I took both Cindy and Coco down to Pyecombe on a wet, miserable Sunday to finally get out after another long break between shows due to staff shortages/sickness on the yard.
Coco was early to go in the newcomers. She was tense at the start of the course and had a spook in the middle of a related distance meaning she went off line and I had to make the decision to add a stride. Sadly it didn’t quite pay off as she had the top rail down of the upcoming jump. After this wobble she grew in confidence around the course and finished well.
Golden Cross 22/03/22
Coco seems to have 4 faults at the moment in the newcomers! She feels like she is gaining in confidence with each round but we just don’t seem to be able to get it all 100 percent right. Today was so close but she was keen to go for it in the jump off phase so I let her go and unfortunately she clipped the pole of the penultimate fence. I then jumped her in her biggest class to date, the 1.15m. She got a bit strong in places, possibly because I’d let her go forward more than normal in the first class and had 2 poles down. A little disappointing but certainly not a disaster as she was bold and keen so she is clearly enjoying her jumping.
Pyecombe 25th Jan
I took both Cindy and Coco down to Pyecombe’s first BS show of 2022, it was our first outing of the year too.
The girls jumped really well in the bitterly cold weather. Cindy jumped an easy double clear in the discovery to collect her final qualification round for the second rounds in Spring. Coco already has her qualification so I pushed her on in the jump off and she enjoyed being ridden more forwards now that her confidence has grown. She finished 2nd in a huge class and I’m very pleased with her improved rideability in the ring proving that the schooling work at home is paying off.
In the newcomers Coco again gave me a good ride round without needing much help but just had one rail down in the jump off section where she was a little unbalanced from a turn. Cindy jumped double clear with a mostly pleasing round but was a bit unsettled in her mouth and pulling down on me a bit so she needed a bit more setting up in between jumps than I would have liked. Things to work on but happy to go clear. All in all a great morning out!
Coco jumped really confidently and smoothly around the discovery, it felt like our nicest round together since I started riding her in September. She finished just outside the placings with a double clear. I was really happy with the round and plan that the next time we go out to move her up a class.
Liane – Felbridge combined training – October 2021
If my memory serves me right Coco hasn’t done a dressage test I over 4 years, so we thought a good place to get some practice in was at a combined training where we could practice jumping too.
Considering its been such a long time since being inside the white boards Coco produced a very sweet and correct test. It was no where near the standard that we can achieve at home so lots to improve on but a good start to returning to dressage.
In the jumping phase I hadn’t walked the course and was unaware of quite how tight the turn to the second jump was so didn’t set Coco up very well which cost us a pole but she jumped round the rest with no problems.
Coco finished in 4th place even with 4 faults so a pleasing outing with plenty of room to improve.
Coco – Hickstead (day 2) 22.07.21
On day 2 of Hickstead coco was feeling a little tired when warming up but once I had the space in the warm up to get her going she was instantly of my leg. She was a little flat over the warm up jumps but wasn’t knocking any. As I went into the ring I showed her one of the jumps that most of the horses in the class were backing off at. She didn’t seemed phased by it at all. The bell rang and I got her going forward round the arena. She jumped the first lovely and the second but unfortunately just rolled a pole with her back leg. She then pinged over the white gate that a lot of people with having down and cleared the next couple of jumps with ease even the tricky triple at the end. Gutted we had a pole but so pleased she took on every challenge at Hickstead from a busy environment and warm up rings to scary new fillers and different combinations.
Coco – Pyecombe 14.07.21
So I wanted to take Coco out one last time before hickstead the following week so I entered a discovery at Pyecombe. I just entered 1 class a we had done a lot the week before and I didn’t want to burn her out. She jumped a strong double clear with a good time leaving us with a 3rd! We were definitely prepared for hickstead now the following week.
Coco – Felbridge 11.07.21
I entered coco in the discovery abs 105cm. She is finding discovery’s easy so I was looking forward to jumping a slightly bigger round. She jumped the discovery with ease getting a lovely double clear getting us a 3rd! I was super please, we went into the 105cm and she jumped everything with ease and boldly.
Coco – Combelands 17.06.21
So this was our last show before Hickstead and I had entered into the BN and Discovery. Coco was quite laid back in the BN and had 2 poles. I warmed up for the discovery and she felt a lot more forward and ‘up for it’. She stepped into the ring and as soon as she saw the jumps were bigger she then started taking me to the jumps! She came out with a double clear and an 8th. After this it clearly showed she preferred jumping bigger !
