We learnt from yesterday to wait a little for the ground to dry out and although we still had 7 rounds to jump today, we changed tactics a little on how to jump the horses and started a little later.
Well, still started at 6am but started jumping a little later. I went to the show office very early to take Acco out of the 1.00m Qualifier as he'd already qualified, withdraw Leo from the 2nd Newcomers Qualifier as he was jumping in the main arena, and put Acco in his place. When I got to the ring at about 7:30 there were already 50 numbers down!
That suited us, but clearly we need to get better at this! People were getting ahead and putting numbers down the night before, while Immy and I were busy collecting and staring at our 5 rosettes all of different colours from the day before!
It had rained a lot overnight and continued well into the morning. So this time we would have been better off jumping first as the ground just continued to deteriorate as the rain continued to fall.
We took the three horses down in a group, bridled, booted, studded and rugged and I just had to get on with it and warm up by myself!
Once again, Acco being the star of the day jumped a fab clear round in the 2nd 1.10m Qualifier and just as I kicked on to start my jump off, the bell went and we had got 3 time faults! Unbelievable! In fairness, I don't know if I could have gone the pace needed to qualify without falling over, and good friend Charlotte Addis who was in the lead at this point (and went on to win the 1.20m Championship) had rocketed round at a seemingly uncatchable speed.
Leo was next in to jump, and jumped another super, confident clear; was flying round the jump off; whether or not we were in contention I will never know, because the next thing I knew we were both lying on the floor! In fairness I'd turned tight back to a decent oxer, and asked for a long enough spot, but it was easily jumpable, perhaps on better ground, and as he took off he lost his back legs out behind him and the front end just came crashing down.
He was such a brave boy and just stood there looking a bit confused, and fortunately neither of us were hurt as the ground was so squidgy; albeit extremely muddy. He trotted up sound and jumped a few warm up fences to check all was ok, and left it there, knowing he needed to jump a 1.20m A10 classs in the international arena in a few hours time... NOT ideal preparation by any stretch of the imagination.
Tiny was next to jump in this slidy Newcomers; her first 1.10m track of the show, and her 2nd in her life. I nearly withdrew purely because my two bigger and more experienced horses had had problems, but I decided to jump the first half of the course and retire before the jump off; she was never going to win it but it would be a waste of £25 to not jump a single fence; and I made the right decision as she jumped brilliantly and handled the ground really well, producing a very confident round.
I must have looked funny on her with an ultra clean horse and me with browny-red jodhpurs from my soaking wet saddle, and one whole side completely mud and grass stain covered, saddle, numnah, face and hat included in that description...
For a 5yo, I was really impressed by her as much more experienced horses fell by the wayside. So pleased Acco had already qualified in this class as coming top 12 against 240 horses is no mean feat.
Our next rounds were Tiny and Acco's Newcomer's rounds, then Leo's 5yo Championship. Acco jumped another amazing, very fast double clear, to again be well placed (2nd) well past the halfway stage with the top 8 to qualify. Tiny was just lovely and had obviously gained a lot of experience this morning, just having the second part of a double down as I had her off the first part and she then couldn't make the distance. Other than that it was easy for her and very smooth.
Very pleased with both and pretty confident we would finish today with another international arena qualification, we turned our attention to Leo.
However, sense told me not to push it and I decided to retire him before the last 4 (very big!) fences unless he was really really relishing the course. There was no way I was going to do the next round with him even if he went clear; I was just so thrilled to be jumping him in the main arena this year (more competitive talk next year I promise!).
He came out the stable very very stiff, despite being gently walked throughout the day; so I walked him in hand for 40 minutes and then he did trot up sound. He felt fantastic in the warm up and it didn't seem to have dented his confidence at all.
I'm so lucky to have enough horses to have not had one second to think about our fall, having jumped 4 rounds since, and we felt on form! He jumped a massive 1.35m square oxer in the warm up (please remember we are eventers!) and I was thinking about doing the last four but kept my sensible head on and went into the ring with no expectations.
What a good boy! For a 5yo who has been to about 4 BSJA shows in his life, he trotted into the main arena no trouble and flew the first 2 fences so confidently I thought we were going to win! I got him a little close to a massive double at number 3, determined not to get a long spot again and he had to make a real effort to jump out and just had the back rail.
The rest of the course was amazing - a fraction sticky and I did make the right decision to retire before the last 4, especially to make him feel like he'd won and with the aim of leaving the arena more confident than we entered it, but he jumped 8 fences and 2 doubles just brilliantly.
It was the blind leading the blind but we did ok ;) He is going to be a star next year and although I have got a lot of experience producing young ones, with someone who had more experience jumping massive courses he could have won!
Still, we added a further two rosettes to our collection of 5 and declared Acco for the 1m Championships the following day.
Day 2 - Results
24th/240 - Pauldary's Bobby's Girl - 1.00m Open Qualifier