Julia's Blog JK – Eventing: Teaming Up with the Horse!

11.9.2011

What really happened at Luhmühlen…

Filed under: Julia,The English Blog — Julia @ 00:30

I suppose you have been wondering about what happened to me and Buddy during the cross-country course at  Luhmühlen, but I really needed some time to get over the tragic incident myself…

During the preparatory clinic everything went splendidly, Buddy was in a superb mood and in the evenings the atmosphere at the get-togethers of the team was optimistic and full of expectations. Everything seemed to be heading towards a high-flying season’s highlight. Being selected for the EUCH squad alone had already fulfilled all the hopes I had had for Buddy and myself, two years ago I would never have guessed that we could make it this far together!

The dressage test reflected our continual progress throughout the season, apart from a slight error just before the extended trot, and I was quite happy with 44pp (place 21 after dressage). The xc looked rather demanding, but I felt that it would suit After the Battle. Going early in the order promised to be an advantage this time, as the already quite wet ground threatened to get worse in the course of the event. Until after fence 12 Buddy performed phenomenally, absolutely great…

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when on a sandy track between fence 12 and 13 he suddenly tripped and felt lame immediately. I stopped instantly and had him transferred to the nearest veterinary clinic for examination. The ultrasonic scan revealed a badly injured superficial flexor tendon of the right fore, I am not remotely sure how this has happened, I reckon he hit himself with the hind foot or else he twisted it in an unevenness..

Anyway, this will definitely put an end to his career, as he is already 16 of age… We plan to offer him a happy retirement, he has certainly earned it! I would never have believed that we could achieve such great successes together, he gave everything and has been fighting for me amazingly. He will always remain a  very special horse to me, I don’t know any other which is so determined about what he will do and what not… and whom he likes and whom he detests 🙂 He deserves to be remembered forever as one of the fastest horses in eventing, if not the fastest, as a good gallop was his greatest joy, and felt just short from flying 😀

On Sunday I watched the final showjumping, and I am happy to say that our team gave an unrivaled stunning performance! Team gold and individual 1st to 4th and further favourable placings..you couldn’t ask for more, I can but express my congratulations to everybody again!

These European Championships will certainly be remembered very specially by everyone in a different way. For me, they have proved again what a small gap there is between blessing and disaster… Alas! Things like these are part of our sport, and surrendering is not an option, therefore the following weekend saw me and Louis at the Breda CIC***, more about that in the next blog!

 Best regards, Julia

13.8.2011

CIC-W*** Malmö

Filed under: Julia,The English Blog — Julia @ 13:40

Last weekend, we made the long-planned trip to Malmö, scheduled as the final check-up for the possible candidates of the EUCH squad. I intended to create a really convincing impression of Buddy  and me for the selectors… and, as I don’t want to keep you in suspense: We did it 🙂

Malmö is quite a special place to run an event at, very spectacular setting directly at the beach. When I walked the course for the first time, I was really awed by the fences, which mostly didn’t look cross-country like at all. There were huge gymnastic apparatuses which created the impression that you had to jump over them directly into the sea, an emerging submarine in bright yellow, and some triangular skinnies which resembled those in Warendorf, only half as wide..and hundreds of people sunbathing on their towels splattered across the course like a living decoration! They fenced the track off all right during the competition, but it was still a very distracting surrounding, too much for some horses… Nevertheless an absolute highlight, which I would like to revisit anytime!

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But from the beginning: I took Louis along, with the intention of further establishing him on ***-level, unfortunately he didn’t take the special atmosphere too well…The dressage test was quite ok, one flying change late but nevertheless a sound performance, unfortunately I made a mistake (got some of the movements in the wrong order, it was the first time I had to do this shortened 4* test) thus we ended up with 51 pp. During xc, he got really distracted by the hordes of spectators milling along the course, which was scary enough in itself. Though the dimension of the fences was obviously no problem, he somehow lost track of his job and we had two run-outs, which is quite unusual for him (after the one in the first water, I couldn’t turn him before it got so deep he lost the ground under his feet, what resulted in a quite spectacular photo of us in Sweden’s biggest newspaper 😉 As he had performed perfectly calm in Strzegom, but we had a similar incident earlier  at Wiesbaden, where the setting was comparable, I think I will choose his next events more carefully. Obviously the increased demands of 3- or 4 star events do not solely consist of bigger fences… In the final showjumping, he had one pole but jumped a very nice round. His next event is to be at Breda, and I hope he will be properly focused again…

