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2011 - Bonnie Fishburn

Start of 2011

So far I’ve had a successful season. San Francisco II did really well in his eventer training competitions picking up 2 wins and was 2nd in the Area 18 Riding Club Dressage qualifier at Hartpury in February. His first BE outing was Gatcombe in the Open Novice, where he had a double clear and finished 7th. Then we went to Sapey for the Open Novice, where he got another double clear finishing 6th. Withington Manor was his first intermediate of the season. He had a good dressage, but 12 faults show jumping. He was awesome cross country and jumped clear. At Hambledon International we started very well in the CIC*, with a 51.6 dressage and clear sj, which left us lying 7th going into xc, but we had a problem at the first water, very unusual for Frankie, but this put us right down the pecking order. We then went on to Houghton International CCI*, where he really did redeem himself. We had an ok but slightly tense dressage for a 55.4, but then jumping a fabulous xc and Showjumping round, which left him on his dressage score to pull up from 40th to 16th overall. This was my first ever International placing, so I am thrilled to bits with him.

 Direct Flo has also had a good start to the season. She had a couple of wins at unaffiliated dressage and combined training. She was also in a team for Shropshire South Riding Club at the Winter Show Jumping Championships, where we were 9th. Her first event was Sapey BE80, where she finished on a great dressage score for 3rd and qualified for the BE80 Riding Club Championships. Next was a win in the Riding Clubs Combined Challenge, qualifying her for Festival of the Horse. At Rodbaston in the BE90 she didn’t have a great dressage score but jumped a great double clear to finish 11th. At Festival of theHorse, in the Combined Challenge she got a fantastic score of 75% in the riding test and had the 5th highest jumping mark of 69% for overall 7th.

 Mr Precision had also had his first taste of competitions. Picking up a 5th in an unaffiliated dressage and a 1st and 3rd in combined training competitions. I haven’t done as much as I hoped to do with him so far but with him only being 4 and the ground going so firm, I thought it best not to push him.

I have also gained a horse for my string. She is a 5 year old TB by Fraam owned by Margaret Spencer. She came to me just broken in April and to date has been on a few combined training and show jumping outings, picking up two 1st, two 2nd and a 3rd. She will hopefully reach the eventing circuit late summer/autumn time.

2011 Season

My second part of the year has been a busy one, although we haven’t had quite as much luck as I started out with at the start of the season. After Houghton International San Francisco II had a little break before heading to the Area 18 Riding Club Horse Trials qualifier. He was very hyper and excited about having one of his friends on the trailer, which led to a rather excitable dressage test, he didn’t disgrace himself but 35 wasn’t a great score for him. SJ he just had 4 faults but put in a good XC round which left him in 5th place overall. So we didn’t qualify as Individuals but we did make it on to the Area 18 team, so we would be heading to the championship which was our aim. The next week he went to Glanuskand he was a different horse, back to his sensible chilled self, in The Welsh Championships, which was run over an Intermediate Novice course. He had a fantastic dressage and just one down SJ with a super quick clear XC which left us in 6th position.

 Next was a Working Hunter class at Burwarton Show, he has won the open here for the last two years and went one better by making it a hat trick, we were also Reserve Champions, we’d hope to be Champions again for the third year but didn’t quite get it. From here he went straight to The British Riding Clubs Horse Trials National Championships, which is held like the oldstyle three day event with roads & tracks and steeplechase. He was super for his dressage test scoring 29 but let me down XC by having a silly run out, I think he was just feeling a bit too well and I struggled to hold him, then SJ jumped a lovely clear. Our team finished 5th but I was extremely gutted about my run out because without that he would have taken the Open Championship title for the second year running, but instead we were 15th. This has to be my biggest disappointment of the season.

 The following week we decided to have a go at a Search For A Star Working Hunter HOYS qualifier, he jumped a great clear but with it being a very straight forward course, so did everybody else!!! We were pulled in 3rd but moved down to 4th after giving the judge a slightly excitable ride, and you guessed it, the top 3 qualified for HOYS – typical!!!

 Next was a trip to Somerford Park for an Intermediate run, we had a nice dressage for 33 but unlucky in the SJ with 3 down, but I blame myself for just being a little nervous about the height of the fences, which is something I’m working on. The XC was causing no end of trouble and I decided I would go for a steady clear rather than chasing the time and risk having a run out. This certainly paid off as we had an amazing run over what I considered a really technical track.

 Our next outing came at the beginning of September at Blenheim Palace, where we were competing for Shropshire South Riding Club in the eventer challenge, which is a course of show jumps and XC jumps in an arena. Unfortunately our team didn’t have a lot of luck with one faller and one being eliminated. But Frankie had a fabulous time and flew round with just one SJ down and was clear in the time XC, if it would have been judged on individuals as well as teams he’d have been 7th out of 140 competitors – great fun!!!

 Before our last run of the season I decided to go to Allenshill to have a practise over some decent SJ courses, which turned out to be very useful because I popped round the 1.20m and 1.30m tracks with no pressure like you get at competitions and came away feeling really confident for our last event of the season which was Gatcombe, where we did the Intermediate. He was a little excited in the dressage but did a super SJ round with just one fence down. And then he was a real pro XC and put in a super clear with only 8 time penalties, which is good for Gatcombe. I hope to come out next season and pick up where we finished this season and hopefully have a real good crack at Intermediates and maybe even a CCI**.

