Too hot to handle – Eventing in a heat wave!

Finally we get out to our first event of the year and Britain decides to have a heat wave! I’m not complaining about the glorious sunshine or the tan I’m building up but jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeze it’s HOT!

I went off to walk the XC the day before as we had enetered a local event West Wilts 90cm Unaff ODE and it was roasting! To the organisers’ credit they had done a lot to help with the going, and in places there was a good deal of cover and clear signs of ground work to improve the course. The further I walked though the more my heart sank as I knew with every fence that I couldn’t confidently and happily run Bolly XC. The ground, the heat, and fears that I hadn’t got as much fitness work into him as I would have liked to cope with these factors made me decide then and there to abandon my course walk and just treat this outing as an expensive combined training!

Arriving at half 9am and things were already hotting up, so we tacked up in the shade of the lorry and headed to the dressage warm up (not that anyone looked like they needed to be any warmer!!!). We’ve been working a lot on our dressage recently going for midweek lessons with my fab instructor Karen Shepherd. She trains with Carl Hester and has a brilliant eye and sympathetic yet effective teaching style. With Karen’s words ringing in my ears we turned to go down the center line, and give it our best dressage diva impression. All of our training paid off because Bolly delivered a foot perfect test, with none of our usual un-requested flying changes HOOOORAH!!! Super chuffed but rapidly melting we did a quick turn around and headed to the Show Jumping warm up. Bolly was raring to go and so after getting a great stride to each of our warm up fences (x-pole, upright, spread) I thought don’t over egg it, let’s crack on! In we went and the big wally decided to spook at fence 6 whilst approaching fence 1. Honestly!! He’s such a buffoon. wwec3 I’ve been having jumping lessons with my long term eventing coach and all round good egg Steven Way and his instruction to ride positively and keep the canter and attack the fences was at the forefront of my mind. We got good forwards strides to fences 1,2,3,4 and 5…..hey we’re on a roll….then I backed off a little at 6 and Bolly chipped in a stride….our roll had rolled off somewhere! Determined to get that forward positive feeling back I gave myself a mental kick up the arse and rode positively to a good stride for 7ab, 8 and then fluffed a very messy leg change to turn to 9 but whacked my leg on and Bols jumped us clear! wwec1 Clear with no time to add from the SJ we washed off and packed up and I went to look at my dressage mark. 22.5!!!??? yes really!!!! I was leading after dressage with only 1 other competitor even near our score! With that mark and our clear SJ we were still in the lead going into phase 3…..but….we weren’t going into phase 3……arrggghhh…uuugggg…sigh.

Saving Bolly for another day we set off home windows down, breeze blowing, water guzzling and beaming with the scores from the 2 phases we did do.

Until we get a break in the weather now we’re off to do some dressage and try to qualify for an Area Festival. Not as fun as XC but over much quicker and less exhausting in this heat!

Fingers crossed late August/September we can string all 3 phases together and replicate this form when it can count towards a placing…..we shall see…..

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