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Sally and Russell's year end.

I can’t believe the Eventing season is over! To think we’ve competed at 12 events this year - it’s gone so quick, yet that first event at Poplar back in March feels like a lifetime ago! I remember walking the course, brushing off the bets about me giving a BE90 a go this year and yet I completed our 9th BE90 last month and even successfully achieved a clear round at a HT100 a few weeks previous too!


What a mad 6 months we’ve had -


Back in April we were just thankful to be eventing at Horseheath, after the awful weather and Russell’s 2nd spell of poorly feet only that week 🙄 so we were ecstatic to finish in 2nd place - our highest ever placing at BE..


Then it felt like we were never going to step up BE90 as every time the event was cancelled or we were balloted out! (Although, secretly it felt like such a big deal I was almost slightly relieved - what a rollercoaster of emotions!)


But, in May we finally gave it a go and what a valuable lesson I learnt that day - after missing the 2nd part of a brush combination I now ALWAYS look at the next part, determined not to let that happen again! This has stuck with me throughout the year and regardless of the funny line we’re on, keeping focused on where we’re going has landed us clear rounds at every xc run since! (more often thanks to Russell than my riding I must add!)


We didn't look back at BE80s - going on to compete at 12 BE90s this year, with 10 of these resulting in top 10 placings! To come 4th at Berkshire College on only our 2nd attempt was an amazing feeling - at a venue I'd never even been too and facing our fears jumping our first ever 90cm corner, so that was exciting 😊


Then we followed with our one and only sub 30 double clear, securing us a win at Keysoe in August - this was such a thrill and then to feature in our very own Horse & Hound article was just A-MAZING!


But, that did set the bar.. As I learnt more about our showjumping, the results got worse on the day when it mattered!

I started to overthink/ put pressure on myself each time we were out.. Knowing we were comfortable at this level and were capable of a top 5 placing each time we went out meant that I was disheartened after an average dressage, or a great dressage result affected by a pole showjumping..  One of my biggest learnings this year is don't overthink it - ride the showjumping round like I would at home and relax! Further to this - don't write it off - with a clear xc round inside the time, a top 10 placing was often still secured!


I have really enjoyed testing myself with other disciplines as well this year - I've loved our British Showjumping outings - this has always felt like a technical phase I’ve needed to learn more about.. This year saw us register with BSJ and not only did I work through Russell’s ‘chipping in and pinging me off’ issues, I am now comfortably competing at British Novice and even found my brave pants giving Discovery classes a go on more than one occasion! (Hopefully one day it won’t look like we’re playing bowling though)


A highlight was jumping in the Eventer Challenge at Blenheim in September - another frustrating pole meant I cost the team a win, but I was really grateful for the opportunity to get involved and was really proud of not only remembering the hugely confusing course, but jumping some decent sized xc jumps and really going for the time too! What a prestigious venue to compete at 😊


We’ve also worked hard at our flatwork this year, giving a Novice test a go at BD recently - no mean feat for me considering I still couldn’t tell you where the ‘funny’ letters are! I’ve loved riding on the flat in my Cavaletti Collection tack and Russell is really comfortable too - we just need to perfect this further to become more consistent. Our dressage highlight was without a doubt representing our Ingatestone & Blackmore Riding Club at the BRC qualifier that we won on a score of 70%! And our judge even got out her car to compliment us also :)


A season of so many successes and the best feeling was ending it with an attempt at a 100cm HT run - not only surviving, but going clear too! I'm really excited about lots of 1m showjumping & arena eventing courses over the winter, to look at giving a BE100 a go in 2019! Watch this space 😊...


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