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Larkhill and Weston Park

07-April-2019 20:00
in General
by Admin

 It was an eventful day at Larkhill with some ups and downs.  It is always a great event for the youngsters and I felt the cross county course was much improved this year, as many of the distances were no longer on their half strides so the course could be ridden more forward and more like a cross country course.  However the show jumping was in same vein as Portman and everything was built in a half stride and on a hill, so it was by no means a giveaway.

The day started with the Novices, and I will cut to the chase with Balu Gidran, he did a perfectly nice test but with several little mistakes bringing him down to a 32, he show jumped a lovely clear and then the wheels did fall off a bit cross county when he decided he didn’t like the trekhenar, and I fell off.  

I otherwise had a very enjoyable and productive outing on Grafennacht, she did a nice test to score 28, so it is going the right way.  In the show jumping she was unlucky to roll the last pole, but jumped well. And she was a bit insulted by how easy she found the cross country.

Under Oath was having his third Novice run, and came out once again on his toes.  He has really taken to this Eventing game and is feeling very confident.  I was very pleased with his dressage and he managed to lead his section on a score of 22, which we were very excited about as he is going well but by no means established.  As I thought, he found the show jumping quite hard work on the hill and rolled a couple of poles, but that is the stage he is at at the moment.  I don’t expect it to all be perfect yet.  He gave me a great ride cross country and flew everything, and felt a little bit quicker so he is getting the message.  

Then onto the 100’s where I had Greenfort Gorgeous George, he was a good boy again he did a very similar test to the one he did at 
Portman, but this time the judge liked him and gave him 25, and as I said last time he did nothing wrong and it would have been hard to have marked him down.  In the show jumping he tried hard and it was a shame he knocked the last pole down.  

And then the day rounded off with Centurian Bay, he did a very pleasing test with nothing wrong and got 31.  He jumped a pretty good round show jumping and was clear, but he was still a little bit green so I was glad we were only jumping a meter, but he was giving me some proper jumps.  He then flew around the cross country very happily taking it all in his stride, but I was not being competitive and he got 4.4 time and finished with his first rosette in 10th place.

It was quite a late finish at Larkhill so it was a quick turnaround for Weston Park today, where I had two Intermediates and two Advanced entries.

Summer at Fernhill was having his second Intermediate outing and had a pretty decent day, he got a 32 in the dressage for quite a nice test, had one down but jumped a pretty decent round in quite puggy ground.  He then flew around the cross country very confidently, was a bit spooky at times keeping me on my toes, but was great at the fences and he will have learned a lot.

Atlantic Vital Spark had a better day, he did a decent test really coming on and scored 30.7, he jumped a really smart clear in the show jumping, not minding the ground and really giving me a good feel.  So I put my foot down a little bit cross country and got 5 time faults with a good solid clear finishing 2nd, very annoyingly 1 time fault less and he would have won.

So then the Advanced boys;  I wanted to give Yes I Can an Advanced run before his 4*S at Burnham next weekend.  He did a very pleasing dressage with a couple of little expensive blips, and I was pleased with his mark of 30.  He jumped a superb clear in the show jumping, they moved the jumps for the Advanced so the ground was better, certainly up to height and not on the flat, so a clear round was very respectable.  The cross county was a very decent track, asked lots of questions but wasn’t overly difficult.  I pushed him on a bit on the superb ground and he really ate the course up feeling terrific.  He was full of confidence and straight and made it feel easy.

After my failing brakes at Belton last week on Oratorio I decided to run him again in theAdvanced and test out some new armoury.  I can happily report that it worked very well and I had total control and a very relaxed horse.  Once or twice he argued but I could always stop and that’s what matters.  He had done a pretty decent dressage of 29, he was in a very good frame of mind and was very serious about his work.  Just a few things didn’t come off and that probably cost him a very good 25.  In the show jumping he was unlucky to have one pole down, he just touched the first fence, and then afterwards jumped a jolly good round.

I let both the Advanced horses go on a bit cross country and they got 11 and 12 time faults, so we were in a good 3-day gear without going crazy.

Lexi had a run around the Intermediate with Chico’s Man VDF and everything is pretty good, the show jumping didn’t go to plan but the cross county was great and it was a good run to have had.  He has one more Intermediate before he goes Advanced which is ideal.

Janet Plant and her team had done a top job with the courses, the cross country ground doesn’t get much better, and Janet had really designed two very good tacks.  They were both educational and also asked a few questions.  It was obviously a real shame for the team at Weston as they were really down on entries with the two Advanced sections only half full, but I think it is very tricky in the Eventing calendar fitting in between two 4*S’s where everyone wants FEI qualifications, and no one really wants to run Advanced horses three times in three weeks.

I have heard Weston Park haven’t been allocated a date for next year yet, so let’s hope they get a good date they deserve.  It is really an event the Eventing calendar needs to prioritise.

It was a big weekend for Fox-Pitt Eventing, the team have been amazing getting everything organised and 10 horses to compete. We have another busy week ahead before Burnham Market next weekend.






© 2013 William Fox-Pitt. Photos copyright of William Murray in partnership with Fox-Pitt Eventing. With contributions from Kit Houghton, Fiona Scott-Maxwell, Julia Shearwood, Gavin Hudspith, Ian Loveland & Adam Fanthorpe.

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