Highclere Horse Trials: We Made It To Our Planned Seasonal Debut

Showjumping | Clear with plenty of room to spare
Showjumping | Clear with plenty of room to spare
Highclere Horse Trials | Our Seasonal Debut

It’s been a long, long road to WEG Highclere, three months of hard graft for both of us, but we finally made it! Whilst it has been a day of mixed results (crap dressage, but double clear inside the time), I can’t complain, the Great White Charger has come back to form and is as fit as ever.

I walked the cross country course the day before, as they were running other sections , I had tight early times, and I had agreed to walk one of the larger classes with a friend. As you can see from the video this is wide open parkland, so the ground here is usually good, and this weekend was no exception. It is very ‘spongy’ ground when it’s had some rain, and although it can cut up a lot, it actually holds together pretty well, although I notice they moved one of the portable brush fences a few metres from one day to the next.

Showjumping | Clear with plenty of room to spare

The day started with disappointment in the dressage, just very lethargic, and whilst I’m now convinced I need a new dressage saddle, I can’t be a bad tradesman and blame my tools for this poor performance, but I’m not going to dwell on that just now, as the day did get better. For the first time in longer than I care to remember we show jumped clear (we usually have one rail). I had made a point of riding more forward in the showjumping, and reviewing the video I still can’t believe how slow it looked. I’m coming to realise this horse looks slow, but feels fast. ¬†As soon as we entered the showjumping warm up he perked up and jumped every thing I asked of him, faultlessly, putting plenty of space between him and the rails. It’s taken me perhaps a little too long to learn to just relax and enjoy all three phases, not just the cross country, and this time round I managed to just roll with it in the show jumping.

The Great White Charger | Awesome Cross Country

I decided not to wait until my allotted cross country time, as I wanted to make the most of having him switched on, and since the organisers were calling for volunteers to start, we obliged.

Cross country really was awesome! Highclere isn’t what you would call a really tricky technical course, it’s just fairly big and you need a very fit horse. It’s probably my favourite event. The Great White Charge cruised around and jumped out of his stride at every fence, bar one, a wide-ish hay rack where he just chipped in a short stride, and cleared with enough room to park a bus. He also finished full of running, which was particularly pleasing. At one point I was able to completely relax and scratch my nose, he’s such a great horse cross country, just put him in the rhythm and he’ll do the rest. The video below includes complete ‘onboard’ footage of my cross country round using my helmet cam. These mini camcorder are more common in the US, but here in the UK it causes quite a stir and I got a lot of ‘double takes’ from people I passed along the way.

I don’t suppose I’ll have too many selectors ringing me over the next few days but all in all a very pleasing seasonal debut! I hope you enjoy the video (a quick edit).

More posts on the rest of Highclere to follow, and here’s another Helmet Cam Video, of our recent XC Schooling Session.

Amateur event rider, aspiring photographer. Technologist by day.

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