Doonaveeragh Emma 1.30 and 1.35 Keysoe CSI2* - Click on the photo for the slideshow - the photo deal at Keysoe was unbelievable in that they gave you all your photos for the same price as just a few.
The CSI2* at Keysoe is one of my favourite English shows of the summer. The team at Keysoe led by Sarah Watson always put on a great show with great hospitality and a good summer holiday feel to it. The excellent courses built by Kelvin Bywater and commentary from Steve Wilde complete the big show atmosphere. The hard work of the previous two years certainly paid off this year with large and very high class fields in all the classes.
After Hickstead I gave both Emma and Luendi a quick jump at Pyecombe to make sure they were feeling confident and then it was off to Keysoe. This year I had fantastic stables in the permanent block so the girls had lovely beds and rubber mats and I didn't have quite so far to walk. The show and their sponsors gave a lovely champagne reception to get things off to the best possible start and I started jumping in the 1.15, first class on Thursday with Luendi. She just made one babyish mistake but jumped very well. Doonaveeragh Emma was late to jump in the 1.30 in the afternoon so she had a quiet hack round the lovely cross country course before jumping very well for 4 faults over a strong track. The big class of the day was won by Tracy Priest and Millfield Ultymate.
Luendi jumped well again on Thursday morning and Emma was fantastic in the 1.35 and would have jumped clear without the rider making a hideous mistake at the 3rd last! Even with 4 faults she finished well into the top half of the class. I decided to step Luendi up to the 1.25 for Friday as she was used to the ring and hadn't been at all spooky. She just had the first fence when she was looking at something else and I slightly over-rode the double, but otherwise she jumped absolutely beautifully. I jumped Emma in the same class as a confidence boost for her. She jumped very well, but was a bit quick into the combination, not a mistake she makes over a bigger fence and maybe she should have jumped in the 1.35 instead, but it is nice for her not always to have try so hard.
I was really lucky to have help from Bina Ford during the show. An expert pair of eyes at the practice jump are invaluable, especially with Luendi who is maturing and changing all the time at the moment.
Another show with no prizes, but very valuable experience gained both for Luendi for whom every show is completely different, and for Emma and I jumping bigger courses. I felt distinctly rusty at that level of competition - not the height of the fences, but the intensity of an international show that is somehow different to a national show.
I stayed to watch the fantastically competitive grand prix and then set off for home, a long old journey with the afternoon traffic on the M25 to contend with.
Luendi - 1.15 and 1.25 Grand Prix Keysoe CSI2*
It was wonderful to come back to find that Steff had painted the inside of Emma and Luendi's boxes, all part of the seemingly endless job of keeping the yard smart and tidy from year to year. The lorry is now all ready to start packing to leave for CSI1* Le Mans on Wednesday afternoon. We have had a quiet couple of days and spent a very happy Saturday evening helping Trevor Breen celebrate his second consecutive Equestrian.com Hickstead Derby win. Mark has started riding Luendi as part of his fitness training for our very exciting riding Safari holiday in November.