Doonaveeragh Emma - 7 Year Old Championship
The September show at Hickstead seems to mark the end of the summer season as probably the last big outdoor show on grass.
We had an intense training session with Shane at the beginning of the week. The five year olds definitely don't improve with 9 days off, and although I had a good show in Auvers, jumping competitively for six days necessitates putting all the buttons back in place with some serious training.
It was very Autumny getting the horses ready in the dark on Thursday morning. The show started with Doonaveeragh Emma in the 1.30 warm-up. She jumped really well, but I had her too far off the double in the jump-off and she had four faults. She then jumped in the 1.35 7 Year Old Championship where she jumped very well apart from running out at the second fence in the jump-off. This confirmed that I hadn't really got her back to where she was before we went to Auvers. When she ran out again on Friday, Shane advised me to give her a good school round the 1.10 before jumping her in the 1.30 on Saturday. Hopefully mission accomplished as she jumped really well, and allowing me to make the decisions in the 1.30. She just had the last fence in the first round when I got her too close, but at least it was my wrong decision rather than hers! Having a bit more control means we need to make a few adjustments to our partnership, but it feels a lot less chaotic now!
Espirito Santo had been very green in schooling so I was a little bit apprehensive of how he would jump a 1.15 Five Year Old class which was his biggest challenge yet. He was a little star, just having the water-tray in the jump-off. He jumped well all week and feels like a fabulous prospect for the future.
Creevagh Doonaveeragh had also had a less than brilliant schooling session at the beginning of the week, so I was thrilled when he jumped very well in his 1.00m classes. He is an unbelievably bold, well behaved and well balanced horse, and as he gets better in his ride he is going to jump some really super rounds. My plan is to try and take him hunting as well as jumping him through the winter.
Many thanks to Jemma Tester and Becky Forte for their help which made the show so much easier for me.
Excitingly for me, Luendi, who suffered a minor injury in April, is now back in work and should be ready to jump in a couple of weeks. I have loved riding her from the first week that she was broken, and she has grown and matured in her time off and feels absolutely great to ride, so I cannot wait to have her back in the ring.