So after starting the season with a not-so-good time at Floors in the CIC1* where I withdrew after SJ, I have had a couple of runs at Intermediate-Novice to give myself a step up but without the scary Intermediate fences. We've had two runs so far, and to keep going while things were good I entered the Intermediate at Aske (eek!)
Little did I know that Aske is supposed to be a beefy Intermediate, but we were accepted into section A and were on early as requested (to avoid the heat!)
I pootled down the three hours south to stable overnight on Friday and then up at 4am Saturday to dash round the XC before we started.
Hmm, it was beefy, and technical. The first 5 fences were nice and inviting :D
6ab was a rail, four forward strides to a gappy corner with a fall away on landing. It was huge and I didn't like it! 🤢
7 to 8 was a parallel of bee hives left hand turn down hill to a narrower bee hive
9ab roll top with brush skinnies on a related line 3-4 strides
10, 11ab was a parallel four strides to a two stride double of offset hedges...
12 was a table, sweep left about 10 strides to a cover at 13a, right turn four strides to a table 13B
14 was the trakhner
15/16 were removed due to the ground
17 ditch palisade
18 corner straight
19abc skinny brush into water then step up and bounce over a log
Right turn to 20 a carved fish trakhner
homeward straight over a table, house and brush fence to finish.
So I felt sort of ok, but sort of not after walking it, the corner was massive and gappy and I didn't like the striding and also haven't jumped a step up to bounce before!
I need gin….. to the lorry park and find my little 7.5t in amongst the mahoosive trucks parked around me. I think there were more pop-outs than not and the neighbouring truck had driven 5 hours (!) from the Cotswolds to get there!
So I headed off for dressage, meh, its a working progress. 40 dressage, sitting trot looking better but I need to fix my whimsical contact and stop throwing the reins at her. BD this winter I think!!
We weren’t last but a few places up from last. I have a tendency to freeze in the arena and ride like a lemon so its all working progress!
SJ - Very few clear rounds although it was a lovely course and the course builder had made good use of the undulating ground. Didn’t spend too long warming up as the ground was hard so over a couple of decent uprights and a parallel and we were in. We lost a bit of height coming out the treble for the last part down and then I let her bowl on down to a four stride related distance and we got deep to the next fence. Pleased we never got time faults though as so many did! Video here: https://youtu.be/UNC6yPYortc
Back to XC!
I was 7th to go in my section and there were 4 sections of Intermediates (loads!!). Walking to XC I heard two people retire at 6B, one fall and at least one have a run out... it did not bode well! I arrived in the warm up to see one horse finishing absolutely white with sweat, and just one rider in front of me. Two fences jumped in the warm up, and walked over to the start box. I decided to ditch the watch, I am a slow XC rider and usually pick up time faults, but for our first run I felt the time wasn’t important I just wanted to get round.
Annnnnd breathe….. walking over to the start box I suddenly felt nervous, mostly for fence 6, and told myself to kick on out the box and get in a good rhythm over the first few fences which should set me up for the rest.
Setting off out the start box, I tried to kick on and saw some good strides to the first 3 fences, then a veeeeery dodgy stride to fence 4 (apologies to the jump judge as I shouted WOAH on take off it was not pretty!), not a bad stride to 5 and then a quick decision as we came down the hill to turn to fence 6 that I would go on a short 5 stride A to B so cue a lot of setting up, a bouncy canter, good stride in and popped over part a and then one, two, three, four, five........PINGED over part B!! rock on we had done it and we were away, boy it was a big fence!
And now very quickly onto the rest. Dwina was brill but backed off several fences and I really had to stay committed. Although I was positive and asked her to jump I was also a bit less forward as I didn’t have much chance to pick up the pace I’d lost but she jumped when I asked and kept on looking for the next fence so we kept on going! Round over the last couple of fences and I'm so so pleased that we finished full of running and CLEAR!!! What a girl my Dwinababes is! She was sweaty but no white lathery foam and she got her breath back very quickly. We picked up a bucket load of time and just pipped out of the placings to finish 11th!
Super thrilled, things to work on in all phases but the Brave pants well and truly ready to go for the next one so I have now entered Burgham Intermediate – fingers crossed it’s a bit kinder!