August started off well for us; Team Proud made the long trip to Blakesley Show (including Suzi Proud, team mascot and dog!) where Alfie won yet another second round qualifier, he was then again second reserve in the championship so just missed out on qualifying for Olympia which was quite a disappointment for us all here at Proud Eventing. Even Alfie looked a bit miserable after the long journey up to just miss out on qualifying again! But he was soon persuaded to look cheerful again after a bit of Likit Electro-Bar to help the old boy get home after such a long day! Here he is below in his pyjamas with Suzi the dog!
Elzas has also been a star again and I really cannot wait to get out competing, we are trying to be careful not to rush him as he really does seem to be a future superstar! We took him to Hill House farm, a fantastic equine facility, down the road from us, where I schooled him over a course of spooky fillers; he didn’t have a problem at anything and was quick to demand his Likit Snaks knowing he’d been such a good boy! His flatwork is also coming on really well, I have been lucky enough to have had some lessons lately with my dressage trainer Alice Peternell thanks to help from Likit Products with the money we received when we became part of #teamlikit! I have been trained by Alice since I was 9 years old so this year is her 10th year of teaching me! Alice appears to be a fan of Elzas (although she never has been one to give too much away!). Elzas definitely knows we love him though and takes advantage of this, often helping himself to the Likit Snaks off the side, even if that means shaking the packet so violently it comes open!
August has been a bit mix and match for Schmaul and I. Our showjumping has been much improved and we have been jumping lovely clears together...I have to put this down to the grid-work we have been doing...(I will let you in on our secret). We get our training exercises from a book called ‘Training Showjumpers’ by Anthony Paalman, it has everything in there for whatever type or age horse you are training to jump! I would certainly recommend this book to anyone looking to improve or even perfect their jumping! Our cross country has also been going rather too well...with Schmaul getting 6 time penalties for going too fast at our first event this month and then 18 time penalties for going too fast at our last event! Had we not got speeding fines at both of these events we would have been well placed, so it was quite disappointing for us! Anyhow he is feeling wonderful and I really enjoy being a passenger whilst he takes me for a cruise round the cross country course! I have put a picture in of Schmaul and I messing around doing our impersonation of the latest viral clip circulating around facebook!! (p.s it took several likit treats to persuade him to join in on it as he wasn’t sure he wanted to look silly!)
Unfortunately it was also a very hard month for us as we had to make the sad decision to have two of our horses put to sleep. One was Charlie my Mums horse by Dutch Gold, who she bred from her first pony, he was sadly beginning to suffer from the effects of old age and it was unfair to make him keep going. The other was my horse Hally who very sadly suffered a very complicated break of his pedal bone. We miss them every day, but hopefully they are in a more comfortable place now. It was the saddest day of my life so far, having been very lucky never to have lost anything I loved so much before. Below is a picture of hally jumping and also a picture of my mum with Charlie and her first pony Beanie (who was Charlie’s mum). Thanks to Likit for making their last weeks enjoyable with all the treats and licks they could dream of.
Our month finished with a trip to the World Equestrian Games in Normandy. It was a lovely trip and our first ever family holiday abroad! We got to do lots of touristy things like visiting Le Mont St Michel , where a lot of the endurance riding took place, we went and visited the national stud of Saint-Lo, tried the local drink- calvados (very strong!) and visited Bayeux (where the Bayeux tapestry is found...although we didn’t manage to find where it is kept ourselves, oops!). We went to watch the Grand Prix individual test where we saw Charlotte and Valegro win gold again, having last seen them live at the Olympics in 2012! We also visited the equestrian village which had everything horsey you could imagine from the latest technology in treatment for sarcoids to hermes saddles and equestrian gear! The highlight though has to have been seeing a Zebra/Horse cross being ridden! He was beautiful, at a distance he looked painted but when you got closer you could see the delicate markings on his face! It was incredible to see, a once in a lifetime kind of thing! I have put some of the pictures from our little holiday below including pictures of the zebra/horse cross!