We are so lucky to have wonderful outdoor show jumping venues in Sussex, and the Light family's showground at Pyecombe is one of the best. Nestling in the downs, with a fantastic new arena and all their lovely young horses and mares and foals grazing above the rings. Having only returned from Keysoe on Thursday night, and having had a lovely sociable weekend, it took a bit of commitment to be up at 5.00 on Monday morning all ready to jump at Pyecombe. However, an excellent four day schedule combining young horse classes and a 1.40, 1.35 and an Area Trial was too good to miss, even though we only jumped on the last two days as the horses needed time to recover from three days' jumping at Keysoe.
Benny jumped a good round in the 1.20, and Catokyo then jumped in the last five year old qualifier. She jumped beautifully, but a sat-nav moment between fences one and two is pretty dippy even by my standards and prevented her from qualifying for the final. Emma jumped a great double clear in the 1.30 so I decided that jumping the 1.40 as well was a bit greedy and we called it a day.
Tuesday was another early start for Benny who jumped a beautifully in the 1.20, giving me loads of confidence and making me feel I have just about cracked riding him. We then had a bit of a wait for Emily Moss, who keeps her lovely Mai with us, to jump a really good round in the British Novice, before taking Benny and Mai home and fetching Catokyo and Emma. Emma jumped a cracking clear in the 1.35 to finish just out of the money and Catokyo jumped well in the Newcomers in the main arena.
Many thanks to Heather Trevor-Jones and Steff Gibbs for their invaluable help and videoing at Pyecombe.
Having worn two coats for both days at Pyecombe only one week later we were jumping in shirt-sleeves at Coombelands. This is another absolutely beautiful venue, owned by the Harwood family with fantastic views over their gallops and cross-course to the South Downs, they have installed a fantastic all-weather arena, with a huge warm-up as well. I was keen to jump one more Newcomers with Catokyo before Hickstead. This was a good decision as she was very distracted by being in a new arena, especially when close to the spectators and a slight lack of steering caused me to turn a circle. We then were allowed another round "hors concours" and she jumped round beautifully. She may not be very big, but Catokyo is the most effortless and impressive jumper. I am absolutely thrilled with her and really excited to have another such lovely youngster to work with.
Benny jumped a fantastic round in the 1.20. He feels completely different now he is completely fit and we are starting to really understand one another. He has a huge, scopey jump and is very generous and kind to me, and seems to be getting the hang of having a rather small person trying to give instructions on top!
I am thoroughly looking forward to the Royal International at Hickstead which starts on Tuesday next week.