Hi everyone, just to update you on what I have been up to since my last journal.
 
I travelled to Ireland for the first time to compete in the CIC *** at Ballindenisk, this was also the first time I had competed at this level so it was a great experience and I was the youngest competitor by far!
Tilston Tic Toc (Ben) settled in very well and after a couple days of preparing him for the dressage he produced a nice test which I was very pleased with as he doesn't find it very easy.
 
After walking the cross country track many times to establish my lines into the fences and the minute markers needed to make sure I was keeping up with the clock it was clear to me the difference in difficulty between this level and CIC/CCI** that I had been competing at up to now.  Cross Country day came and I really thrilled to have completed the course despite having a few steering problems at a couple of the technical combinations, but we now know that all is possible and that these problems can be sorted over the winter.
 
On the last day was the show jumping, and again the course was rather technical so I knew maximum concentration would be needed to go clear.  From watching the previous classes jump it was clear that the course was proving to be tough with many people having fences down and very few clears.  However, Ben excelled himself and made up for the steering problems cross country by jumping round clear, one of only a couple to do so.  We were all absolutely ecstatic and it meant that we ended the competition on a high note!
 
After returning from Ireland Ben had a little bit of a break before competing in the u21 CCI** at Weston Park in October.  My John Partridge wax jacket definitely came in handy in the first trot up as the heavens opened and everyone else resembled a drowned rat!
 
Dressage day came and we were a little disappointed with the mark as we all felt that he had done a very pleasing test and went into cross country day in 9th position.
 
One change we made after Ireland was a slightly stronger bit to help me with my steering.  It meant I had a lot more control and Ben was absolutely amazing cross country - it was probably one of the best rounds I have had on him.  The next day was show jumping day and after passing the trot up we jumped in the afternoon.  He jumped really well and had just one unlucky fence down in the show jumping to end up 7th.