As I’ve been doing quite a lot of dressage training recently I have tried to focus on jumping over the past week as without realising the new eventing season is quickly approaching.
I decided to enter a British Eventing Jump Training (JT) competition which was held at Houghton Hall at the weekend. I hadn’t jumped in one of these types of competitions before so it was a new thing for me. Primarily I wanted to jump a couple of rounds at about 1m and as the competition has a large training element it seemed ideal for us both.
As a tune up to the competition I took Wanda to Waresley Park to jump a couple of rounds on their lovely outdoor school. I had decided that I needed to school over some larger courses to prove to myself I was more than capable of dealing with the weekend’s event. As usual Wanda was firing on all cylinders and jumped two lovely rounds, a warm up of 95cm and then at around 105-115cm.
It was really useful to test ourselves over a whole course, with tricky turns and combination fences.
Coco, who helps us out with the horses came along to help with fences and we had some fun playing with my new hat cam which wobbled a bit but footage can be seen here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6pQn4NElx4
Here are a couple of pictures from the day – lovely Wanda making a real effort!
We felt really well primed for the weekend’s competition. We had late times so I had a busy morning doing all the family stuff… swimming lessons, washing, cooking and mucking out.
The venue for the competition was Houghton Hall, about a ½ hr drive for me so really helpful. The venue has recently
had a massive facelift and was ideal for this sort of training competition as there is plenty of space and good quality surfaces.
The first part of the competition involved an explanation of the structure and a course walk with Tiny Clapham who was one half of the training team. Although I had show jumped a lot as a junior it was a useful experience to walk with a pro and consider lines, environment, distances and types of fences.
Following this we had time to tack up and warm up on the flat using Houghton’s huge outdoor arena. In Jump Training competitions you then have an allocated time for a guided jump warm up which was led again by Tiny. I have been lucky enough to have been taught by Tiny before and find her style really suits the way I learn and ride, so it was a really confidence giving experience and set me up well for the main phase of the competition.
The jumping round phases were led by Antonia Brown who was a new trainer to me. She invited us to jump the course, starting in our own time. I was a little nervous but once I’d started my nerves disappeared as I focussed on the course. Wanda jumped so boldly and I was really thrilled with my round, also considering I’d jumped one competitive round since last October!
I pulled up Wanda to have a break and a chat with Antonia. She gave some really positive feedback and I was quite proud of what we had already achieved. We spoke about how I gradually rode with more weight forward in my shoulders as the round progressed. Something I was aware of but still useful to note and definitely an area which I want to work on. I do attribute this to a lack of core strength post baby. I simply get tired and loose a bit of balance.
With this in mind I set off on round 2 of the course. This time I tried to ride with a light seat and softer, lighter shoulders. This technique really worked and I jumped even better than the first round… However it was not to be! Turning into the penultimate fence I remember feeling really tired and maybe didn’t ride such a balanced turn. As a result I really missed my striding, lost concentration and knocked the planks down. So disappointing after such great rounds and I felt I’d really let my little horse down.
Even more frustrating was looking at the scores and realising I had scored 8.5 out 9 out of ten for many elements and was lying on a very good style score of 18, but with an added penalty of 4 for the knock down. Sadly this knocked us out of the top qualifying 5, but within the top 10.
I left home feeling very pleased with the day and our performance. We ended up jumping two really great, confident rounds which has set us up well for the start of the season. I’ve also got some really useful pointers to work on and have set about improving my core and cardio fitness. Id also personally like to thank the BE trainers Antonia and Tiny and the wonderful team at Baileys that Support and make this happen. This weekend sees Black and White Eventing travelling to Bury Farm in Buckinghamshire to jump in the Baileys / BE JAS 100. This is a combination of show jumping and arena XC. Another challenge for us both 🙂