South West Horse Trials – Doing It On A Hill (Again)

Harvey… I have a love/hate relationship with it. I love the jumps on the XC course, but hate a lot of the track. I love the Show Jumping arena, but hate doing Dressage on a slope.

With my horses not really being suited to the negative aspects of the course (Bo is dead clumsy and is unbalanced downhill and GK likes to ignore half halts and although his brakes are better… they are still not fantastic which can result in sticky situations), I decided not to run. Instead the boys got a holiday while Ruby and I joined SL and Angel on the hillside as helpers.

Before I get started, my hat goes off to the SWHT committee. They have put so much time and effort into the grounds at Harvey. There is a brand new SJ warm up arena (which I believe was still under construction 2 days before the event), they have done the best they could to get the dressage areas as level as possible as well as adding brand new jumps and changing the bank completely. It was a herculean effort to make sure the grounds were ready in time and they did a spectacular job. Well done guys. 🙂

SL was pretty excited for this event and after dressage was sitting in 12th place with less than 6 penalties separating her from the leader.

Eventing dogs

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Angel was a little bit hesitant in SJ, but SL said that was mostly her not being sure of the course (she missed the course walk). Always the little superstar, Angel cleared everything and moved up into 9th place. We handed Angel to my cousin M, who had come down to help as well and while he cooled and washed Angel down, SL and I took Tyson and Ruby to walk the course.

How any XC course should be walked

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By this stage, I was kicking myself. All the parts of the Harvey XC course that I didn’t like, have been changed. The steep hill out the back after the water jump has been taken out of the EvA80 course. The drain that Bo wouldn’t go near and reared at in his first Harvey, has been filled over with pipe and sand so it is not full of scary horse eating monsters. It looked as if it would ride a lot better for both of my horses. The dressage is still on a slope, but it was a lot flatter than last year which would have not bothered me as much. If I had known that, I totally would have entered Bo!! Oh well, there is another Harvey event later in the year, I might have to add it to my calendar.

A Saturday night tradition at Harvey is the Saturday Night Games, which this year were sponsored by Milne Feeds. Hosted by the charismatic Mike Dagostino under flood lights in the show jump arena, he expertly puts kids and adults alike through their paces while competing in sack races, 3 legged races, sprints and a high jump competition. M ended up winning a sprint and came second in the high jump. Once that was over we headed off to bed as it was bloody freezing. Ruby ended up in my swag with me for extra body heat…

Sunday morning rolled around and I was extremely reluctant to crawl out of bed. Unfortunately I had to be up and at my jump on the XC course by 8am. So I rugged up, stumbled over to Pink Moo for one of their fantastic coffees, put on my incredibly flattering hi-vis vest and headed down the hill. SL and Tyson came down to keep Ruby and I company and luckily, the jump we were sitting on had a good view of the EvA105 and EvA65 horses coming down the hill, over the bank, past us on to their respective jumps and over the next two fences.

A couple of hours later, I was finished with jump judging and headed off to watch some show jumping and a little more XC. I drove SL’s Patrol down to the water jump to watch her go past as by that stage I was well and truly fed up with walking up and down that hill. Angel had some stops early on the course, but seemed to be going pretty well when they came through the water. Unfortunately they had their 4th stop at jump 14 which resulted in them being eliminated. SL was a bit disappointed, but has already formulated a plan of attack to help get more confidence for XC so hopefully all goes to plan for her.

The rest of the afternoon was spent watching friends ride with M cheering extra loud for his best mate Billy (aka Inverglen) in the 1* SJ. We packed up and headed home not long after the 1* SJ finished. Angel was happy to get home and put on an impressively athletic display once released into the paddock. I was happy to have cuddles from my disgustingly dirty horses who I am sure spent the whole weekend coating themselves in sand and dirt.

SJ warm up and arena

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M and Billy having cuddles…

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My next planned outing is on 28/7 at Wallangarra Pony Club’s SJ and XC training day. If GK is floating ok the plan is to take him around for one round at 80cm and the next at 95cm (my “oh crap” strap might be getting a lot of use), and Bo for two rounds of 80cm. I haven’t been to Wallangarra for years and the last time I went, I took GK around at 65cm. Fingers crossed all goes according to plan.

Until next time…

Take care

Cxx

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