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Training for all the event horses is properly firing up. Last week we took six out onto the gallops on Monday and another load out the next day. They’re all ticking over nicely, and we can start looking forward with some excitement to the season ahead – especially now that pesky snow is out the way (fingers crossed!)
We have fourteen event horses to compete and they’re all getting primed and ready to rock and roll. In the future it’s possible that I will have lots more five and six-year-olds and the yard might also grow as the season goes on – but in order for smooth running and a good transitionary period to integrate new horses into the routine it’s best to do it a few horses at a time.
The first event we’re aiming at is Aldon (18-20 March) – we’re there for all three days and we’ll be taking nine or ten horses. To the non-professional event yard it may seem a bit daunting but when you have that many horses competing, you make sure you plan everything to the ninth degree – from running order, to the time to get on each horse, to the right dress – whether dressage tails or cross country colours or whatever. It’s pretty intense. To be honest it’s easier at the higher level, perhaps with the better regiment of organisation at the events. It can be harder at the smaller competitions.
The excellent training facilities at Pontispool are only forty-five minutes away from our yard in the lorry. We’ve utilised the Arena XC course several times through the winter months, which has been splendid for our fitness levels.
The gallops there are first-class; they’re circular and you can go round and get a nice rhythm going, which is obviously essential when you’re training. For part of the year I also use Phillip Hobbs’ gallops, as Phillip has more hill climbs, so you can get a proper ‘pipe opener’ run before a big event.
My good friends, Ces & Lucy at Pontispool, came to our charity ball recently and loved it. They have kindly given me a new ride, Ginge, an ex-racehorse who is with us training to be an eventer. He will be going from BE100 and hopefully step up to Novice this season. Ces & Lucy are excited at the prospect of having an eventer; Ces (Richard Mitford-Slade) got his trainer’s license for racehorses this season and has already had some thrilling wins. I think for eventers to get racing people interested in the sport is a good way to join up the different equestrian disciplines. It’s occasionally rumoured in the racing world and eventing world everyone thinks the other lot are snooty – but neither set of people are! We’re just a bunch of people with the same, but different, interests at heart – horses and sport, with our own distinct disciplines and we can all get along very nicely.
We are incredibly fortunate to have the support of Pontispool and their super facilities, and now an event horse to bring on too. Exciting times.