Buddy fortunately is an old stager and not easily impressed by his surroundings, he was absolutely great! We did a convincing test, though this special  4*-test is not our favourite, but with 43.7 pp (rank 4) I was quite satisfied. After the disastrous round with Louis, I was quite nervous before xc. But thanks to some invaluable encouragement from our national coach Chris Bartle: “Your eyes have to be burning on the next fence“ :-)), it changed to determination, and we had a gorgeous round which was pure fun:-) We added 3.6 pp for time and remained in 4th place. On Sunday, we eventually managed a clear round in sj and ran up to the 2nd place! And after some time, I realized just how cool a 2nd in a world cup qualifier is 🙂

The selectors obviously agreed, and now I am definitely on the shortlist for Luhmühlen 🙂 I am exceptionally happy about this, as I am fully aware of everything that can go askew in our metier (though this year’s  season has been quite successful up to now), and of course we will try to give our very best at my first Europeans among the “grown-ups”! Ben (Winter) ended up on 11th place in Malmö, what finally convinced the selectors to upgrade him from reserve status to shortlist, too. I look forward to the Perspektivgruppe making a complete appearance 😉

This weekend, I have another outing with the Youngsters, taking Eragon and First Flight’s Beauty to CIC* at Bad Harzburg.

Warm regards, Julia

31.7.2011

Hünxe: The First International Event for my Youngsters

Filed under: Julia,The English Blog — Julia @ 14:20

The Hünxe International Event has for many years been one of my favourite summer competitions. The setting being beautiful and spacious, they offer a variety of contests from grass roots and xc tests for Young Eventers up to an international 2-star event, which I was lucky enough to win last year with Louis when the German Team Championships were carried out there. Last weekend, I took Sam (Samourai du Thot), Beauty and Eragon to compete there. The first result to be happy about is due to Sam, who became 3rd in an aptitude test including a xc course with a score of 8.2. He is coming on very nicely and obviously likes his job… Eragon started with a novice level Young Eventers xc test, where only some time pens kept  him out of the ranks. Additionally, he participated in a pre-novice (short format) which was carried out over three whole days (which will be difficult to imagine for anybody from UK, where you generally are done with a BE100 in a couple of hours, even if you have several horses!). He did a convincing dressage test which was awarded with a score of 7.9 .  In the quite demanding xc course we collected just a few time pens, thus we finally won the competition in spite of a couple of poles at the first sj fences ..:-) 

Beauty tried her first CIC* and proved that she has gained a lot of experience since the beginning of the season. The dressage test got her 48 pp (11th, still worthwile to improve..). Her clear round in xc was confident and in a good pace, rised us temporarily to a 6th rank. Unfortunately, she had two poles down in sj, which is rather unusual for her. The first one was probably owing to me, but the one at the last fence absolutely unnecessary. I assume that the practice arena set up indoors due to the rain disturbed her (she is still a little afraid of so many horses) and made her jumping tense, as usually she is really careful. We still achieved a placement, about which I (and hopefully her owner) am very happy 🙂 The next event for her and Eragon is scheduled the CIC*  Bad Harzburg …

Until next time!  Julia

30.7.2011

Strzegom and Greven

Filed under: Julia,The English Blog — Julia @ 23:29

The trip to Strzegom, now nearly a month ago, taught me again how close victory and defeat are in our sport…

Last year, Strzegom had been the stage of Buddys first 3*-event and, resulting in a 7th place in a World Cup qualifier, rather a success. Thus I decided to enter there again to attend the  compulsory CCI***  in preparation fo r the European Championships. He did a great dressage test, faultless and easy, score of 40,4 pp, our best result on ***-level so far, it meant runner-up (after Bettina Hoy) before xc.  Then our lucky streak ended: A skinny in the water, to be approached out of a right turn, I obviously took it too much for granted and didn’t hit the right distance, which Buddy apparently misconstrued and ducked out… the second approach was no problem, and the remains of the course were completed in his usual  confident way. I suppose I have to take the blame for this mishap L Maybe it would have been asking for too much, but even with the unlucky pole down in sj we would have won the event, as it was we finished 12th…Now I concentrate on looking forward to Malmö, where the last check-up for Luhmühlen will be, and I will certainly make an effort to look good there…

