Reflections on Keysoe.....
Keysoe CPEDI3* at the very end of September was physically a big challenge with my back still not fully recovered but oddly enough mentally I felt quite calm about the competition. The long days with arena walks at 7 a.m. and competing at 7:30 p.m. meant that my back was very tired and certainly not at its strongest riding by the end of the day. Following my last training session with Andrew J Murphy, I had a plan on how I needed to ride him. It didn’t quite work out on the second day - I think I overcooked the warm up a bit - all part of the learning curve with a new horse! And then that unfortunate spook which wasn’t really his fault because he hadn’t been spooky in the arena up to then but as a result he became very tense before we even entered at A! Some added ‘excitement' for many was the drug testing team approaching us following our tests…a new experience for me - I guess I have been lucky that this was the first time I got 'chosen'!
Despite not getting the results I hoped - although in the team test we got some very good marks from three of the judges with the other two bringing down the overall percentage (still cannot understand a difference of 8% between judges?)…. I don’t regret going as it gave me the chance to see how Skye would react in the atmosphere which was buzzing by the time we competed in the evenings. He was a sweet & easy horse to do, loved the fuss and attention being made - not so straightforward to lunge as hidden noises brought out his black dragon side, but leading around and hand grazing on the verge of the road he was very easy and I feel it was good experience overall. He ate lots, drank lots, didn't stress about anything - horses coming and going - he just wanted to see it all. Very positive & good to know for the future!!
Having been away from the international scene so far this year, it was great meeting up with friends that I haven’t seen for a while - always one of the joys of these shows when you get together with people you only meet at these competitions.
The Irish team were fab and gave me loads of offers of help with Skye, knowing I was on my own and struggling a bit with my back. Trotting Skye up at the vets inspection, plaiting his spiky mane and watching my tests - it was really great to have their support. Shout out to team Ireland who had a fab show with fantastic results!
Bringing it all right up to date now…
After Keysoe we had a bit of down time as I finally caught the bug that was doing the rounds and felt quite rough for a week or so. But we soon got back into the routine and a couple of weeks later had a fantastic weekend training session with Andrew at Park Farm. I was then fortunate enough to get a coveted place on the 2 day clinic being held at East Whipley Farm - former home of the Training theTeachers of Tomorrow Trust. The history of the venue was not lost on us and I thoroughly enjoyed the two days riding, observing other sessions and having a very interesting lecture thrown in! The additional training was immensely important in continuing to rebuild our confidence which is still a bit shaky. But looking forward now…. and exciting times ahead!!