Raf and I have been very busy over the past couple of weeks and even managed to get our first run of the season in this week at Aston le Walls!
Soon after returning home from University for Easter, Raf and I packed up our things and headed down to Nick Gauntlett’s for a 3-day residential clinic. As always, we had a fantastic time with excellent tuition, accommodation and company. Despite over a foot in height difference between Nick and myself, he had a ride on Raf and just about managed with my children’s stirrup leathers! Raf and I both learnt a lot and came away with some adjustments to our technique, which have helped tremendously. At home we have been working hard with both my Mum and Levi Hunt (Grand Prix dressage trainer), as well as letting Raf enjoy lots of field time and hacks around the Cotswold countryside.
The sun shone down on us one weekend as we headed to Rectory Farm in Cirencester to do some show jumping. A phase that was once an enormous struggle and cause of frustration, has turned into a very enjoyable experience! Raf was foot perfect in both the 1.05m and 1.10m, even picking up 4th place in the 1.10m!
Despite a few lovely days of hot, sunny weather, we got the dreaded text from British Eventing one afternoon saying our first event, at Whitfield, had been cancelled! However, Aston le Walls came to the rescue, putting on a much appreciated replacement event at the last minute. Phew. Raf was brilliant all day, with a pleasing dressage test and a fabulous clear SJ round which was cause for much celebration! We unfortunately made the tough decision to call it a day before the cross-country due to the ground and a torrential rainstorm. Nevertheless, we had a brilliant day and certainly enjoyed being back out eventing once again.
Over the next few weeks I have my last EVER University exams, which will perhaps warrant more celebration than a clear round of show jumping. Once those are done and dusted, we are planning on venturing down to Tweseldown and then to West Wilts for the Novices. In between all of that, we have our master class with Laura Collett booked in, which is very kindly provided by the Pol Roger Bursary!
Since receiving the Pol Roger Bursary, I have felt enormous improvements in Raf’s performance, which is extremely rewarding after a winter of hard work and shovelling snow. Long may it continue!