Louis competed in the CCI** as he needed a qualifying result in a three-day event.  He did a very reasonable dressage test without any obvious mistakes. We got 48pp. I felt it could have been a little less, but we were nevertheless  in the lead, so never mind;-) The xc course posed no problems and even with a pole in sj (the same fence as Buddy, really annoying!) we took the cup home 🙂 I am immensely happy about this , as Louis always tries to give 110% and compensates for the one or other conformational deficiency by this unbelievable commitment. His season’s goal is the  CCI***  Boekelo, in between he is scheduled to perform  in Malmö and Breda to get accustomed to ***-dressage tests und SJ a little more …

The following weekend I competed locally in Greven with the youngsters. Eragon got the chance to practise some showjumping and completed his qualification for Bundeschampionat with a score of 8.2 (3rd place)in a Novice level  xc test for young eventers. Beauty competed in a Novice level  xc test judged by style, she got  a score of 8.4 which meant  4th place and a good preparation for her first international event in Hünxe. Buddy and Louis did an intermediate showjumping competition. Louis became 6th after a clear round. Buddy was jumping  really well, too, but had one unlucky pole down again..seems to become a habit this year and is annoying me more and more…;-)

Yours, Julia

15.6.2011

CIC*** at Wiesbaden

Filed under: Julia,The English Blog — Julia @ 11:15

Our Whitsun weekend started with another great event for Buddy and Louis : For  the first time, I had entered the CIC*** at “ Wiesbadener Pfingstturnier”. A very important event with some highly remunerative dressage and showjumping competitions, but takes some getting used to from an eventer’s perspective 😉

The setting can only be called breathtaking with the Castle as a background, in this aspect and also considering the great number of spectators (though by the majority lacking any knowledge or interest in eventing) it is comparable with the more important events in UK. But to speak the truth, I feel much more at home at “our” events.. at least you wouldn’t be mistaken for a groom if you happen to lead your horse yourself  🙂

Now to the competition itself: In dressage I was scheduled first with Louis, he stayed cool despite the impressive background, maybe a little too relaxed. During the canter, I couldn‘t collect him enough and consequently the flying changes remained below his possibilities, together with some further small negligencies we collected 52 pp. But I am positive that with some more routine on this level, we will soon achieve satisfying results… In sj the big arena impressed im a little more, he started to pull somewhat, which resulted in a pole, but on the whole he did really well, taking into account that this was his 3rd event in this season and the second on three-star level. I was confident about the xc, as he has done solely clear rounds for the last 6 years and hadn’t given much thought to one bright-blue sj water fence used to decorate a trakehner… Louis obviously thought something like that out of place in a xc course and as it was at the beginning of the course (he always needs some fences to find his rhythm) ducked out..after that, he went on without any problems in good style, though at the last corner we had a bit of luck, as he caught the flag. I am convinced that he prefers the more old fashioned courses with lots of space to gallop and I am looking forward to the CCI*** at Strzegom in a fortnight!!

As a recompense, Buddy was just amazing!! He gave his best in dressage (spectators said that he looked as if he really enjoyed it!) and got  44,6 Punkten bewertet, which really satisfied me. He has improved a lot since last season, and if we can keep to these marks, there is nothing to complain about…In sj he definitely has his own style, but we managed one of the rather few clear rounds and he was absolutely untouched by the noisy atmosphere..XC was pure joy again, though I had been somewhat troubled beforehand by the experience with Louis. We had one awkward moment at the coffin which HE saved brilliantly and he whizzed through the rest of the course apparently enjoying it. We only collected 4.4 time penalties which was quite good and ended up 3rd place (as usual after Michael Jung ;-).

I do hope that we can keep up this condition, we will have some quiet days and then are appointed „guinea pig“ for the CIC***-test at Luhmühlen before we head for Strzegom CCI*** in a fortnight. In the meantime, the whole team will do their best to make Buddy feel as comfortable as possible..:-)

Best regards, Julia

 

14.6.2011

Update of the last Weeks..

Filed under: Julia,The English Blog — Julia @ 10:12

During the last weeks, I have been quite busy competing with the youngsters: In Everswinkel, Beauty confirmed again her aptitude on pre-novice level and and got a 4th place. Eragon did a fair dressage test, had some jumping faults again but made it up by a convincing xc round.

Next on our schedule was Löningen, Dodo aquired a pleasing 2nd in a quite challenging novice event with only some time penalties added to his good dressage result. I had decided to let Beauty try novice level again, and she appeared much more mature, did a reasonable dressage test, collected one rather  avoidable fault in sj and  only some time penalties in xc, 5th place! Eragon competed on pre-novice level. He did a proper test, and displayed more routine in sj, only one pole down at the last fence. The quite demanding xc course seemed to have confused him somewhat, he had a refusal after some steps down at one of the last fences. But he made up for it the next day, when he became 5th in the Young Horses xc test with a result of 7.9!

