I am very excited and pround to be receiving sponsorship and product support from Diva Equine and Country http://www.diva-equine.co.uk/ who make the most stunning Vero bridles, headcollars and breastplates, and also supply Cavalor supplements and Cal Rei saddle cloths. As a result Emma has the most stunning new bridle with crocodile skin embellishments and all the horses have beautiful new saddle cloths, so if anybody failed to notice that Emma is a total Diva she now has it written on her side.
Bearing in mind that Espirito Santo was entered for the Newcomers at the South of England I jumped him at the two day show at Felbridge the weekend before. He jumped two really grown up rounds, followed by a training session with Shane, so I felt he was a ready as he could be. Emma was 4th in the 1.30 at Felbridge so she felt ready as well.
The South of England is often plagued by dreadful weather, but this year it was fantastic. Espirito Santo jumped really well in both his Newcomers classes. He had never jumped on grass in his life and he was certainly very surprised to be at such an exciting show, as a result he was a little bit tense at the beginning of each round and had a couple down, but he improved as each round progressed, and will have learnt so much from the experience. It is a pity there isn't any show jumping in the outside rings on the third day, as three day shows are a format that works really well for young horses: day 1 - gobsmacked; day 2 - another party!; day 3 - Oh, we're here again, and they are really ready to work. This also applied to Emma who was wild in the 1.20 on Thursday, resulting in being ridden again when I got home and a bit change back to snaffle, jumped much better in the 1.30 on Friday, and gave me a fabulous ride in the R & R Stevenson Grade C Championship in the main ring on Saturday. Unfortunately she took out a stride to the second last fence resulting in four faults, but she had jumped a lovely round and I was thrilled with her, just a bit disappointed with myself.
We have had another good training session with Shane, I must use my leg more effectively and do proper right-angled turns - practice what you preach! These help to slow Emma without pulling at her, and then I can actually ride her to a distance that I have chosen rather than letting her run me to the fence. Having gone back to a snaffle is making her less cross, and I could see at Felbridge this weekend that she is now stretching her neck out more over the fence which will be much easier for her in the long run.
Sunday was another early start as we set off very excitedly to watch Anna in the Blenheim Triathlon where she was raising money for Lymphoma and Leukaemia and for Alzheimers. I was so worried about the open water swim, the lake at Blenheim really isn't very clean water! However, she swam so fast that we nearly missed her going into transition and only managed to get a photo of her bottom disappearing round the corner! She cycled and ran really well to finish on her target time and raise over £2,000 for her chosen charities. She recovered very quickly to have a quick lunch with the fan club of her boyfriend and chief coach Tom, Mark, my step-mother Zandra, Zandra's right-hand girl Debbie, and I. She is already talking about what she can improve on for next time! It was certainly a very proud mother & father moment. A very potted version of the day below.