Burgham was a new event for us, we headed up north with Bobby (cumlaude) in the Intermediate, Pye (Vitalin Vigour) and Cufflink in the CIC**. On Friday Cufflink and Pye had their dressage tests, Cufflink was up first and coped amazingly. The midday heat was pretty intense and it was his first ever international having missed out on doing any 1*’s and first time in a big international ring. What a time to pull out his best ever test, he built in confidence the whole way through really trying for me. I didn’t put too much pressure on him and sacrificed a few marks to keep a quiet consistent test. He’s a very sensitive horse and felt he needed to enjoy the work and have a good experience. As if I wasn’t already thrilled with him, he was rewarded with a good mark of 48.8. So exciting as there is SO much more to come from him. Pye too did a much better test, we have moved him into a double bridle and he is still getting use to it, so not always settled. However the stride quality was much improved and hopefully will improve again next time out. He scored well for a 51.1.
Saturday morning was slightly frantic. Bobby had an 8am dressage in the intermediate, and what a star he was. He is really feeling established at this level now, and is holding self carriage so much better. Looking forward to moving him out of 2nd gear and putting some power into his work. He scored a 31.4 which was best of his section. He jumped a beautiful round show jumping however unfortunately just got a bit tight and nervous in the international ring and had two down behind. Frustrating but he’s so exciting for the future. Xc we had a lovely very steady run, after his tumble at Gt Witchingham I wanted him to have an easy enjoyable round, and that he did. Building in confidence the whole way, over probably the biggest intermediate he has done. Big pats!
Cufflink like bobby had a little bit of stage fright in the big arena and had three down annoyingly, but went on to give one of my all time best xc rides. He was just amazing so thrilled that he stepped up so confidently.
Pye jumped mega in the showjumping, by far his best ever round. He just touched the first part of the treble, a moment of lost concentration but regained his technique immediately. He’s a very big horse and finds it hard to keep himself together, but he tried his heart out. As annoying as it was I couldn’t have asked for more. He nipped round the xc standing on his head, really starting to feel established at this level. Like Cufflink he had a steady run, unfortunately the weather hadn’t played into Burgham’s hands and the ground was a bit quick.
It was all excitement and anticipation at the weekend, Austin my first homebred eventer was going out to his first party. Everything was all very relaxed as it was at our most local event at Buckminster run by the Belvoir pony club. Bless him having never been in Dressage boards, he was a star only having one big spook and overall doing a perfectly acceptable test. Showjumping time, they had some seriously jazzy jump for joy fillers in so I was at the ready. After having a little moment a couple of strides before the 2nd fence he then picked up and popped it. Improving the whole way round. On to the xc, this is where he really excelled. Absolutely amazing so confident, yet careful working out all the questions, giving me one of my most enjoyable first time rides ever. Absolutely thrilled with him.
Back to the horses with bump, quite literally. First event back I had Pye (Vitlain Vigour), Cufflink and Bobby (Cumlade) at Great Witchingham Intermediate. I was expecting them to be a little rusty, but they all put in a reasonable performance. Pye pulled out a 10th place, very pleased with the way he is progressing especially as he went for a fun run around the xc. Cufflink again too is improving, annoyingly he just touched the last fence showjumping but went on to jump round the xc well, despite having an annoying step back at the 3 steps down. I’ll forgive him! Bobby did a stunning test and is really on the improve, he jumped well. I had one fence down and the other a slight lack of concentration by him. But he jumped a lovely round. Xc he felt great, the best of them all. Full of confidence jumping everything so clean and reading all the questions until the water. He popped over the log went down the bank into the water, being a little inexperienced put a bigger stride in going into the water which left him a stride and a half to the step out. He just got too close to get his legs up and we hit the top of the step. Bless him he really didn’t deserve it, he’s such a careful horse and so unlike him. Thankfully he only came away with a couple of grazes, so after lots of schooling he should be back on track and all being well a better horse after learning his lesson.
