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Being Competitive Throughout The Season.
Make The Most of Every Jump
We attended a fantastic Event last week with the Horses, as with most shows held during the week, due to work commitments the competition is mainly professionals. The majority of amateurs have to work and cannot attend, then this gives you an idea of how well your Horses are performing. There is far more pressure on you to perform, especially if you have good Horses, that is another added pressure, which you just have to overcome. This show was held in Scotland 7 hours of travelling for the Horses on Monday. Arrived at 7pm Monday evening, all the work was done by 8.30pm, Horses fed and bedded down and comfortable. We were all done by 9.30pm it was an early night as we had an early start next day.
First day’s competitions ran smoothly with no major incidents, we jumped clear rounds, nothing to shout about, and got placings. They were lowly placings but, at the end of the day they carried a bit of prize money, and every penny counts in Showjumping. We had two days to go and were hopeful of better things to come.
Wednesday was again an early start, but it was late afternoon, early evening when we got something very special to shout about, we had entered Kevin and Harvey in the big Open class and we were very nervous while walking the course before the class. The reason being, this class was a prestigious event, it was huge in size with obstacles standing 1.60 metres, and our Horses have just had two outings previously. Also, it carried a heck of a lot of money in prizes and we knew from the previous day that we had a chance. Even though it was an outside chance, but we had everything to fight for and we were prepared to fight. The class was "The Aberdeen Journal and Press Open" there were forty starters all being outstanding showjumpers, a wealth of experience travelling all over the World competing, with, a good half dozen Horses having jumped in "World Cup Qualifiers". So you can imagine the nerves were rattling away like mad inside me, but, I had nothing to fear as we were in for a staggering surprise. We had Kevin going first out of our two, he went well though he suffered four faults, which probably was my fault in the combination obstacle. Kevin was 22nd to go and there were no clear rounds up to then. I had fourteen Horses in-between plenty of time to warm up, and get Harvey firing on all cylinders. By the time Harvey was set to go 36th there had been two clear rounds, the track was truly frightening in height, and the oxers (spread fences) were just terrifying, we had to calm our nerves and go for it. Harvey jumped one of the best rounds he has ever jumped, giving clear air to all the obstacles, he was simply ballooning them, we know he can jump big as he has scope to burn. He went clear and there were only four left to go if all four went clear we were still on very good prize money and a decent position in such a high-class competition. None of the final four went clear so there were three clear rounds, going through to the second round. There the obstacles were obscenely huge, but, all three of us jumped clear and we had a jump-off against the clock, which if I am honest I did not fancy with Harvey, as he is such a power jumper. The course was set and again, it was truly enormous the other two failed to go clear and I was last to go all I had to do was jump clear and I would win. The stage was set as I entered the arena we were met with an almighty cheer from the spectators, once the bell went to start my round it went quiet, you could hear a pin drop. Harvey performed spectacularly and ballooned every single obstacle and we went clear, the noise from the spectators when I cleared the last fence was immense and I felt so proud if I am honest I could've cried, but, I didn't. First prize was £3000 plus rugs and tack and six months supply of feed stuff, I was chuffed to bits and so proud of Harvey as he performed fantastically. Not to forget our other Horses who performed admirably all day, with Doug and Daphne getting good results in two opens early on in the day, and Kate got 4th place in a Grade "B" qualifier and 11th in a small 1.20metres speed class. All in all an excellent day of competition with everyone happy and a well deserved, though small celebration that night.
Final Day Just as Fruitful
Thursday was the last day of competition and after the previous day's successes we would have been more than happy with no placings at all, however, we were yet again going to get a surprise.
Thursday started off quietly with a 1.25 metres Speed Class, one round of jumping straight against the clock, we had entered Daphne, Doug and Kate for this one with a plan of giving them a practice before the 1.30 Grade B and C Championship later in the day. The three jumped clear in a good time, luckily for us the entry numbers were huge and we managed to get 4th with Kate, and 10th with Daphne, Doug being just outside the placings. After this class we had just one class for Kevin and Harvey a 1.40 metre Open with Kevin incurring 4 Faults, Harvey though jumped a spectacular clear round, he was firing on all cylinders and did not put a foot wrong. In the jump-off he went clear again and we ended up getting 3rd place and we were well and truly happy, if we had a disaster in the B and C Championship we were more than happy with all the Horses. As for the B and C Championship, we didn't get a good start and we thought, finally, our luck has run out, both Doug and Daphne underperformed by a long margin. Even though they are still relatively young at 6 years old we did expect better from them, they knocked three obstacles down 12 faults each, but, however, we had Kate to come and she is a Grade B. Well, things were going to get much better, Kate was the first clear round of the competition sixty Horses had gone before us, faults were coming thick and fast everywhere across the track, we held our nerve and went clear. It was, honestly, as if fate had a helping hand only three of us managed clears, just like the big Open Class on Wednesday. We were guaranteed of a top three placing, but, if we wanted to qualify for the final at the Royal International Horse Show held at the World renowned venue "Hickstead" The All England Jumping Venue we had to finish in the top two. We knew what had to be done all we had to do was go into the arena and perform. The first round was big enough, the jump-off was much bigger, it was a true test of a Horse's jumping ability, braveness and most of all scope. If there is one thing I was sure of Kate has plenty of scope, as she has scope to burn, there was one line of fences an oxer/spread fence, to another oxer with three long strides in-between, or four short strides, they were truly enormous in height and spread, 1.55 metres. We were first to go we didn't rush just went for a sensible fast clear, and took the three long strides, that is when Kate's scope came to the fore she just ballooned both and we went clear. And that line was the downfall for the other two, knocking both fences down and we had won, 1st place out of eighty starters and now in June, we are off to the Royal International Horse Show at Hickstead. Also, after this win, we have been invited to The Royal Windsor Show held in the grounds of Windsor Castle in May of this year, a truly outstanding show for us, even though we were cursing the long haul up to Scotland, on the way home we couldn't be happier. I am especially happy for the girls that look after our Horses as they work so hard keeping them well groomed perfectly fed, and also, keep them fit for us, I am truly thankful.