South of England. open intermediate
Freddie felt nicely relaxed and responsive in the dressage, and I felt it flowed well with improvements in the transitions compared to our last few tests. The only part which felt tense and unbalanced was the second counter canter loop and this tension then carried onto the next few moves. Overall though I was pleased, and thought our score of 31.8 was fair.
The show jumping at Ardingly has never been a great venue for us, and it didn’t help on this occasion that the take off points were very deep and holding. To avoid getting too stuck in the mud on take off, I decided quite early on around the course to allow Freddie to travel a bit more forwards than how I normally ride him, and let him find slightly longer take off spots. However this hindered us in another way as he covered too much ground in one of the related distances and couldn’t help having the rail down of the second jump.
The cross country started really well for us and Freddie was on good form, but as we approached half way he did begin to get a bit too strong which put strain on my back. This meant that I had to take some pace off of him to finish the course in control whilst struggling with back pain. Some time faults were picked up but we still finished the day in the placings in a strong field as I had accidentally entered the open intermediate although we should have been in the restricted section!