Week 2 got off to a great start on Tuesday when little Catokyo jumped a clear round in the six year olds to share first place. She jumped very well on Wednesday as well, just being a bit babyish and having the second fence. On Thursday she jumped a big track on grass, and again was a bit green at the beginning of the course but finished very well. She came out here jumping Newcomers/1.10 and is now gamely jumping 1.25 in a much more settled and grown up way. She is super bold and and careful getting better in her ride all the time so I think her future looks bright.
It was lovely to have Mark here from Thursday onwards, although he is incredibly disappointed when the horses don't jump clear. Emma had an unlucky 4 faults in the 1.35 on Thursday when I let her slightly run up a distance and was unbelievably unlucky to have the second last fence in a big 1.35 on the grass on Friday. She jumped brilliantly and the fence didn't fall until I had turned to the last. Benny jumped his first 1.40 in the Bronze Tour on Friday. It was more like a big 1.30 but he jumped a great round for 4 faults.
On Saturday Emma was first up in the silver Grand Prix. Walking this course was the first time I have been a bit worried that the fences were getting big! A feeling that was endorsed by there only being 7 clears from over 70 horses. Emma jumped like a superstar but sadly my counting went awry and we arrived at the second last fence, a double of uprights, very easily on one less stride than instructed! This meant she jumped in very big and despite her very best efforts she had the pole coming out. As Trevor Breen said I should have been shot! At this level a good eye is still an essential tool but it needs to be used in conjunction with a tight plan and that is the bit where I fall down. Next time I will walk the course with Trevor or David and be sure of my plan. No harm done and she still finished 20th and I have learnt a little bit more.
Benny then jumped a lovely double clear in the Bronze 1.40, by far the best round I have jumped on him.. on Sunday I just had Benny for the Bronze Grand Prix on the grass. If I could have changed classes I would have - it was big! In fairness it was very straightforward, but I was very worried. He jumped the first three fences spot on and from there on I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was just a bit quiet round the second last corner which cost us a closer shot than he likes and a pole but otherwise he was foot perfect. I also picked up a time fault which was the least of my worries. All in all a good week and what a pleasure to be riding such nice horses.
it has been great having most of the Breen family out here. Shane's father John, sister Rowena and her husband Ed and their children have been here for a long weekend., along with Caroline's mother Heather so we had a very pleasant and social time while Mark was here. Heather treated us to a lovely dinner and we watched the Gokd Grand Prix in total comfort with Ali Jackson.
Many, many thanks to Claire James, the horses are happy and beautifully turned out - no mean feat when one of them is an enormous, white shit machine!