I’ve been so busy I’ve missed writing up a few shows, so here it goes. At Three Lakes Horse Trials we took Riley (aka Rather Boldly) to do Anne Marie’s first US prelim event as well as Benny (aka Plenty of Benny) novice and Simcoe (aka Good to the Core) for his first novice.

It’s a one day horse trials so all three phases on the Saturday for these three. Riley and AM had a pretty good test. A little tight here and there but overall very obedient. Doing prelim dressage on 17hh Riley in the small ring is pretty tough at the beat of times, never mind when it’s your first show of the year! In the show jumping they knocked some rust off and improved over the course towards the end. Cross country they looked super. A little slow to start first of all because of nerves, I expect but also used building up to prelim not going straight out first time prelim AND in the US. Being such a big horse he needed time to get fit as well so we weren’t worried about the time at all. As we say at team OHE, go clear first and worry about time second.

Apparently they had a blip at the corner bending from a big table which I didn’t see. All I saw was them from the back hoping over the corner. I must have missed the circle. The knolls had a small ramp going in with brush on the top so they couldn’t see they were jumping down into a dip until take off. Well Riley and AM took a bit of a peek there but he jumped, then up the other side and put over another ramp with no brush. He was a little suspicious of that one too, with only one galloping fence between that and the water they didn’t get their adrenaline going and had a stop at the cabin into the water. As my friend Kathy Bayly would say “too many debits not enough credits!” They circled around jumped in and away they went and finished up the course looking confident and precise. I am sure they will build on this experience and have more fun next time out.

Simcoe made HUGE improvements in his dressage from his first event (BN at Three Lakes early Feb). I was super happy with him. He is very smart and easy to teach. He excels at eventing. In show jumping, again huge improvements and a clear round. Cross country was a blast he was more confident and the slightly bigger fences gave me something to push him against and he showed some of his incredible scope. I REALLY enjoy riding this lovely OTTB, I can’t wait to see how he improves next time out. We finished seventh on our dressage score. This was his second event ever and he moved up a level, can’t ask for any better then that.

Benny was his usual lovely self to warm up and quite good in the ring, but he got a little tired and heavy on the forehand. It was his first show of 2018 and he finished up last year quite cheeky in the ring so I was very pleased he had grown up.

In the show jumping warm up Benny was his usual lovely floppy-eared self. When I went into the ring he sure woke up! It was a bit distracting for the young horses because the cross country course was running all around the ring. Benny, being one of those distracted young horses, was watching the cross country horse go by when we were cantering towards fence #4. I panicked a little as we got closer and goosed him accidentally and away we went getting progressively stronger around the course. He left all the jumps up and did a great job but a little quicker then Benny has ever gone before. I was using my voice and half halts and as we flew over the last fence I said “Benny Boo Boos WOAH!” He pulled up nicely quite happy with himself and walked out of the ring.

I was a bit worried about xc thinking I had created a monster, but he was pretty well behaved on course. The water was flagged and he tried to stop and go around it to the left, luckily I gave him a tap and steered him into the water. We toured in the water for a bit (Benny doesn’t like being tapped) but found our way out and finished the course nicely. He finished up seventh on his dressage score too!

On Sunday we went back for the beginner novice with Merry Legs (aka Athenian Conquer) for her first event ever. She is a small but mighty 6yr old OTTB grey mare that just LOVES to jump. She reminds me so much of Be Bold Juliet, my first advanced horse – all heart and brave as heck, only Merry Legs is A LOT easier on the flat then Juliet was.

ML had to go to the show all by herself and was perfect on the trailer alone. She warmed up really quietly and was well behaved in the ring (despite going into her ring as the other two rings emptied). She is a bit of a Chatty Cathy and started talking to anyone who was listening throughout her test but overall I was very pleased for her first show ever. Show jumping I was expecting her to be really flamboyant and put on a show of her abilities in the warm up but again she was really quiet and jumped smoothly. We went in the ring and she jumped the first two fences a little more spectacularly like I expected she would and then settled into a rhythm to finish a beautiful clear round. I was totally impressed.

In cross country I knew she would be super because she is so brave and clever. Sure enough she finished on her dressage score to finish sixth. I couldn’t be happier with the babies.