Another busy month, somehow fitting in competing, training and exams! I sat down to write this blog and I genuinely couldn’t remember what had happened there has been so much going on.
This month started off with the second Student Rider Nations Cup of the year, this time held in Poland at the amazing Jaszkowo Riding Centre, from the 28th April to the 1st May. For the dressage first round we drew against Ireland and Britain, it was a really tough draw so we just hoped to ride our best and see if we could beat them. Luckily both myself and Annelous managed to score the top marks on our horses and go through to the second round. For the second round test I rode the most beautiful grey, he was lovely but was quite tired as he had been ridden in the first round and I was the last to ride in the second rounds. Luckily I had some great tips from Milou before I went in and he seemed to go really well.
The next day was the beginning of the jumping, again we drew a really tough first round again Germany and Belgium! I was the first to ride my horse and it was going well until I turned him away from the warm up and he napped leading to a refusal. Despite this my teammates Annelous and Rik made it through to the second rounds in the afternoon.
That evening we had the gala dinner, this is a chance for all the riders to get dressed up in something other than their competition wear and it is also when the riders that are through to the third rounds are announced. I went through to the third round dressage and Rik made it through to the show jumping third round.
The next morning my test was bright and early at 9:30 am, I drew a horse called Oldie, who was lovely and knew all the moves, but needed some persuasion to give them to you! I ended up 5th in the dressage, and together with Rik winning the show jumping and Annelous finishing 4th overall; Team Netherlands were 3rd overall! It was an amazing weekend especially as the first competition of this type ever organised in Poland.
The next two weekends were extremely busy with team training in preparation for Worlds at the end of June. On the 7th we were lucky enough to be allowed to train at the Dutch National Equestrian Centre in Ermelo, it was really good practice to ride in such a large arena with stands and flags. The facilities were amazing and we got to ride some really lovely horses.
The next training on the 14th was held at 4 star rider Alice Naber-Lozeman’s yard and she also very kindly lent us two horses to train with. Again we had lovely horses and I learnt a lot that I can use on my own horses. Before the training we were also able to pick up our beautiful team boots that were very kindly made for us by Derby. They are really lovely, but I did have to wear them to get them on the plane back home!
After my exams finished I was back out eventing, with Pheobe in the 100 at Borde Hill. She was much improved in the dressage to score 33.3, her best score to date. She then had an annoying 2 down in the show jumping which was completely the jockey’s fault for being a little rusty. We then went cross country and she started a little green but soon got going and was flying along until we came to the step at 7 and although I set her up it took her by surprise and we stopped. She jumped it on the second attempt and then got going again flying through the tricky combinations until fence 11 which was a duck followed by a slope into the water. Again I set her up, but she didn’t seem to realise there was a reason for this and we stopped! Again clear on the second attempt and got as far as fence 16 a hanging log into water where we both seemed to run out of steam and were eliminated. So more schooling needed!
On a more positive note Maria went cross country schooling at Tweseldown on Tuesday and she was feeling amazing. She popped over all the Novice jumps like they were nothing, I can’t wait to finally get her out to her first event at BCA.
Now that university is finished for the summer, eventing can get going and there are now less than 4 weeks until I’m off to Sweden for Worlds, it’s all starting to get quite real and I’m really excited!