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Victoria Bax - Putting the winter training into practise

Lots of training has been completed over the winter both on the horses and in the classroom.  I’ve made a couple of day trips over the Gloucestershire, one to Hartpury College for the International Eventing Forum and one to the Unicorn Centre for the Home Coaches day.  Both trips were really very educational and I took a lot away from each day to use for both myself and during my coaching.

I’ve been kept very busy running plenty of clinics recently covering all aspects of training from Gridwork jumping, to course jumping, to arena Xc techniques to full Xc course riding.  They are long days but its great to see lots of horses and riders improving and enjoying themselves at the same time.

I’ve been out Showjumping a few times so far this year.  One of my aims for this year was to spend more time out Showjumping as I really don’t do enough of it.

I took Alberta’s Rose straight out to jump a Discovery and her first Newcommers class as I was confident our winter training had been going well.  We were a little rusty in the first round but made a decent effort in the Newcommers.

I also decided that her first event this year was going to be straight in at Novice level too.  As a rule, I usually start a level below what I finished on the previous season.  However for a couple of reasons I decided this.  One being that it’s been confirmed that Alberta’s Rose earned herself not one but two Novice Regional Final tickets for this season as a result of her two 3rd finishes in Novice classes last season.  So her aim for this season is to make it to the British Novice Championships.

As she is fairly new to this level, I realised that even if I did manage to qualify in a Regional Final class we would need to have completed an Intermediate class to complete the qualification.  Hence I decided that due to the work I had completed over the winter and the preparation I had put in before the first event, we went straight in at Novice level so as not to waste a run at 100 level.  Time is fairly tight before the Regional Final dates and the Championships in August to fit everything in so I figured I needed to go for it!

So with a couple of Showjumping and cross country schooling outings under our belt, off we headed to Tweseldown at the beginning of March.  

I never usually rush out to the very first events of the year mainly due to the miserable, wet and cold weather that comes along with March Eventing. However with the weather being so kind and time limits in place to fit everything in we did it.

We had a great day with respectable dressage of 32, 4 faults sj as I panicked and rushed her down a related distance causing her to take the back rail with her but then a super easy and relaxed clear cross country.  Due to it being our first run of the season I didn’t push for time and simply wanted a confident round which we easily accomplished.  A great start to the season.

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Since then we have been out Showjumping again and actually finished in the money for a 3rd in the 1.05m speed class of all classes!

Sadly our second run of the season was recently forfeited due to my pesky Jack Russell Alfie deciding to go out for walk with his big brother Smokie, however I soon realised that Smokie had returned without Alfie!

Panic set in after about an hour so I found myself climbing through fences and over ditches that evening trying to find him, but sadly to no avail.

This meant poor Alfie spent a night under the stars and me a sleepless night on the sofa watching out of the French doors all night in the hope he would return.

By the following morning Alfie had not returned so panic really did set in.  Calls made to a few friends saw them coming over to help with the search.

Alfie has been wearing a GPS on his collar for the last year as he does have a tendency to disappear out the back of my fields with his brother Smokie quite frequently.  As quick as I fix the holes in the fence, foxes come along and make new ones so I’m fighting a losing battle.

However, typically he managed to lose the GPS about a week ago and I was waiting for a new one so he didn’t have it on!

Anyway, due to his previous antics whilst wearing the GPS, I was aware of his usual routes so was able to search these areas and luckily by 11.30am the following morning after a few more hours searching I found Alfie, stuck in thick brambles attached by his collar unable to move.

My friend Lindsey bravely lept over the ditch and man handled Alfie out of the brambles while I collapsed on the ground hysterically crying as I couldn’t believe we had actually found him.  I had convinced myself he was either stuck down a rabbit hole or someone had stolen him.

Anyway by the time we returned home, it was sadly too late to leave to head out Eventing!  That’s a run we could have done without missing in order to complete our Eventing aims for the season, however some things are just more important than Eventing!

Her next stop will be Chilham Castle at the end of April now but I will head out Showjumping again in the meantime.

Alberta’s Pride has also been working very well over the winter and has really built up some strength.  He has also been out cross country training and felt absolutely super.

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He will be going out Showjumping this week before his first event at Horseheath on a couple of weeks time.

I how everyone’s season has started well and I wish everyone a successful and fun season ahead.

Until next time...