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Hambleden... Part 1

27th April 2015
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...

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