Coco – Hickstead 27.06.21
I had entered coco into the BN and discovery as it was her first time going to Hickstead I was a bit unsure on how she would react to the busy environment. I was first in the BN so was early warming up when it was nice and quiet. She flew round the course jumping everything boldly and with a good time leaving us with an 8th out of over 100 starters ! I started to warm up for the discovery and she was warming up really well but unfortunately we had a fall at one of the jumps as another competitor walked in front of the jump while we were heading for it. We both backed off but coco still jumped causing her to catch the back rail and us falling over. We both got back us quickly and I’m checked her all over and she had nothing on her. I hopped back on and trotted her around to see if she was sound then popped a jump again and she felt fine. I then made the decision to go in the discovery knowing she was okay and still feeling great. She went in and jumped a lovely steady double clear still being bold as ever.
June 11th Felbridge 2021
Pyecombe 6th June 2021
Was super happy with how coco was in the warm up at Pyecombe as she had one little horse shy moment and after that she was brilliant really listening to me, meaning I could give her a really good warm up for the BN. She was super forward in the ring and up for it ! As our last show she felt a bit lazy but this time she felt really excited to be in the ring. We got one pole due to just being on a bit of a half stride to the fence. Apart from this I felt it was a really strong round as she listened to everything I asked her to do whether it was asking her to shorten her stride or lengthen it with no hesitation. I had entered coco into the discovery but she had managed to twist one of her shoes on the lorry meaning we had to get the shoe off and go home. But I still feel like we ended on a good note with coco feeling really positive and toward jumping.
Faith Walker, Coco – Coombelands 27/5/21
Coco started of a bit weary as it was her first time out since COVID. She had a little spook in the warm up but once I got her going forward she was fine. Coco felt quite lazy when I went in the ring but she was probably just taken back by being at a show. She jumped a lovely double clear with a good time leaving us with 3rd! A great way to start.
Following the birth of Cola 5th July 2018, Coco was brought back into work and is gaining strength and improving her fitness with fortnightly hydro water treadmill visits.
First outing for 2020 – Thursday 28th Jan combined training at Felbridge.
I took Coco to Felbridge for her first competition of the year with Tora and Milly coming along for a jump too. Coco was in a very busy and highly competitive BE100 section, full of professional riders preparing for the upcoming event season. Coco was very excitable but I managed to keep a lid on her enthusiasm in the dressage test enough to have no major problems. I know she can go much better when she is relaxed but trying to achieve that out at a show is often difficult.
In the show jumping warm up coco could no longer control her excitement and was throwing some serious shapes! It took me around 45 minutes to warm her up, in the pouring rain, until she was rideable enough to go in the ring. Once on the course she felt very green in places, over jumping some fences and going quite wobbly in the distances. I felt exhausted by the end of the round, which was quite a long course, but pleased that we made it round clear. That meant she finished on her dressage score of 31.5 and in 3rd place which I was very pleased with as I know she can go a lot better with some more practice.
In 2017 Coco began her eventing career very successfully with 3 double clears and 3 placings at her first 3 events. She then stepped up to compete in a 5 year old class but unfortunately following this she required some time off and therefore the decision was made to put her in foal to Britannia Royal a young promising local stallion with exceptional breeding (Headley Britannia X Royaldik). Coco gave birth to a filly 5th July 2018 (Cola).
Competitive career :
Clear round 90cm Arena eventing (first outing)
2nd 90cm Arena eventing Pyecombe (second outing)
10th Chilham Castle BE 90 (first BE event)
9th Twesledown BE 90
3rd Borde Hill BE 90
COCO Eventing Progress
Chilham Castle 29th April 2017
This was Coco’s first ever one day event so we set out with the intention that it was more a learning experience for her than anything else. Before today she had never done a dressage test or a show jumping round on grass and never any competitive cross country. Coco is very nervous of other horses when being ridden so gets very tense in warm up areas. Luckily at Chilham the dressage warm up area is large so I took her over to a quiet corner. She worked in fairly well but still felt very tight and tense through her transitions. This carried through to the test where she didn’t flow as nicely as I know she can and lost marks for some over exuberant canter transitions! Overall I was pleased with the test but with plenty of areas to improve on. We got a mark of 37.5 which seemed harsh but after looking at the rest of her sections marks it was in fact in the top half.
Coco’s excitement of being at her first event got to her in the showjumping warm up and I paid the price! She broncked mid canter and let me do a ground inspection, I can safely say that it was firm! Whilst dusting myself off the collecting ring steward was calling for us to go in so I quickly got back on, popped a fence then took Coco into the ring. She behaved much better when she had to and wasn’t phased by the surrounding trade stands. She jumped a super round, clear without any problems.
Onto the cross country and Coco had never jumped a course of solid fences before. I had taken her cross country schooling a few times but in a competitive environment it can be quite a different experience. She came out of the start box a little cautiously but jumped the first few jumps without any resistance. At the first combination I rode her in steadily to give her time to see what was coming and she broke trot and jumped both elements in trot. I then pushed her on to be a bit bolder and she responded well. By mid way through the course she had found a nice canter rhythm and her confidence grew throughout. Coco finished the course with no jumping faults and just a few time faults to add.
