What an exciting season we are having here at Hallington. I have been so fortunate to be selected for two more Nations Cup teams, thanks to World Class and UK Sport lottery funding. The experience I have been gaining this season will be invaluable for the talented young horses I have moving up the ranks.
My own Zenshera (pictured right at Houghton) has partnered me on all three Nations Cup appearances so far. Yesterday we arrived home from an exciting, slightly traumatic but very successful trip to Strzegom in Poland, where the team came 2nd behind the German Olympic team and I finished 5th individually.
Alfie was an absolute star all week. He is such an exciting horse to ride because he tries all of the time and is constantly upping his game. The trip to Poland wasn’t without drama as we had a fairly major engine breakdown just two hours into Holland which left us stranded for over 24 hours. Fortunately the horses were put up in some lovely stables and so they were happy, but I had a slightly stressful time trying to communicate with the Dutch garage!
Eventually it was decided that the lorry couldn’t be fixed in time to reach Poland for the competition so we hired a very posh truck to take us the rest of the way. Fortunately our homeward journey was more straightforward. The lorry was fixed by Monday lunchtime so we were able to catch the Monday night ferry home and enjoy some good food, wine and a bed on the ferry!
Our other Nations Cup appearance came at Houghton Hall where Alfie flew across country to finish 9th in a competitive section and helped the team to another 2nd place.
Houghton was a hugely exciting week for the younger horses. Cekatinka (pictured left) cemented our thoughts on what a talented young horses she is by leading the CCI* from start to finish. It has been my aim all Spring to prepare her for this, so it was a relief that we got the preparation right! Calista also showed how much she has matured and relaxed by finishing 9th, and with a really impressive dressage score.
These two lovely mares have also had some great results elsewhere. Calista jumped double clear in her first two star at Rockingham and would have been in the money if the jockey on top had had her sat nav switched on! She has recently also qualified for the Novice Championships at Gatcombe in August. Cekatinka finished 4th in the one star at Rockingham and recently came 3rd in only her 3rd Intermediate. They both now head to Barbury this weekend for the CIC**, along with Allstar B in the CIC***
Allstar B has been giving Zenshera a run for his money as top dog. He was exceptional at both Chatsworth and Bramham (pictured right) round really tough tracks to finish 5th and 7th in the CIC***’s. His dressage has improved hugely this year thanks to his fantastic work ethic, and the feeling this horse gives you across country is mega! He is only 9 years old so we are getting quite excited by him.
On top of all this the young horses have been keeping me busy in between the stays away. They have all been consistent in producing plenty of double clears and placings and have all stepped up to the next level this spring with confidence!
2nd July 2014 – thanks to Trevor Holt for the photos