Storming into the season with Sophie Hall
The past month seems to have absolutely flown by! We have had a busy schedule with both horses and I even had the opportunity to escape to Badminton Horse Trials and Ireland for Tattersall’s which were absolutely fantastic. The sun has been shining, despite the odd thunderstorm and we have finally seen more events going ahead and the event season getting well underway.
Last month we were delighted to finally get out eventing at the beautiful Kelsall Hill with my horse Gus. This month we headed to Rockingham International, one of my personal favourites. My main aim for this time out was to improve on our dressage and I was delighted with how hard my horse tried for me. We were in a big professional section but to our amazement we were in poll position with a 26.8 and a pole in hand. The show jumping course was up to height but a nice flowing track in a large arena which I knew should suit him well. He warmed up really nicely and we kicked off the course feeling motivated and positive. However, sadly pure bad luck struck and after knocking an unlucky pole Gus came into some trouble and sliced his back leg open. The vet team were absolutely brilliant on site and I cannot thank them enough for their help on the day! Sadly, this meant we had to withdraw and some medication and time off for Gus to heal up. He seemed to have jarred himself as a week later he was still not quite himself so we have been taking it easy and the physio is popping over to give him some much needed TLC. Not quite the May we were hoping for but I am pleased to say he will be back up and running in June.
Whilst we may have been feeling a little down with poor Gus, my other horse George has certainly lifted all our spirits. This month we finally took the plunge and I entered the world of showing! My dad used to show George in his younger years and was so so excited to see me give it a go, it was a real family outing. I swapped my white jods, diamante browbands and navy jacket for beige jods, tweed jackets and a hunting crop – I felt very out of my depth! The class was large, with a lot of lovely horses but everyone was so friendly, we had great fun. I expected very little but the judges adored him and we came away with the win scoring 97% across the 3 categories! This means we are one step away from qualifying for Olympia – exciting!! Being the overachiever he has also qualified for POYS and the SEIB Trailblazer Championship Finals 2018. What a special 21-year-old horse this cheeky chappy is, he really proves age is just a number.
Later in the month we headed out to Kingswood for a bit of British Dressage where we came 2nd in Elementary 59. We still have lots to work on, mainly achieving better relaxation as he finds the big arenas very exciting (!) but we are also achieving some 8s which is super promising! To top it all off, the exciting email arrived confirming this little superstar has now also qualified for a British Dressage PetPlan Area Festival 2018 at Elementary level – wow, wow, wow!
GB Student Riders
We finished the month by sending a British team over to Romania for the next leg of the Student Rider Nations Cups. This was the first SRNC I have not attended as team Chef d’équipe for a very long time but the girls did a brilliant job and came away with Team 4th and an individual Bronze medal in the SJ too! Meanwhile I had a brilliant time catching up with our Irish student riders at Tattersall’s International event. It was an eye opening opportunity to learn more about FEI eventing in Ireland and to see what is involved in travelling to compete abroad for our UK friends. Finally, we ran another GBSR trial where we saw some fab young riders with lots of potential and hopefully future medallist for us.
Let’s hope the event season gets well on the way next month and little George continues to strut his stuff in the showing world.
You can catch up with Sophie's other blogs here
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