For her first ever event to finish with a double clear was amazing and the icing on the cake was to then discover that she had placed 10th. A super start to her eventing career!
Tweseldown BE90 20th May 2017
After a long slow journey to Tweseldown, Coco came off the lorry and was quite relaxed in the dressage warm up. She worked very nicely and I was ready to go into my test slightly ahead of schedule. However in the grass arena Coco then decided that she was actually quite excited and became a handful through the test. There were a few major hiccups which disrupted the test and I found it hard to get her going in a nice forward rhythm as she was so tense. I was quite disappointed as she had done a lovely test at combined training just a few days before; however, I can’t be too disappointed with her as this is only her second test on grass and I know that she can do much better once she gets used to the environment of eventing dressage.
The showjumping course was not riding that well and clear rounds were at a premium. Coco was equally as excited as she had been in the dressage but luckily I was able to channel this energy into her jumping and managed to jump a clear round. It wasn’t perfect as she was getting quite keen to get to the jumps but I would rather that than a horse that doesn’t want to jump them.
Onto the cross country, which had been causing even more problems than the showjumping. It was quite a demanding course for this level with a few questions dotted around the course, especially the “bogey” fence of the day – a skinny duck coming out of the water. As I walked the cross country it seemed like every other horse was having problems at this one particular fence. As I warmed Coco up for the cross country she still had lots of energy to spare and was being a bit naughty! I spent much of it holding onto the neck strap! Luckily I didn’t have to wait too long until I was called over to the start box. Coco came out of the start box and was a little hesitant to the first jump, however with a bit of positive riding she jumped it and was onto the next. Over the first few jumps Coco was good however in between them she was a little reluctant to travel forward in a nice forward canter. Then came the first water and the dreaded dark! Coco hesitated and leapt sideways before entering the water and what I didn’t realise at the time was that she managed to pull a front shoe off. Due to this I was unable to ride the line I had hoped to get to the dark and got there in trot, she wasn’t sure about the look of the duck but was honest enough to jump it, albeit not in the most confident manner. I gave her a huge pat whilst driving her forward to the next. It took a few more fences for her to feel like she was taking me forward between jumps but by the last few she was starting to get into a nice rhythm. In hindsight I realise that part of this may have been down to her having lost a front shoe early in the course.
Despite the disappointing dressage I finished the day being very proud of Coco for jumping clear around a cross country course that claimed many victims. She even finished in the placings in 9th position in a large section.
Borde Hill May 2017 – 3rd place
As one of our most local events, Borde Hill is always one that I try to attend. I was pleased to be going this year with Coco, especially on the back of two good jumping runs. However; I was still a little apprehensive as it always presents a stiff challenge in the show jumping due to the sloping ring and on the cross country again due to the varied terrain.
Keen to improve on our dressage score from our previous event, I warmed Coco up for the dressage in a very positive forward manner. I was slightly wary that I didn’t want Coco to get too excited by me pushing her forward but I thought it was better to have her on the aids than too relaxed and behind my leg. In the test this approach seemed to pay off. Coco felt much more rhythmical that she had at Twesledown and all transitions were much smoother. Later on we discovered that the judge had awarded us a huge personal best for Coco of 28.5, a massive step in the right direction.
The showjumping warm up was a bit stressful for both of us; the undulating ground and very spread out jumps led to a slightly hectic and chaotic area. I tried my best to avoid Coco getting sandwiched between other horses but the more I tried to avoid it, the more the other horses seemed to canter towards us! Coco hates these situations and got very tense. However; as soon as she enters the ring she seems to be more at ease. She jumped around the course in a lovely rhythm and made it all feel quite easy.
Unfortunately due to some holds on the cross country course the cross country was running quite late. I tried to keep Coco relaxed while we waited around but when I got to jumping the warm up fences her anticipation had clearly got the better of her and she had a few explosions! Just before I was called over to start I heard on the tannoy that Coco was actually in the lead in her section, with only two horses left to compete. I tried not to let this affect me or how I was going to ride her in the cross country as winning was not the main aim of the day for us at this stage in her training. When we finally got to the start box she felt raring to go and cantered towards the first jump without needing much encouragement. All the way around the course Coco felt keen and happy to jump everything I presented her to. I still feel that due to her age and inexperience I like to slow her up a little and really set her up for each jump to make sure she has a positive experience and retains her confidence. I was able to then push her on between fences more that I had done previously and she seemed happy to oblige. We finished the course with big smiles on our faces and clear all the way. I picked up a few time faults due to setting her up so much to each jump which ultimately cost us the win but we finished in 3rd place which I was thrilled with. Another double clear and a 9 mark improvement in the dressage phase; what more could I ask for from a star of a young horse?!