Sophie Hall here, Shearwater Insurance's Search for a Star winner! Well it may seem like a lifetime ago already but wasn’t it amazing to see the sun this month?! Our brief heatwave saw everyone strip off and brave our holiday shorts in hope of getting some much needed Vitamin D. Our horses finally got to enjoy the sun on their backs without their rugs and I think it is fair to say everyone was just generally happier!
Showjumping Season Finale
This month gorgeous Gus went out for our final Showjumping outing. After 3 weeks off competing with the March snow and our first planned event of the season getting cancelled, he felt fab and came away with a 3rd and 4th in the 1m and 1.10m classes – clever boy! The following week we were delighted to hear that we had placed 5th overall in the Bow House Major Showjumping league and won some lovely goodies courtesy of Topspec, Shires and Wynnstay Country Stores. This really was so exciting for us as the SJ is a phase Gus has struggled with. It seems all the hard work facing his fears this winter is definitely paying off!
A surprise parcel – has Christmas come early?!
It feels like we have been very lucky with lots of goodies this month – the best of all being our Shearwater Insurance kit!! When the postman dropped off this enormous box with my name of it I had no clue what it was but boy was it a lovely surprise. The navy, red and white kit matches our XC colours and the boys both look super smart in it. We have had lots of admirers already and can’t wait to continue getting out and about across the eventing, dressage and showing circuits, spreading the Shearwater Insurance name this summer and chatting about their horse insurance.
THE EVENT SEASON HAS FINALLY BEGUN!!
As the sun came out this month, so we saw a few British Events finally getting the opportunity to run. We were delighted that Kelsall Hill, our second planned event of the year, was going ahead and Gus could finally get going! Having not had the opportunity to ride on grass or go XC schooling I was a little apprehensive to how the day would go but the main aim was to have fun, take one phase at a time, and if he felt fit and happy, go for it!! He warmed up beautifully for the dressage and felt surprisingly relaxed. As we made our way over to the arena however, the sight of the XC warm up came into view and one could describe my ride as a little like sitting on hot coals! He pulled off a nice test with no big mistakes, his tail was swishing and our working trot was verging on extended but I am pleased to say he managed to keep it together without any big explosions. We were chuffed to see he got a score of 27, with lots of room for improvement which is exciting!
Next onto the SJ. The poor competitor in front of us had one of those unlucky days coming away with 30 penalties and I would be lying if I said it didn’t make me a little bit anxious. Nevertheless, Gus jumped super, neatly clearing his fences. Sadly, it was a sack the jockey moment as we came to the final triple line by which point we had got a bit of a spurt on! Where I should have taken a half halt to balance him up, we instead went in at lightning speed sadly just knocking 2 poles. Nevertheless, it was great to feel Gus so keen and I couldn’t fault his performance.
Finally, the bit we had all been waiting for – the Cross Country!! The moment we entered that warm up field I would describe it as a little kid in a candy shop…it was a rare occurrence if we had all four feet on the floor, and every warm up fence we jumped came with a ‘yee-hah’ bronc afterwards. Whilst many may have thought it looked terrifying, for me it was the best feeling to know how much he loves this job. As always Captain Mark Phillips had built a fantastic, up-to-height course, with a beautiful galloping flow with plenty of technical questions. The ground was near perfect and we had the best time! Gus jumped everything out of his stride and came in clear, making it feel very easy, 10 seconds under the optimum time. We had so much fun and returned home as if Gus was ready to do it all again the next day.
A final finish to this month was for gorgeous George, our coloured Irish Sports Horse, who is living a second life as a dressage diva. As a youngster, he did a lot of coloured showing with my dad so this year I decided we would have a go at the Senior Showing series which finishes with a few lucky winners fighting for the Champion title at the prestigious Olympia! Well…I have never, ever competed at a show….so I have no idea what we are doing! No doubt I will be asking Shearwater’s showing star Chloe for her top tips.
Nevertheless, Sunday we decided we would take George to the BHS Platinum Show in Warwickshire for an Olympia first round qualifier. Hours of bathing, scrubbing those long white socks, and plaiting manes, little George was looking as good as he was ever going to look. Unfortunately, the little devil emerged and after an hour of not wanting to load, my father the horse whisperer did win the battle of the egos and got him loaded, only to discover that the lorry had a flat battery and wouldn’t start. Someone was telling us not to go! I was really gutted but luck was just not on our side. This is where my top tip comes in for this month: everyone has unlucky days, don’t worry about it, see the positive side and come up with a Plan B! The positive side was George was squeaky clean, we hadn’t broken down on a motorway somewhere, and we were going to be at home for dinner. It wasn’t long before we had two new batteries ordered and a new showing schedule in place for next weekend so all is not lost.
You can catch up with our runner up Search for Star winner Daniel Bates who's latest blog can be found here
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