Summer memories and spring plans
Alex Norris recalls highlights of last season
In July we had a super time at Frickley Park as part of the CCI* Under 18 Central team. There was a great atmosphere and Minnie Moo performed well. The dressage was good for Minnie and we managed to contain the explosions until the final centre line, to gain a respectable 53.5, despite the persistent rain – my breeches are still stained blue from my socks! That evening we went to the cocktail party laid on by the organisers and had great fun.
The highlight was the auction for the opportunity to ride with Willberry the Wonder Pony on the XC the next day. I decided to bid with my winnings from Nunney and, with the help of the central team, we managed to win the auction (I think Mum has now banned me from any future auctions). The XC the next afternoon was really good and Minnie pulled out all the stops to get a clear inside the time, so Willbury and I had a great ride.
The showjump track was technical and the time tight; in the end we had a 2 poles down and couple of time faults. This sadly pushed us just out the top 20. Overall the week was great fun with lots of friends, and the team came 4th.
Helping the team to 4th place
A new ride!
We then had quiet time in August with no competitions, however we did have a couple of equine excursions – one to the sunny climes of Scotland to view a horse for lease, called Treefers (Trevor). Trev is an extremely experienced, if rather naughty, schoolmaster who was produced by Emily Parker through to 4*. He has now travelled down south and joined our team.
A busy September
We resumed eventing with a bang with 2 events in a weekend. We started on the Friday at Gatcombe with Minnie Moo, doing our first 2* together. Minnie did a nice test, but a bit of tension left us with a score of 61.1. At Monmouth the next day, Trev and I did our first Novice together. Trev did an exuberant test and despite the bucks gained a 27 dressage. We then went on to do a rather energetic double clear, and finished 7th. Alex’s first XC on Treefers On Sunday we returned to Gatcombe to do Minnie’s jumping phases. We started with the XC, which was big, bold and very technical! Minnie was fantastic but unfortunately we showed our lack of experience at the bogey fence and picked up 20 faults. Despite this we where very happy as 1/3 of the field did not even complete! Unusually the show jumping was after the XC, but this format really played to our advantage as Minnie jumped a super clear over a technical track. Minnie Moo showjumping at Gatcombe. Overall we were really pleased with both horses and were looking forward to our final event at Aldon.
Between Gatcombe and Aldon we did a lot of training with both Minnie and Trev and had some great dressage lessons with Rob Lumb.
At Aldon we had both Minnie and Trev competing, Minnie in the CIC2* and Trev in the CIC1*. We started on Friday with Trev’s dressage, which was good just lacking partnership and concentration at times. We then had Minnie’s dressage early the next morning, but she had become rather attached to Trevor and was a bit of a handful when we tried to take her away to warm up. She spend quite a lot of time standing on her hind legs but after numerous calmers and 2 1/2 hours of warm up we managed to scrape through the test rather tentatively. Despite this it was not a complete disaster and we came out with a score of 62. Thankfully we managed to find an alternative box for Trevor so Minnie started to calm down. Trevor’s show jumping was much improved and we came out with a clear. On the final day we had to tackle Minnie’s showjumping and both XC rounds. Minnie went first and and jumped like a stag for a super clear. Trev then went XC and despite some acrobatics in the warm up he jumped a great clear inside the time. Treefers clear at Aldon A huge thank you must go to Nicola Nicholls, one of my sponsors and Aoife, her daughter, who both watched and helped untack Trev. We then had a small break till Minnie’s XC and it was worth the wait. She stormed round the course clear inside the time giving us our first double clear at 2* level. A great way to finish our partnership together. Sadly we have had to return Minnie Moo to her owners, but she has been a great horse and has taught me a huge amount.
Overall we have had a good season with some great results, the highlights being our win at Nunney and the two double clears at Aldon at the end of the season.
A huge thank must go to my sponsors – Nicola Nichols of Wow Saddles for all things saddle and Oakfield Saddlery for supplying a lot of our equipment.
Preparing for next season
In the autumn we have been training and had a great lesson with Emily Parker, who is Trev’s owner. I also had a great time at Your Horse Live helping on the Wow Stand, as well as a taking part in a BE Masterclass with Yogi Breisner, this was an amazing opportunity and Trevor behaved, even if breaks were an issue.
We are looking forward to a weekend of training with Caroline Moore. In 2017 we are aiming to compete at the Junior trial with Trevor as well as do a 2* with him.