Coco has left my stables meanwhile, as had been agreed upon beforehand, to be sold.

Sam (Samourai du Thot), a 5-year old french saddlebred and another one of my young rides,  has been at his first competition on Whitsun weekend and started his career with a promising 8.0 in a young horses 100cm-xc test (3rd place))!!

 Yours, Julia

6.5.2011

International 4-Day Event in Velen

Filed under: The English Blog — Julia @ 00:10

There isn’t much time to take a breather at the moment! Already last Thursday I went off to the next event: International 4-day event in Velen, with 4 horses. Luckily it’s not too far away so I didn’t need onsite stabling, because the schedules in Germany are far less effective than in Britain! Thursday were the dressage tests  for Doctor Harriot (Dodo) in CIC**   und Coconut Dream (Coco) in CIC*. Dodo had a super performance with only the walk and the ’ turn about the haunches’ which could have been a trifle better. We got only 40 pp and were leading after dressage J Coco had to do his test during a thunderstorm, but he stayed admirably cool and gave a decent performance. As some of the *-movements  need to be practiced a little more and we are still working on the fine-tune, we collected 56 pp and were 41th (of about 100 competitors!).

Those two had a break on Friday and xc on Saturday: Dodo was the first to go, and in spite of the quite technical and somewhat square course, he just tackled every fence boldly! He has really made progress and obviously wants to be counted among the grown-ups now ;-)As the ground can be deep in Velen, especially after a long dry period, I didn’t want to go too fast, thus we collected some time penalties, but he arrived in the finish as fresh as paint. Coco’s first *xc was challenging enough, but he seemed quite unimpressed. We did a clear round, he went as drawn on a string, though I am sure there were some types of fences he had never met before!

The showjumping on Sunday was difficult enough, but both of them did their very best and had clear rounds! Coco’s style was faultless, but Dodo was quite jaunty and tried to do things his own way. Maybe I should try to fit in some sj competitions to straighten things out… nevertheless, Dodo ended up 3rd place and Coco 11th !!

The Pre-Novice for which I had entered Eragon and First Flight Beauty was scheduled on Friday and Saturday. I was quite satisfied with their dressage performance: Eragon got 7,1 Beauty  7,5. SJ was no match for Beauty, but Eragon seemed a little confused about what to do in his first proper sj course and had 3 poles down, but grew much more confident in the second half. In xc there was a clear round for both, and the final results were 2nd for Beauty and 10th place for Eragon. I really enjoy competitions where I get a ribbon every time I perform 😀

My next event will be Marbach (5th – 8th of May) CIC*** with Buddy and Louis!!  Things are getting exciting…

Eragon in Velen

27.4.2011

Julia’s Easter Holidays

Filed under: The English Blog,Turniereindrücke — Julia @ 20:35

While everbody else competed in Badminton, I took advantage of the situation and went to Bielefeld 😉 with Louis and Coco, they both started Novice level.

For Louis (Lost Prophecy) it has been his first outing after surgery last December, and I am blissfully happy to be able to say that he is eager to be on again!! He did a very nice dressage test which would have earned a better score than 7.5. In sj he was maybe a little too motivated, presumably because xc was already going on nearby, thus he had both poles down in the last combination (annoying, but as I know him, he will be more focused already next time..) During xc he was VERY eager, which was quite a challenge for me, but made me extremely happy, because less than half a year ago, things had looked very differently…He played with the fences as he used to, and because he made such a good impression, I scheduled the CIC*** Marbach as his next event!!! :-)

Coconut Dream seems to become a shooting star!Coco in Löningen It was his first Novice (and 2nd event ), but he seemed quite unimpressed. He started his dressage test smoothly, but then began to shake his head (I suspect that he got stung by an insect or the like)…In sj he had  a confident clear round and tackled every fence in xc in a convincing manner and with a good drive, while he was always easy to control. His next competition will be the CCI* in Everswinkel.

