Photoshoots And Dress Rehearsals

Today has been a rather unusual day at Little Charingworth Stud as Fiona (Scott-Maxwell) came to do some photos for a magazine! We had all been praying for sunshine or at least no rain and we were blessed with no rain and a watery sun trying to push through.

Ursula was particularly excited about photos with Fiona although I must admit the rest of us were rather dreading it as none of us would consider ourselves oil paintings and our house/yard are not likely to feature in Cotswold Life in the near future. That being said we are blessed with a lovely home and beautiful views and Fiona worked her magic, making us all look respectable!

On a more serious note the horses have all pulled up well from their run at Burnham Market at the weekend. The event was mixed for me: Coco and Tim went very well, with Coco excelling himself and coming second in the CIC** – he does everything so easily and I’m very excited about him for the future as he has so much natural ability and a great mind. I was also really pleased with Tim, he’s a new ride for me this season and I’d only had one run with him previously around the OI at Lincoln and so the step up to the CIC*** was a bit of an unknown as to how it was going to go. He got tense in the dressage which takes place next to the cross country on the surface but tried hard in the show jumping with two rails and then gave me a good ride around the cross country – he is very experienced and he gave me a great ride with a real sense of ‘knowing his job’.

Bella and Hipp didn’t have the best of outings at Burnham Market. Bella was difficult in the dressage and then had a very uncharacteristic four down in the show jumping but bombed around the cross country; if ridden positively she is very brave across country and I feel we’ve now got a really good partnership between us. Hipp did a great test to lead the dressage in a strong CIC*** section, but disappointingly he then had four down show jumping and a glance off cross country. He is a great jumper so I’m a bit at a loss to explain the show jumping other than he didn’t like the ground as he had the rails in front which he never does. On the cross country he didn’t understand the question (the middle element of three offset brush/bullfinch fences) and got confused with what I was asking and ducked out – he jumped the rest of the course brilliantly.

So all in all not the best dress rehearsal  for Badminton but I have learnt more about each horse again which I can take away and build on  in my next outings with them. Hipp and Tim won’t run cross country again before Badminton: I will take them cross country schooling a couple of times to work on the type of fences they are likely to face at Badminton, and do the 4star test and show jumping at Weston Park and then go show jumping a few times and out to dressage competitions and lessons, along side fitness work on the gallops before Badminton, to work on continuing to refine things and ensure no stone is left unturned in the horses preparation.

Jenny and I have sat down and planned out the work diary for all the horses aiming for Spring three days for the next eight weeks. For example we pinpoint their key competitions and then around that build in lessons, practice dressage and show jumping dates, canter days at the gallops, and down time for the horses. Around each horse’s programme we then  work out their shoeing programme and physio treatments to ensure they all happen at the optimum time slots around their key competitions and in advance of their three day events.

I’m off to Portman tomorrow with the babies to do the BE100 class and Emma and Mary are also competing in the BE100 with Puzzle and Keedy. I shall report back on how that goes.

Cheers,

Bill

Posted 6th April

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