More Competition

Having recently finished my A-Levels and left school forever I was eager to get back to competingmy horse; Lasina, instead of facing the daily dismal task of revision. Having not been out for numerous weeks I attended multiple day shows with the intention of achieving my four double clears in the Newcomer first rounds, thus enabling me to attend the 2016 second rounds. Fortunately Lasina and I received our four double clears with ease within the month of July, enabling us to focus upon achieving our four Foxhunter double clears and stepping up to 1.30m classes.

Towards the beginning of the month, from the 7th-9th July, I attended the CSI** International show at Keysoe with Lasina. This was my first international show which was rather daunting, however, overall it was a success and a wonderful experience. On the first day of the show I competed in the 1.15m, where the course was inviting and relatively straightforward, with flowing lines and distances. Throughout this course Lasina jumped confidently with one minor mistake, to end on a score of 4 faults. Following this, on the second day of the competition I once again contested in the 1.15m, personally I felt as though this course was more technical than the first day having a wider range of difficulties than the first course, with multiple turn backs and distances. However, despite the technical difficulty, Lasina did not struggle and competently completed the course, giving me a confident ride throughout our round to finish on a clear. Due to a successful first two days of the show, with Lasinacapably jumping round the 1.15m tracks we decided to progress into the 1.25m Grand Prix class on the third and final day.This course was by far the most technical out of my three classes, not only due to the change in height but alsothe multiple difficulties and tasks it presented in attempt to catch both horse and rider out. The course consisted of numerous turn-backs and related distances in an effort to cause faults, requiring me to ride with accuracy and a forward canter in order to enable Lasina to easily make up the distances. Throughout my round Lasina jumped competently and fluently, unfazed by the change in height or difficulty, overcoming the challenging course, jumping it with ease, finishing on an unlucky 4 faults as a result of rolling a pole into the first part of a double. Overall the show was a great success with Lasina progressing each day, resulting in a pleasing experience of my first international show.

Towards the latter part of the month, Lasina and I attended Arena UK on the 25th July to contest in the Newcomer second rounds. The course was yet another technical track with multiple challenges and difficulties, as well as the time allowed being tight, constricting the amount of space that could be used in the arena, therefore I needed to ensure that I rode positively with a forward canter, to avoid any faults relating to the time. As well as this,not only was the course up to height, but it also includedan open water which I had never jumped on Lasinaprior to this specific show, therefore I was advised to approach it positively with a forward canter to ensure that she cleared it ably. Following the water was a six stride distance down to a double, which felt like it came up immediately after the water, this was as a result of having ridden with a forward canter into the water, meaning that I struggled to collect Lasina’s canter back up, resulting in the final fence falling. However, despite this, she jumped the rest of the course with ease, resulting in a fluent round with one minor mistake; I myself was pleased with her round as it was our first attempt at second rounds this year.

Next up on July’s agenda was yet another day show, where Lasina achieved her final Newcomer first round double clear. This not only crossed the task of achieving my four double clears off of the list, but it also counted as a warm up for the Newcomer Second Rounds at Patchetts EC in early August.

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Following a successful July, I was excited to continue progressing forwards with Lasina into August. First up on the agenda was the Newcomer Second Rounds at Patchetts EC. We travelled down the day prior to the Second Rounds in attempt to gain a Newcomer First Round double clear, which we did, ensuring that Lasina has now qualified for the 2016 Second Rounds which is pleasing. This Newcomer also acted as a warm up for the Second Rounds the following day. The course for the Second Rounds was particularly technical with multiple complex lines and distances, including a combination and an open water. Despite being up to height and a technical course, Lasina did not struggle and aptly progressed throughout the course, improving with each fence. However, we were caught out when jumping out of a one stride double, due to Lasina’s forward canter I was unable to collect her back in time, resulting in the second part of the double falling. However, despite this unlucky fence she still jumped confidently, completing the rest of the course with ease. Overall, I was content with Lasina’s performance at her second attempt of a Newcomer Second Round.

Moving further into August we attended multiple day shows with the aim of achieving more Foxhunter First Round double clears. Both of which competitions were held at The Jays Equestrian Centre. Lasina gained two Foxhunter double clears at both shows with ease, adapting to the difficult courses, jumping them fluently and competently. As well as this, we also gained another 1.30 double clear which was pleasing.

Amidst the hectic schedule of August was my A-Level results day, therefore the rest of the week was dedicated to celebrations and partying!
Once having recovered from the previous weeks endeavours, Lasina and I set off for the National Inter-Academy Team Event at Weston Lawns EC, held on the 19th-20th. I was entered into the 1.20 class, in a team with 3 other members. On the first day of the competition we were the final class to jump, therefore we had the whole day to prepare and liaise, formulating a team strategy for jumping. Having walked the course and discussed the different lines and distances, we were confident that we could produce a respectable first performance. Having been drawn second to jump within our team, Lasina jumped a confident round, until the last fence, becoming slightly unsettled, resulting in the last fence falling, ending on a score of 4 faults. Despite this, she jumped well and I was pleased with her performance. The following day consisted of the same course which had been altered in height. Having had the last fence down the previous day, I was determined to produce a clear, therefore, I made certain that we did not make the same mistake as before, causing me to ride to the last fence differently. This strategy paid off as Lasina and I produced a clear round, resulting in a team score of 0. This therefore meant an overall result of the Norfolk Team winning the Gold Medal, which we were ecstatic about. The show was a great success and was a wonderful experience to win a team event alongside my friends.

After the Academy Teams Lasina had a well-deserved rest, which consisted of hacking out and light schooling at home until our next show, towards the beginning of September.

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