Brand Ambassador Coral Keen and Cascadelle Win at Waregem
What an amazing horse Lola is to win two CIC one stars back to back. She has done far more than I ever expected of her as a six year-old. Having won at Gatcombe International earlier in September, my plan was not to try and win at Waregem, but to give her the experience of an international competition and broaden her horizons but she had a clear lead from the start after her beautiful dressage test was followed by a double clear. I’ve withdrawn her from the six-year-old championships at Osberton as I feel she’s done enough this season. She will have a couple of months off and I will aim her for a CCI* next spring with a CIC2* the long-term aim.
We’re really lucky to have Lola’s dam, Eva, who has bred two more youngsters, a yearling gelding by Sir Donnerhall and a two-year-old filly by Quay. They are both really lovely and I am particularly excited about Chilly, the filly, who is out of a jumping line similar to Lola. She shares a lot of Lola’s characteristic and is very cheeky.
So near, yet so far.
Eventing is a sport of huge highs and massive lows and when I should been celebrating Lola’s win I was feeling absolutely gutted about coming off Derby at the 19th fence, not least because it was our Nations Cup debut in the CCI3*. He did a very good dressage test, although I did manage to forget the last movement, something I was paranoid about beforehand – a true case of a self-fulfilling prophecy! It was very costly and frustrating but after a clear showjumping we moved up to 12th place. I had an amazing round cross country and have never ridden so fast in my life. By three and a half minutes we were already at the 15th fence, which shows how intense the course is. But Derby was flying and really focused. I came into the woods, set him up before a difficult sunken road, got him back to a nice quiet canter, but some reason, he left a leg on the white rails. It’s lucky that he didn’t fall but as he twisted I got thrown out of the side door, so I had to do the walk of shame again. I felt terrible, as I’d let my horse down and the British team. It was such a shame, as we would have had a really good result. As I have had two falls at FEI competitions I now have to go back to three star to re-qualify for a four star. I’ve decided to give Derby an easy couple of weeks at home and then I will go to Oseby for an open intermediate where he’ll have a quiet run so that we finish the season on a positive note. Hopefully we will go for Fountainbleu for a three star and then aim for Badminton next May.
Jake excels on one star debut
Jake (Highmead Proposition), who I also rode in the CIC*, started eventing this March having never done it before and he’s come such a long way. He was little tense in his dressage but, without wanting to make excuses, there was a hole at X, which had been filled with white sand, which caused him to spook. The next day they moved the arena! He showjumped a lovely clear over the biggest track I have jumped on him and then was excellent cross country. We took the long routes as he is inexperienced at that level and I wanted to make sure he stayed confident, but a double clear at his first one star was brilliant and we finished 25th out of 109 starters.
Five-year-old championships for April
We’re currently at Osberton where April (Total Belief) is competing in the five-year-old championships. At Monmouth, she won a BE100 where she felt lovely performing a great test and jumping an easy double clear to win her section. She’s a young horse and Osberton will be a big learning curve for her with the bigger atmosphere. I am sure she’ll cope really well and take it all in her stride.