Direct Flo has also had a busy second part of the season. In June she went to Llanymynech for a BE90, but wasn’t feeling quite herself, she had a 35 dressage and two fences down SJ, which is very unlike her, and was then clear in the time XC and was just out of the placings. After this she did have a bit of a cold so I backed right off her for a couple of weeks.

 Then at the end of the month she put in a fantastic performance at the Area 18 Riding Club Horse Trials qualifier. She finished on her dressage score of 32, which left her 2nd and qualified her as an individual and as part of a team for the National Championships. Unfortunately that night when I got her home she was acting like she had colic, so I had to get the vet out to her, but I think it was more of a case that she had held herself from going for a wee on the trailer and given herself belly ache, because as soon as she had one she seemed 99% better, but the vet gave her some pain killers just to make sure. This led to me withdrawing from Glanusk, to give her a bit more recovery time as it was only a week later. By the end of July she seemed on fine form again at Allenshill where she had 73% dressage and clear SJ to go on and win one of their Summer Combined Training Championships.

 Next was The British Riding Clubs Horse Trials National Championships, where she put in a great performance in the two day novice, finishing on her dressage score of 30 to be 4th in her section and 9th overall out of 150 competitors, which I think is fantastic for a 5 year old, which had to do roads & tracks and steeple chase for the first time and she does all this with no shoes also, bless her little cotton socks!!! Our Shropshire South Riding Club team also came away with 9th place out of 24 teams.

 After this she had a little holiday before heading back to Llanymynech for the second time this season. Putting in another penalty free SJ and XC, to finish on her dressage score of 33 to take 3rd spot out of 45. Next was Brooksby Melton College for the BE80 British Riding Clubs Championship which is a new championship this year, which we qualified for back in April at Sapey. Once again she didn’t let me down having a 32 dressage and double clear for 8th. Which is great for a National Championship. All in all she has been very grown up and consistent so far this season and let’s hope it carries on as we still have two events to go to in October.

 Things haven’t been so great for my 4 year old Mr Precision or the 5 year old that I added to my string back in April. Both of them acquired little injuries in the field which put them out for the season. They both could have come back into work around August time but I decided because they would miss the season anyway and with them both being babies, they may as well have the whole summer out and come back into work in Autumn/Winter time ready for 2012. My 4 year old – Percy is looking great and has really matured so I’m sure this time off won’t have done him any harm at all. I can’t wait to get back on him.

Winter Time

 Winter for me is always a time for the horses and myself to have a break after a busy event season. I like the horses to have a good two to three months break, just to chill out and really unwind. This year they were all quite lucky to have a snow free holiday and even the rain managed to stay away for most of it.

 San Francisco II (Frankie) is now back in work and will be aiming for an Open Novice event in March, hopefully then moving back up to Intermediate. We will do some little competitions beforehand, starting with some dressage and then do some eventer training classes at Allenshill.

 Direct Flo (Florence) successfully moved up to BE100 at the end of last season. We did Calmsden at the beginning of October and she was extremely well behaved and brave. The wind was howling for her dressage making her slightly tense for a score of 39, but she jumped a cracking showjumping round for just an unlucky 4 faults and then went and flew round the cross country, I thought she may struggle with the time because the course was a hilly one but in fact she came home bang on the optimum time. Next she went to Broadway, I was really pleased with her dressage performance but her score of 37.5 didn’t really reflect how nicely she had gone. But she followed this up with a clear showjumping and again on the cross country, just picking up 3.6 time penalties. This was a great end to a very good season for her. After 6 weeks out in the field I did bring her back into work briefly, to do the Area 18 Riding Clubs Novice Winter Showjumping qualifier for Shropshire South Riding Club. It was definitely worth our while because she jumped a super double clear finishing 4th out of 88 competitors and our team won, qualifying us for the Winter Championships in April. She is back in work now after her holiday and is aiming for a BE90 in March before moving back up to BE100.

Mr Precision (Percy) came back into work in November after a 5 month break in the field due to a little injury. He could have come back sooner but because he was only 4, I decided the more time off he had the better it would be for him. I spent the first 4 weeks walking on the road just to strengthen him up before asking more of him. He is now doing bits of canter work out on hacks, schooling and lunging. Apart from a few cheeky moments when he first started working, he has behaved impeccably. I’m really looking forward to getting him out to some baby competitions and start doing some riding clubs events with him. He showed lots of promise over a fence last year, so let’s hope he hasn’t forgotten what he learnt.

 I have also just got back the 5 year old mare (Fran) that came to me last April. She had been doing really well with her training and been out to little competitions until sustaining an injury in the field, so like Percy she has had a good break and is back now doing her walk work on the roads. I hope to aim her at similar competitions and events to Percy through the summer.

 My winter break hasn’t been quite as relaxing as the horses. I’ve been working full time for National Hunt Trainer Henry Daly, which has included clipping just over 120 horses!!! The 5 horses I look after for Henry have all been going really well to date, having 3 wins and several top 4 placings. I had a minor setback in November, when I fractured my sternum. It happened by landing very awkwardly on the pommel of my saddle when a horse bucked with me at the bottom of the gallop. After that I got tonsillitis and then laryngitis. But I’m over all that now and looking forward to my 2012 event season.