June was quiet month for us here at Team Cooke. All the horses have had a little break and been in light work. I took the opportunity to nip out to see by boyfriend in California for 2 weeks. What a treat and extremely jammy I know, my first ever summer holiday! Maybe he should work abroad more often…? We had a lovely yet very proactive 14 days driving up the West coast then over to Yosemite, Death Valley and the Vegas. It really was such an adventure and brought so many memories home.
So off we went with just Bertie (Liberty Rock) to Houghton CCI**. Pure luxury and a complete holiday with one horse to look after, or so we thought! Bert had been drawn first to go, not the greatest spot but someone has to do it and often not a bad thing when setting off xc having not watch anybody. We got there nice and early to give him a chance to settle into his new surroundings. With this being the first time he has stayed away from home, I wanted to make sure he had got his bearings before his Thursday morning test. Lots of hacking and a very well behaved trot up later it was time for dressage. He worked okay the night before a little bit excited as it was the first time I had ‘picked him up’ since being there. Thursday morning I worked him again for 15 mins stretching and he was an angel. Baby oil on, toes polished, sprayed with every sparkle and fly spray I could find, off we went to do out test. I have to say he was looking rather handsome! After a great warm up, we toddled into the arena knowing that no matter how good the test is, being first in never results in a world beating mark. Bertie was really out to show off his new frame and ‘test trot’ that he had just discovered. To him this is the most amazing new party trick! He performed a very good solid test, he looked light and up working to his best ability at the moment with such a quiet and calm outlook. He lost his frame and carriage a few times but was 100% true. I didn’t let him down either, managing to keep everything on the markers and after the most cracking final halt he had a very big rub and thought no more about it. He had done the best I felt he could had done with in his current strength. I put him to bed and went off to run the course not wanting to get too excited about finding out his mark, I would have been pretty gutted if they hadn’t rewarded it with a half decent score. Anyway he produced a 46, even after the second day of dressage he was still just outside of the top 5. What a clever boy and what a time to pull out a PB.
With Friday being a day off, I think Bertie felt he ought to spice things up a bit and make us work harder. Keep us on our toes as such! The poor little monkey must have absolutely clonked his leg in the stable when rolling or something, as I went down early to feed him on Friday morning to find an enormous hind leg. The swelling was only on the outside of the leg and was still sound as a bell so clearly a knock. Back on my bike to get some ice. Somehow between walking him for hours and icing we managed to get the leg down enough that he would be comfortable with a soft brushing boot to run XC. Phew! Great team effort between all three of us, sharing the walking! Knowing that this run was very premature for him, I was careful about walking the course. However decided to go out attacking straight all the way, he was after all in a very good position. Saturday morning came round and my gosh was it miserable, complete thunderstorm! The ground getting very quickly more sodden. Off we set and had a great jump over number one, two he just propped a little on take off and the same at the third. Bless him he has never run in mud let alone jump out of puddles on fresh slippery ground. After 3 I realised that I had to do what’s best for him and take a little check and hold his hand. For the next 5 fences I gave him the time to work out his footing. Just curving a drop to a skinny brush and adding a stride instead of riding very straight on 4. After the water he really started to get into his stride, I again changed my plan and curved down to the corner adding an extra stride again, he’s always been so straight I was just worried about his footing and thought better to be safe than sorry than giving him a fright. After this he was really flying, he picked up the bridle again and was taking me to the fences, shaking his ears continuously as he went to get the rain out of them. To the open corner a few from home he saw an absolute cracker and l let him run with it and build his own confidence and he gave me the most spectacular jump. He finished well but unfortunately with time faults, however for me it’s more important they finish a better horse after a good round rather than a horse that loses confidence as it goes. He’s still young and green and he has never run that distance before. Considering I entered Houghton CCI**for a quiet experience instead of a CCI*, he gave me and awesome ride and thrilled to bits!
