Photo courtesy of E.S. Photography
I am currently on a gap year, taking a break from education as I have completed my A-Levels, and taking the opportunity to concentrate on my training and eventing whilst also keeping up a full-time job at a nearby pub.
 
Throughout the winter we have focused a lot on the dressage phase with great help from both Tim Downes and Ruth Edge.  We have also attended some Young Rider (under 21) training with Emma Fisher where we have worked on all three phrases and I have found this really beneficial for both horses (Ben and Larkin).  In order to put that training into a competition scenario we have regularly competed British Dressage and British Show jumping.

 

As the season grew closer we began taking the two horses to the gallops to ensure they were fit enough for competition as my main aim for the 2014 season was to gain a spot on the U21 European Team and compete successfully at CCI*** level on Ben (Tilston Tic Toc) and to get Larkin (Laminat) competing successfully at Novice and hopefully CCI* level.  Unfortunately a few weeks before our first competition with Larkin he managed to sustain a tendon injury whilst out in the field and is therefore on box rest and will be out for the season which is totally gutting as he was going so well and I was so looking forward to competing and improving him.
 
We have managed to find a baby horse to bring on as a project and “Jack” joined us recently who is an Irish bred dark bay 4 year old gelding - he has a lovely temperament and is a very exciting prospect for the future.  As he came with no registered name we have had great discussions as to what to call him so watch this space!

 

 

All attention then turned to Ben and we began the seaon on a high with our first competition at Lincoln Horse Trails with an Intermediate run where he went double clear but showed his excitement to be out by being a little fresh to say the least in the dressage!

 

Our next event took place at Belton Horse Trials where we compete in the highly competitive Advanced section. There is always a big atmosphere in the dressage arena as it is surrounded by all the trade stands and accompanying flags and banners. Despite this Ben coped with the pressure and produced a decent test especially as it was very windy, unfortunately this wasn’t the case in the show jumping and we had several faults due to a total lack of concentration and communication. This was very disappointing as it was unlike him but as usual the case was all forgiven as Ben gave me the most super ride around an accuracy testing and technical course which caught quite a few out

 

If you want to see my round please follow this link http://youtu.be/ulYa3A8ttls

The plan after Belton was to then compete at Burnham Market CIC*** and then Chatsworth CIC***, however on the 9th April everything had to change. After coming off in the arena at home I knew that I had done something serious to my back and ended up being air lifted by the Midlands Air Ambulance to Stoke Hospital. It turned out I had suffered compression fractures to my T10 and T12 vertebrae meaning I was going to be out of action for at least 6 weeks -  this meant a quick change of plan was needed. Thankfully Jeanette Brakewell kindly took care of Ben to compete at Burnham market with only hardly any notice so she had him at her yard for a few days before so that she could get to know him – we were thrilled when they managed a double clear and Chatsworth is only a few away so we have that to look forward to.

As you can imagine the last couple of months have been a complete roller coaster of ups and downs but that’s horses I’m afraid!

 

Abi

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