Hello everyone and welcome to my latest blog!! I have had a very busy couple of months both on and off the horses, with mixed success…

Shortly after my last blog was Blenheim Palace Horse Trials, where I had been interning over the summer. The event was a huge success, and I had the best time working with the entire team and learning so much. It was with a heavy heart that I said goodbye to everyone at the end of a fabulous summer, but onwards now to the next chapter.

A couple of weeks before Blenheim, Raf and I had a good run in the Novice at Solihull.  A large amount of time penalties from the cross-country meant there were no ribbons this time. I really must learn to go faster! Nevertheless, it was an extremely fun day out and Raf ate up the chunky cross-country course and all of the tricky lines without any problems.

Our season however didn’t end as successfully as it started! After some very uncharacteristic behaviour at the next couple of events, we had the vet and physio out to give Raf a good check over. We soon found out she wasn’t quite herself as we had expected, which was a disappointing end to the year, but ultimately we finished the 2018 season in one piece.

Whilst it may not have been the season I had been hoping for, I can take only positives away from it. We started the season extremely well, with Raf finding the technicality of the Novice cross-country courses no problem at all. A lot of tension has crept in to our dressage tests at times, but our final test of the season at Calmsden was very pleasant and Raf was very rideable despite the pouring rain! The show jumping, which has always been our weakest phase, has also been steadily improving. At our last event, it poured all morning and by the time we got to the show jumping it was a complete bog, but Raf tried her heart out for just 2 silly poles, including the first fence, which was very frustrating!

I’m sure many people can relate to not having the season ‘on paper’ that they had wished for, but who does (apart from maybe Ros Canter or the Price’s!)? I personally will be looking back at 2018 and taking the positives, and learning from the mistakes we have made. For now, Raf is enjoying a nice holiday in the field and is loving every minute of it. For the past 4 years, Raf has enjoyed rather extended winter holidays whilst I have been at university. This year however we will be able to get in that all-important consistent winter training that we have missed out on the previous few years. I am hoping this will put us in good stead for the 2019 season!

I am very fortunate now that my Mum is letting me steal her lovely horse for a few competitions over the winter. I have to admit I am incredibly excited for our first competition we are doing this weekend, which is a pairs cross-country competition with my sister! I will let you know how we get on…

I hope everyone finished the season with a happy healthy horse, regardless of the results you achieved. I am very much looking forward to some winter show jumping and dressage, and already can’t wait for the 2019 season!

Zoë x

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