So the 2016 eventing season for the boys and myself is over for yet another year, and what a season we had, for 16 year old Storm, his best yet, and thankfully showing no signs of slowing up!
For the 2nd year running storm was placed in the rosettes at every outing with just one exception.
We kicked the 2016 season off back in the beginning of May at Broadway, 28 dressage, 1 pole in the show jumping and 2 time faults xc, which cost us 3 placing’s. It was unfortunate for us because we did actually go at the correct time at the start of the day, but after 4 horses ran they changed to optimum time, unfortunately I didn't visit the secretary's tent after they changed the time so I didn’t realise. But never mind, getting in the placing’s was what we try to aim for, so I am chuffed with our first outing.
The following weekend we were at our closest event, which is an hour and a half away at Llanymynech, where Stormie got his first double clear of the season finishing on his dressage score of 30 for 4th place.
On to Berriewood horse trails in June where he won last year, and he won again this year!.... Well he would of only for the first time ever I used a watch, and the darn thing stopped working half way round, which then left me not knowing how fast I’d actually gone and I couldn't gage myself as I usually did... we ended up going too fast!!!
2.8 time faults dropped us into 2nd place. So frustrating for Stormie because it was completely rider error.
Still not sure how I feel about using a watch, never have done before and never had time faults, now I feel like I'd be a fool if I didn’t use one and got time faults. The problem is I refuse to buy a proper watch and just use my regular wrist one which has a stopwatch, but I must knock the buttons and the darn thing keeps stopping in mid flow!
Super Stormie then went on to be 7th at Stafford, 2nd at Homme House, 12th at Llanymynech, not sure what went on there, we had 3 poles in the show jumping, as I recall he was feeling very fresh and shying at the spectators and grass etc, finishing in September at Monmouth on his dressage score to come 4th.
What an amazing special little horse he is! And here's hoping 2017's events can be just as good!
Young Alf's season started at Mount Ballan with a 90 to get him going, but I soon realised he needed to move straight up to 100, he is a very confident jumper and if the fences are too small, he does not respect them at all, both courses seemed extremely easy for him and he was basically just doing what he wanted, not listening and getting rather strong, the time was very slow for him to try and keep to and I couldn't let him bowl on.
I was pleased with his behaviour warming up and his test, I think he has well and truly put the silliness behind him now, or at least more so than it was, but the judge couldn't of been impressed, he scored 30.3 which sounds good, but there must of been low scores because he finished in 22 place with 4 faults.
Onwards we went to Berriewood round a testing 100 track, and he ate it up! 33 dressage, with 1 really unlucky pole for 16th.
This was our warm up for the ROR grassroots championships at Upton House, something he'd have a really good shot at to do well. It was a long way so we stayed the night, and as it is with horses, when you really hope to do well it all went as they say, pare shaped!
He had a good score of 28 in the dressage, putting us right in contention, and then we went and had 3 down in the show jumping, no excuses, I rode crap, and when I didn't, he just didn’t try!
Absolutely gutted we went to the xc knowing we were well and truly out of the placing’s, but putting it behind us to get a positive round over the xc, which was lovely, well built and up to height.
I had a few questions early on and he made nothing of them, flying over like they were twigs, he is such a fab little xc horse, he locks on and you just leave him to it.
2nd from last fence and things took a turn for the worst, so disappointed to tell you that it was all rider error (very ashamed), the route was taped off up the hill round a sweeping corner that then opened up to the fences which were all next to each other for the 3 classes on that day, the actual fence was a very straight forward double of hay barns on an angle, it was a very easy combination for Alf, but somehow I got it in my head that our fences were the ones in the middle, and I let him open up round the corner up the hill. He must of covered the ground well because before I knew it the fences were there in front of us, and with horror I realised the middle fences were not my course, they were in fact the combination on the left!
I had overshot the turn by now but swung him round anyway thinking he'd hopefully clock on when he saw it, but he didn’t and just went flying on past it, boom, 20 penalties!
Would rather forget about that one, and as it happens we just about did because Alf got up to his usual tricks all summer of injuring himself from mysterious none existent silly causes that thoroughbreds do so well, at the most crucial times. You know the ones, after the ballot and withdrawal dates, and we had to withdraw from 4 events!
Just when I thought the rest of the summer was going to be a complete loss for him, he manage to stay upright for our only ROR challenge qualifier at Usk Show. He'd only been ridden for the 4 days before the show so I wasn't expecting anything great and was quite prepared to forgive him if he was very fresh, but oh my gosh he was amazing! Jumping a clear round, did a fantastic show and kept his record in the challenge qualifiers going by winning again!
So off to the championships at Aintree we shall go next year - if we have no silly accidents!
Then we were on a roll as far as soundness goes and we managed to finish the season off at Kelsall Hill horse trails at the end of September. Round an impressive 100 track, just one pole down in the show jumping and clear in the xc, he felt brilliant and I was ever so pleased with him. We need to work on our dressage this winter and hopefully we will be knocking on the rosettes door again next year!
How did you get on with the 2016 eventing season? I would love to hear your stories!