Bonnie Fishburn - 2015 Autumn

We have just gone into 2016 and the one thing that that I can tell you is……I hate rain, I hate wind and I hate mud!!!!!! What is going on with this weather?!?! It is the worst you can have with horses. The fields are pretty bottomless. I really hope it dries up soon. 

When I last spoke to you I had just got married, so eventing had pretty much been put on hold leading up to that, but then in October there was just enough time to get out to do a few events before the season was over. I headed 156 miles down to Little Downham with Percy. I think somebody had switched into holiday mode!!! His dressage wasn't terrible in any particular parts but was just a little narky all the way through resulting in an embarrassing mark of 40. He warmed up beautifully for showjumping and jumped 1 and 2 beautifully but then it went downhill from there having 4 down. By the time it came round to XC luckily he switched on again and jumped an impeccable clear, I didn't push him for time, treated it more like a schooling round after our first two negative phases. He came home with 8.8 time, which I was very pleased with. It may have been the long drive down and overnight stay that played a part in his performance - it was his first time stabling away with no company, so maybe he had a restless night.

So next it was on to Broadway with Percy for the Novice. Our day started really well with a dressage of 32 which was quite well placed in the section, I think about 7th. But then in the showjumping he showed quite a lot of discomfort in his mouth and actually almost stopped at a fence but motion carried him forward and he crashed through the fence. He then jumped the majority of the course much better but then did the same at the last fence, when I half halted him he threw his head back smacking me in the face and then had the fence down. He had his wolf teeth out just after his last event and I think this may have been giving him a little bit of discomfort. I decided that I wouldn't run cross country because I didn't want to cause him anymore pain. It was very unlike him to behave in that way. 

Only 5 days later I headed to our last run of the season. I was a little nervous after the disaster at Broadway, but Percy and I travelled the 100 miles to Lincolnshire for the Novice at Norton Disney Horse Trials. After the previous event our main aim was to just have a nice final run to end our season. I thought he did his best test at Novice this season but the judge said I rode cautiously and we only scored 35.8 which was disappointing but I was really pleased with how relaxed and settled he was. Next up was the showjumping and he jumped an impeccable round, lovely rhythm and super careful, leaving all the poles in their cups. The cross country was a nice track but with plenty of skinny combinations and super tight on the time. He headed off a little spooky but as soon as we got to the first question at fence 6 he put his professional head on and sailed round the rest of the course. He was actually the 5th fastest in the section to come home with only 2.4 time. This helped pull us up from 28th after dressage into 9th spot and also gain his first BE point. Fabulous way to finish our season. So proud of him.

We just had a couple of riding club dressage qualifiers to do before Percy could go out on holiday. The first was the intermediate qualifiers held at Tushingham. Florence had 72% in D10 for individual 4th and team 2nd. Percy had 72.8%, including two 9’s for his canter work in N30 for individual 5th and team 4th. I thought they were really good results in large classes. The second qualifiers were at Somerford Park. Both Percy and Florence were competing in the D10. Florence did a nice test but was perhaps a little more sparky then normal but got a disappointing score of 66.25% which is very low compared to what she has been getting. Percy then got a 68.3% and actually finished 6th, so that was a better result. Neither team that they were on for Nantwich was placed, so not a great day.

It was then time for Percy to have a holiday. But I decided to keep working Florence through November and have a little dabble with affiliated dressage because she had done very for the last couple of months. First of all because of the wedding but then she banged her hock so I didn’t run her at any events through October.She had three outings under British Dressage rules during November, took part in 6 classes and gained herself four 2nd’s and two 1st’s. Not only that but she earnt herself enough points to qualify for the BD Winter Regionals at Open Novice level. Not bad in two weeks and 3 outings. She scored some fantastic percentages, her worst being 66.9% and her best was a whopping 76.9%. Delighted with her performances. So she then went out and joined the boys on their holidays. With the weather being so rotten I didn’t leave them out for the full 6-8 weeks that I usually like them to have. Instead they were brought in on bad nights and started working again just before Christmas.