Our Arena Eventing Debut


by Lisa Mancuso

So, following a less than perfect run up to our first event since July, off we toddled to Keysoe for Spider’s first Arena ODE. At home we have been schooling at around 85cm, so we opted to enter the 80cm class as I knew he would have made no effort at 70cm, especially the show jumping which is probably our weakest phase at the moment!

Luckily the gale force winds that blew on Saturday had calmed down slightly so we could make the trip over to Keysoe. It was still blowy, but safe enough to take the trailer out thank goodness. Even though it took us longer to get there than it normally would, we arrived in plenty of time to get ready for our dressage at 11.06. I made sure we had plenty of time to get ready and warm up (or should I say, plenty of time for Spider to get used to his surroundings)! It was our turn so off we trotted up the centre line. Our last centre line out competing resembled a serpentine, so I was really pleased that we managed a fairly straight line that only drifted to the left slightly towards the end. Not bad with the wind up his tail and a very scary judges box approaching him! I remembered the test and Spider was very obedient, just breaking from his second canter for a score of 4 which was a shame. I did feel like he was lacking energy slightly and was struggling to keep the momentum going…maybe we are going to have to rethink his diet now he’s starting to do big boy things! He does very well on Hi-Fi Molasses Free as he is a good doer, but maybe something with a bit more energy will help him now. I’ll have to have a chat with Dengie nutrition team about this to see what they recommend! We finished with a lovely square halt and a very big smile; and an even bigger smile when we found out we scored 35.25.

80sj2118n178 Lisa Mancuso and IslenoOn to the show jumping and Spider warmed up really well, undisturbed by all the other horses whizzing around. Spider is still very green when it comes to the Show Jumping phase, he tends to get in a little deep and will take a pole or two. We still school with placing poles at home, but of course out competing there is no such luxury! Anyway, we went in and did our best - Spider was very good, but did get in too deep for 3 down which was a shame, but it’s just a case of practice, practice, practice, and this experience will only have helped! Luckily having a pole down doesn’t bother him in the slightest, so I know it won’t have knocked his confidence, he’ll just try harder next time!

From our Show Jumping round we went straight over to the arena full of portable XC jumps; up until now he hasn’t seen a proper arena full of XC like that so I really had no idea how he was going to react. We have only been XC schooling out in the field, which is very different. I needn’t have worried, he was absolutely loving it and stormed round making easy work of what I thought were quite meaty 80cm jumps…all 10 of them! 

Suffice to say, I thoroughly enjoyed the day, as did Spider, and it really couldn’t have gone any better – we came home with a 12th placing, and our heads held high, roll on next time!


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