Eleanor OsborneEleanor is currently the Advanced Event Rider and Manager of Highborne Farm.

 

Please Welcome Eleanor

 

 

7th picture NSW blogIn the week between Wallaby Hill event and the Sydney events I based myself at John Glen and Julia McLean’s Bowning property near Yass. John and Julia of “WOW Saddles” have supported me since 2010 and certainly made life easier by providing comfortable, horse friendly accommodation. From there I was able to attend some lessons with the Australian Eventing team dressage coach Brett Parbery, made possible by another one of my sponsors, Karl Steineger from “Over The Top yards and Jumping Equipment.”

 

 

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Mighty High during a Brett Perbery lesson

It was an excellent opportunity to work with Brett who I had previously only had access to through our limited QLD squad schools and I felt I took away some positive ideas to work on before my next trip south.

Next I made a short trip to the Gunning Agricultural show to give the horses a low key jump before heading north to Sydney. It was at Gunning show that I first started to feel the effects of all of the engagement work I had been doing with Aim High. Aim High is 17hh and built very long, and therefore finds it difficult to compress and carry himself properly. Although it will eventually make him stronger and improve his dressage scores through a greater ability to carry weight behind, the intensity of the work we were doing with Brett was starting to cause muscle soreness and fatigue. It was obvious again in his 2** test at Sydney during the Midweek competition when asked to extend and then collect again in canter down the long side, he found it too difficult to come back and fell into trot. His test was otherwise very submissive and I am happy with his progress and realise it will take him some time to build up his strength. He felt amazing around the 2** cross country after that shaky start in Wallaby Hill although I did still manage to incur 20 penalties 2 fences from home due to rider error so I guess I could also be accused of being a little rusty early in the season! Again his muscle fatigue became apparent when tackling the 2** show jumping later in the day. After jumping so impressively around cross country, we managed to lower 5 rails show jumping which is uncharacteristic and was a clear indication of just how much strengthening work needs to be done before our next outing.

highborne rocker

Highborne Rocker Midweek dressage Pre Novice

Highborne Rocker also competed in the Midweek event in the Pre Novice class.

He is a super young horse and improved again on his Wallaby Hill performance to finish 3rd on his lowest score to date. He felt really established at this level and it was very tempting to upgrade him to 1* for the weekend competition.

 

Highborne Rocker Midweek cross country Pre Novice

Highborne Rocker Midweek cross country Pre Novice

I was thankful that I stuck with the original plan to give him one last start at Pre Novice level as on the Friday between the Midweek and Weekend events the weather turned ugly. I also had Mighty High entered for his first 3*** start in approximately 18 months but it looked like there would be a cancellation due to the extreme rainfall. As is so often the case in eventing, the organisers deemed that the event would run regardless of the weather. My morning started with Highborne Rockers Pre Novice test. In hindsight I should have reduced my warm-up time and opted to keep ourselves dry for a while longer as under the conditions I couldn’t expect much from the young horse. He was extremely well behaved and coped well with the heavy rain to complete an above average test after which we swiftly retreated back to the stable complex!

The dressage warmup at SIEC - An Eventful Life

The dressage warm-up at SIEC – An Eventful Life

After a change of riding clothes it was back out into the rain for the Pre Novice showjumping. Again Highborne Rocker was surprisingly confident and settled under the conditions and may have posted a clear round had I not hindered him in front of a double due to a lack of visibility  He finished with just one rail down and again was very grateful to return to his warm dry stable for the rest of the afternoon. With just enough time for another quick change of clothes I was off to the soaked dressage warm up again, this time to prepare Mighty High for the 3*** test. We were lucky there was a short break in the weather which lasted until midway through my test. Overall I was happy with our performance as it showed there had been significant improvement in some work despite the lack of competition last year however it became clear to me which areas need further attention. I was very pleased to be rewarded for those slight improvements by our lowest ever score and to be lying in 4th position at the end of the day. As the grounds received significant rain again throughout the afternoon and over night it was decided that it would be too dangerous to run cross country in the slippery conditions on the Sunday and so the One Day Event was turned into a Combined Training instead. This meant that Highborne Rocker had already completed his competition the day before and finished in 6th place overall. Mighty High show jumped in the afternoon and as the rain had finally stopped and the sun was out, the jumping surface ended up being very good. He jumped extremely well, just having the one rail down and a couple of time penalties to finish in 8th place.

The trip South was an excellent opportunity to get the horses up and running before the beginning of the Queensland season. It was also useful to test our recent training and look for weaknesses to work on before major events begin. I am very grateful for the support from earlier mentioned sponsors who made this trip possible, and also to Gary Wells of Horse 360 who worked on the team of horses in the lead up to the trip and who is always offering positivity and inspiration along the way.

For more information go to  http://www.qld.equestrian.org.au/?Page=24544