We are just back from a great week at Tattersalls where Wasting Light was 7th in the CCI**, Kings Advocate was 15th, and Arco BB was 22nd in the CCI*** - only his second ever three-day event. There was room for improvement with all of them, but as they are all quite inexperienced at their respective levels, and Arco BB and Kings Advocate are new rides for me this year, I was thilled with how they all went.
Wasting Light (Archie) produced a brilliant display in a very competitive CCI**, making a strong track seem ridiculously easy and was incredibly unlucky to touch a pole in the show-jumping in an otherwise lovely round. There are times when you get away with a rub, and times when you don't and luck was not on our side this time. I didn't even know we had a rail, so was a bit gutted as it kept us out of 3rd place and a podium finish. He will now have a short break before trying to figure out the pesky flying changes and stepping up to Advanced! It was great for John Forde (Skee) to see him in action, though a shame the Legge family, who part-own, weren't able to see him finally break his run of bad luck at CCI**. They had previously travelled for Lion - where he got travel sick - and Ballindenisk - when we went splash in the water - so perhaps they were wise to stay away for this run!
Kings Advocate (Hugo) gave me a briilliant ride all weekend and really feels like a class act. He has been produced beautifully by Chris Hall, and I have only ridden him for the last couple of months. I am still getting to know him, but I couldn't have asked more from him at his first three-day. He was again very unlucky to have a rail show-jumping in what was a super round where he nearly jumped me out of the saddle a few times, and he did a super test and I was disappointed with the mark of 51 which was a lot higher than I thought he deserved. While it would have been better to start off from a more competitive mark, it was a good solid run for him, and I'm hoping for great things from him later this year.
Arco BB was only having his 2nd ever three-day run, having competed at Weston Park CCI** with James Somerville in 2013. He was held on course that time, and so his stamina over the CCI*** distance was a question mark. He absolutley flew around, drawing gasps from the commentators for the air he was giving over the already huge three-star fences. He gave me a brilliant feel, and came home with just 4.8 time - a super performance for him and really one to build on for the future. He has been show-jumping suberbly for me this year, so I was disappointed to have two rails down on the last day. He was a little tired and wasn't quite as responsive as usual. He did really try and I'm sure he will be better next time he does a three-day, but it was disappointing not to finish on a clean sheet. His dressage of 51 was again a little harsher than I thought he deserved, although again he is not yet fully established at this level and it is a work in progress. All in all I was very pleased with him. He is a horse I have only ridden this season and is inexperienced at this level. I am looking forward to building on it for the Autumn season.
I was really impressed with the improvements made to the event, and to the schedule - running three days of cross-country to fit in the huge numbers of entries. It is a superb event which just gets better every year. It was also great to catch up with so many friends from home, and with owners Michele and Malcolm Hedley, and Paul and Paula Crompton over to watch, we were particularly spoilt by my Uncle Bryan who brought the most amazing barbeque on the Saturday night. It was pissing it down with rain - perfectly acceptable for an Irish bbq - but delicious food and great craic.
We now have a slightly quieter few weeks where the horses will have some downtime. We had been hoping to take the gorgeous Fernhill Adventure to Bramham to try and retain the crown, but he was very unlucky to chip his stifle at Chatsworth - even though he finished well in 6th place. It is not a big deal and has already been removed, and we hope to have him back competing in August, with Blenheim still in our plans, but very disappointing for his owner Richard Last, especially as he was really coming into his own at Advanced level.