Guest Blog: Double Clear & A Big Graze For Rosco
We took Rosco to Richmond at the weekend to compete in our 2nd BE90! The weather conditions were horrendous, probably the worst I’ve ever competed in - heavy rain, gusty strong winds followed by sleet and hail in my dressage test... it was a challenge!
Even before I got on board, Rosco was quite spooky and reluctant to accept the weather conditions. We were parked next to a huge lorry (one with a pop out side) with a reasonable distance between us but Rosco spooked at something and caught his shoulder on the pop out, cutting a gash about 8” long. Luckily there was one of the medical team close by, and although it looked bad, it had only cut the top section of the skin so she reassured us that he was ok to continue with the competition.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Rosco then spooked again whilst I was tacking him up... There was the stomach churning bellow of “loose horse” as Rosco bronked across the lorry park with his bridle dangling round his legs. Fortunately he didn’t go too far and he let me calm him down and catch him... Miraculously there was no damage to his bridle.
Onto the dressage warm up! He wasn’t happy at all - very unsettled and turning away from the wind and rain! Just before my test it started to hail and sleet - this caused him to buck out as the beads landed on him - you definitely need a good seat with Rosco. As I started my test he was going sideways down the centre line and we even manage to do a couple of bucks on my first canter! Unbelievably we scored a 36 (for once I think the judge had some sympathy for the conditions).
The show jumping was a bit tighter than normal but we were on an all-weather surface - we had been to Port Royal practising the week previous so I was feeling much better about our partnership. Fortunately, although still raining, the wind dropped slightly and Rosco flew round in control with a great clear.
The cross country, although wet, wasn’t slippy and the ground conditions were ok. We set off a bit sticky into the first jump, but after a little tap he soon perked up. All was well until jump number 6 - he put a really big jump in, unseating me and I lost the stirrup. The next jump was a step up banking with a left turn jump off so I had to have both stirrups. It took me about 50m to get my foot back in and in doing so I lost loads of time. He jumped the banking perfectly, this was one of the jumps I was nervous about.
At our 2 minute marker I realised we were about 10 seconds behind our target time so squeezed him a bit to go forward. He responded brilliantly, upping the pace but also coming back to me so I could prepare for the fences. We’ve changed his bit to a Neue Schule elevator which should give me some more brakes and steering and so far it seems to be working well.
As we entered the last third of the course, I think we both started to enjoy it he was jumping much more freely and I was getting that nice feedback from him. We approached the last couple of fences and I had to back him off a bit as we had really made up the time finishing comfortably inside the optimum time, which is a good sign for when we move up.
Overall, apart from the weather and Rosco’s cut, it was a really positive event for both of us and I am really pleased with our 7th place out of quite a big entry.
The plan is to get Rosco out as much as we can to local events and hopefully get him used to strange competition environments! We are due to head to Somerford Park BE later this month - watch this space.
14 May 2021