On Sunday morning, I took my two babys (Eragon and his little sister Eline) to Telgte for another Aptitude test. Eline demonstrated her brother how to calmly stay in marching order and achieved a 5th place with a score of 7.0 at her first competition! Eragon tried to squeeze in some extra cantering, but performed well otherwise and got a 6.5

Next weekend will see me in Velen where Doc Harriot will have a go in CIC** and First Flights Beauty and Eragon in VA (BE 100)

Best regards, Julia

21.4.2011

First results of Eragon & Coconut Dream

Filed under: The English Blog,Turniereindrücke — Julia @ 18:34

Here is some really good news about one of my youngsters: The 6 year old Eragon has just (5th ofApril) been out to the first competition of his life. To allow for his absolute lack of experience, I wanted to give him an easy start by choosing an “Aptitude test”  (very basic dressage, some small jumps and fences).  He was absolutely calm, jumped the coloured and the solid fences with great confidence as if drawn on a string. He got a 7,9 and 3rd place in his section!  I deemed him fit for a 100cm xc test for young horses, which he did quite well. Maybe still a little confused here and there, but without any penalties, resulting in a 6.9

Two weeks later, he had his next competition in Löningen:  The 100cm xc for young eventing horses was quite a task, but he did it very confidently, though sometimes a little distracted, and got a score of 7.3. I decided to enter him also for the 110 cm xc test:  For once, boldness was rewarded! He felt really confident and forward, and obviously the judges thought the same, 8.1 and 2nd :-) This means also that he has got his first qualifying result for Bundeschampionat, though I didn’t really aim at that before…His next start is scheduled a pre-novice (BE 100) at Velen the oncoming weekend .

Another one of my new rides, the 9-year old Russian Thoroughbred Coconut Dream, really surprised me in his first outings: Two weeks ago, he did his first competition, a VA (BE100) in Löningen. He did a reasonable dressage rewarded with 49 pp (German system). Two very confident clear rounds in sj and xc (only some time penalties), and we ended up 2nd! He obviously needs the challenge of an event to perform (and behave) decently J

Yours, Julia

29.3.2011

Season’s Kick-Off in Hannover

Filed under: The English Blog — Julia @ 22:20

Last Saturday, the traditional kick-off of the German eventing saison was staged in Hannover! After the long and rather cold winter, you might first like an update:

Kaiserstern has been sold to a Junior rider just before Christmas. She is trained by Kai-Steffen Meier, and I expect her to have lots of fun with Kaiser! Krispe is back at her owners’ yard and currently for sale, so if anyone is interested, don’t hesitate to contact me..

I am happy to have acquired two new rides: ‚Eragon‘, 6-yaer old Trakehner gelding by Askar AA/Sastor, breeder: Axel Hörmann, owner: Heidrun Brinkmann. He is still quite unexperienced and will need lots of practice … Then there is ‚First Flight Beauty‘, 8-year-old Trakehner mare by Finley-M/Almox Prints, owner and breeder: Dr Hubertus Schmidtlein. She has some experience on pre-novice level and is a brilliant jumper. I believe that she has just the right attitude and are thrilled about how she will develop! Both horses will soon be presented with pictures and all details, so watch this space!

Lost Prophecy (Louis) had a major surgery due to a colic resulting from a  thrombosis in the intestinal wall last December. After a difficult start, he has recovered very well and resumed normal training four weeks ago! If everything goes well, I hope to start the season for him in another month’s time 🙂

During the last decade, it’s become a tradition for most of the German eventers to start the season with the novice held at Hannover the last Saturday in March. I took  After the Battle (Buddy), Doctor Harriot (Dodo) und First Flight Beauty (Beauty) there for their first outing. All of them did reasonable dressage tests and got marks in the 40ies (German system , would be 30ies in BE). Dodo was a trifle spooky and Buddy rather excited, but as this is usually the case at the begin of the season, I am positive that we will overcome that soon.

 In sj, Dodo was a little too eager and had a pole at the last fence, Beauty did a clear round and Buddy was jumping brilliantly, but I have to admit that I did a rather bad job and we collected 7 pp (which I hope will not occur again, and would certainly not be his fault)

At noon, when I set off to course-walk, the stomach flu which had been developing since the morning began to really bother me and I wondered whether I should ride xc at all… but as I didn’t want to waste the opportunity, I decided to clench my teeth and have a try 😉 Consequently, we took it rather steady, which is no bad option for the seasons’ start anyway. Dodo and Buddy did confident rounds, Beauty  was somewhat distracted by the surroundings and had a stop at the not very inviting water fence. After having inspected it, she cleared the fence and I am nevertheless quite satisfied with her overall performance.

I survived xc unharmed, and luckily Hannes Melin offered to drive my lorry back to Warendorf. I do hope the season will continue more enjoyable, but for the moment I am rather satisfied with my horses.

Next weekend, Eragon will have his first try in Werne in two tests for young horses, I am really thrilled already…

 Until then, Julia

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