Saturday night, Bertie decided he wanted a new outfit for the trot up and came out in the most awful raging rash/ welts. It was so sensitive I could hardly touch him. Absolutely no idea what had caused it but can only think it was something to do with the amount of rain he had been exposed to. Poor boy, I felt so helpless that I couldn’t help. Thankfully it had settled a little bit by the morning, so we didn’t look too ugly for our trot up. What a contrast day, absolutely glorious sunshine to show jump in. He felt a little stiff but after a good warm up he jumped a lovely clear round. He was so game, trying his heart out with his ears pricked the whole way. Such a happy expression on his face! All in all.. I’m very pleased. If I had been told that result before I started I would have been over the moon, just that competitive edge getting me. Looking to the bigger picture he’s a very exciting horse for the future and given me a slight taste of whats to come. He’s having a little break now and it’s time for me to get planning what’s next for him!
What a day! I don’t think I have competed every horse at every phase in pouring rain..
Cufflink and Bobby (Cumlaude) were on the lorry, Bobbi having his first run in an intermediate. Both horses did good tests, Cufflink had one little strop half way through turning his bottom to the rain. Apart from that he did some very good work. Bobbi coped well considering the conditions- lots to work on though! Showjumping next, luckily on a surface however both of mine didn’t perform on it. I have no idea why, maybe the sloppy sand flicking onto their tummies, who knows. XC time and it was still pouring, Cufflink was up first and gave me a great ride. I then headed out on Bobbi not knowing what to expect, not only was it his first intermediate but his first time in mud! He really surprised me, and jumped excellently. Really digging deep when he needed to. Both horses were steady and both took a slow route at the log drop to a skinny brush. I just felt that both horses weren’t established enough when factoring in the ground conditions.
Thrilled to bits with them… My babies are getting so grown up!
Quiet weekend at glorious Rockingham, just two intermediates on the Sunday. Bertie was having a prep run before Houghton CCI** and I substituted Poppet (Saunders Lady) in for Pye (Vitalin Vigour). After a bit of investigation Pye was sore in his back and neck which explains why he didn’t feel himself at Burnham, plus Poppets advanced run was abandoned at Withington Manor.
Poppet did a good test, a little excited at times and making one mistake. She went on to jump double clear and make it feel super easy. Proving she’s ready to move up a level.
Bertie did an improved test, still feeling fragile in his frame but improving all the time. Showjumping he got away from me at one upright and touch touched it for 4 faults. He jumped well round the xc just making one minor mistake which he felt like he learnt from, however came home clear so very pleased and looking forward to Houghton. Running in a CCI** is going to be a little premature for him but the terrain is more forgiving them some CCI’s at Houghton, so will take each day as it comes. I feel it’s not of any benefit to now go back to do a CCI* so fingers crossed he has a confidence boosting experience.
Next stop after Belton was Burnham Market. Lots of driving backwards and forwards over 3 days!
Cufflink was competing in his first Intermediate and unfortunately Bobbi (Cumlaude) had to be withdrawn after a horrible and sudden attack of Cellulitis. Cufflink put in a super performance in his test, he really is improving all the time and getting the hang of it. Showjumping was next up and he was jumping great before a baby distracted moment half way through causing us to have two down before regaining concentration to finish his round off nicely. XC he was a super star, taking everything in his stride very easily. Unfortunately the ground was on the very firm side so just gave him a very quiet slow run.
Back again with Pye (Vitalin Vigour) and Bertie (Liberty Rock) who were in the CIC** to gain the last part of their CCI** qualification.
Bertie was first up, after getting a little excited in his test at Belton I changed my warm up and this time over did it. He’s in a huge transitional phase using new muscles and after a tough week preparing he got a little tired in his frame which reflected in his test. Pye was a little tricky in his test and didn’t really feel himself.
Back again for the jumping, Bertie managed to contain his excitement and not rodeo around the first few fences to jump clear. Pye again didn’t feel himself and wasn’t really coming off the ground, annoyingly he had a couple down. Both horses flew round the XC making it again feel very easy. Mission complete and qualifications under our belt.