So this weekend we went to the Frickley Park Horse Trials in South Yorkshire for my second event with Sallymount (Sally) Metropole. I was a lot less nervous for this event, as now I know that to expect a bit more as did Sally. We had a much earlier start today than last time as my dressage time was 10.36 am. My friend Pip came with me as well, even with the early set off! I was very grateful of the company as it’s always nice to have someone to talk to on the journey there and back. We set off at 7.15 am and arrived around 9.30 am. Sally travelled over there beautifully as always and on arrival we went over to pay the starting fee and collect our number for my number bib, 25. My age :-p

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We got her off the lorry gave her a quick brush and Pip tacked her up for me whilst I got changed for my dressage test, tie and tweed blazer.

Sally had been clipped the day before so looks beautifully groomed and shiny now, huge thanks to Mark for that, she looks a picture now. I then had my friend Mark help with the studs in her shoes, to help her grip on the grass thoroughout the competition. Mark and Becky were at Frickley too as they had 3 in the BE90 as well. So plenty of people to help and support. Don’t know what I’d do without them all.

I did my dressage with no errors, to be honest there were a few little things a wasn’t happy with. I thought my 20 metre circles were a bit inaccurate which was noted in the test. So I need to work on that. I also had a few comments about Sally being hollow and needing to be smoother in her transitions. I spoke to my instructor Becky about these comments. She said basically it means that Sally wasn’t connected well enough from my leg to hand in parts of my test. We will work hard on our flatwork and dressage tests from now until Kelsall Hill, which is our next event in two weeks time. We scored at 32.8 which was improvement on our last score of 34.5. So we’re getting better and it’s still only my second ever dressage test.

We then walked the XC (Cross Country) course…

Wow, not an easy one at all. Becky walked it with Pip and I, as she was jumping it with her 3 horses too. We all agreed it wasn’t easy and there was a few real tricky parts to contend with. On the way round we spoke to a photographer Becky knows and he said the first few never even made it halfway round to where he was photographing. Oh great! There was a tricky skinny fence one stride then a big step down then two strides then another skinny downhill. So the step down had to be controlled and spot on so they didn’t run out of the jump afterwards.

Onto showjumping. Which was not an easy track to contend with. All three horses I watched jump before had a fence down as there was a double fence with a tricky distance in between. So most horses either had the first or second part down. Sally was a superstar and never touched a pole. We went clear and I felt like I was a lot more in control than at Solihull and helped her out alot more. I slowed it all down and was more organised towards the fences! So was super happy with both of us for our showjumping.

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As I said we had walked the cross country earlier in the day so knew what was to come. As I had gone clear showjumping it had made me so determined to be better than last time. There was no way we were having a stop XC this time. And I think Sally knew that. I got shouted over by the steward as I had forgotten to put my number on top of my body protector… schoolboy error. Thankfully Pip ran back to the wagon to grab it for me! They let a horse go onto the course every 90 seconds so you can go wait in the start box and have a walk into, round and back basically until it’s time to go. So the starters count you down for your set off. I got called over once the horse before had set off and then… off we went. Sally was a bit dubious over the first 2 or 3 jumps and was backing off going into them but I just kept with her and kept sending her. Jump 7AB and 8 was the skinny to the step to the skinny, a skinny being a narrow fence. These are harder to contend with as it’s much easier for the horse to run out either side. So you need to be very accurate on the approach.

A Skinny Fence

It actually rode alot easier than I thought it would. Sally took it all in her stride and popped over down the step and over 8 no problem at all! Thoroughout the XC she was keen like last time but controllable which I really like. I was in control and she as a lot less green than last time just from having done it only once before. What an absolute superstar she is and I wasn’t bad either if I do say so myself!

We were clear XC which I was ecstatic about although sadly we had 10 time-faults which is ok as we’re still learning the ropes and I wanted to be clear more than go at them too fast and have a stop. We know for next that a bit faster in-between fences and we’ll be spot on. We finished up with the dressage of 32.8 and time-faults of 10, so a final score of 42.8, which wasn’t quite good enough for the top 10 but we finished 12 out of 42. Which I’d say, for only our second event, is awesome. Just a few small things to work on and we’ll definately be in the top ten next time, fingers-crossed.

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I have a real buzz for eventing now and can’t wait for our next event, so a big, massive thumbs up to Frickley Park as it’s a beautiful location with a really nice set up.

Sally has given me so much confidence in her, and in myself, in all disciplines as she’s so well behaved and really does try her heart out for me… my horse is one on a million she really is. Sorry to say guys SHE IS NOT FOR SALE! ?

Thanks for reading… xxx
#loveeventing

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