I ran Sprout and Massimo at this event and also took along Nikki Cox who I had decided was ready to attempt her first ODE, in reality she was ready for a double clear at 70 but Solihulls lowest class was 80, so she was thrown in the deep end. However I knew her reliable and very genuine mare Rif Raf would look after her.
I walked the XC with Nikki and apart from the water it all seemed very straight forward indeed, Nikki went a bit quiet as we walked one of the bigger spreads, kick on I told her. The penultimate fence was the water, first a house, one stride and then a dew pond. Quite an ask for a first event, but luckily I knew Rif Raf would love this fence, Nikki just needed to remember to sit up and kick.
Everything went to plan, there was a moment when Nikki froze in the SJ leaving Rif Raf to scramble through the double, a lesson learnt “if in doubt kick” but apart from that they did a nice dressage test and went clear XC with only a few time faults, you would never have known it was Nikki’s first ever XC competition. She came back beaming, bought several photos and a week later is still grinning from ear to ear. See her jumping the water here.
Suddenly I realised in a panic that it was time to take Sprout XC, his first 80 and over half the class had stopped or been eliminated at the water jump. I had walked the course with Nikki and Rif Rafs big day in my mind and I needed to change a few things in my head.
Sprout set off XC boldly over fence one, spun round when he saw the decorations on fence 2 and then got a grip and jumped the rest clear including a very bold jump over the house and into the water. Mmmm a good day I think, he leant lots although the early greeness was a little irritating. See him jumping the water here.
Massmimo was his usual consistent self, did a good dressage and popped round double clear in the 100 for 4th place.