high.
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Event Report - BE100 at Mattingley, 8th June 2013
09th June 2013 - 3 comments
After a a bit of a hold up due to Trad having a hoof injury and having a couple of months off I finally got to compete at my first British Eventing horse trials with Trad on Saturday at Mattingley.
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Event Report - Hunter Trial at Swalcliffe Park, 24th February 2013
27th February 2013 - 0 comments
Sunday was another day for firsts. First cross country round on Trad, first time at Swalcliffe Park and first time driving the Shogun & Trailer now I’ve passed my test.
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Event Report - Dressage at Bury Farm, 10th February 2013
10th February 2013 - 0 comments
Today I took Trad for some dressage practice (once again at Bury Farm - home from home). Again this is another first for me with the come back to eventing and although I'm not a big fan of dressage it has to be done.
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Event Report - JAS at Bury Farm, 3rd February 2013
06th February 2013 - 0 comments
Sunday saw me compete at my first British Eventing competition for nine years. The competition was the Baileys Horse Feeds Jumping and Style competition held at Bury Farm.
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