The Pony Club Dengie Winter Championships Lola unfortunately developed a sore heel and it was touch and go as to whether she would be sound to attend

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Expect the Unexpected by Will Bower

One thing I’ve learnt about horses is always to expect the unexpected and to just go with the flow. In the two weeks leading up to The Pony Club Dengie Winter Championships Lola unfortunately developed a sore heel and it was touch and go as to whether she would be sound to attend the Open Showjumping Grand Prix. However, by Friday morning she was fit and ready. The down side was that I hadn’t sat on her for two weeks! As we had qualified for the Open Dressage Champs with Polly we decided to take both of them anyway.

It was a long 4 and 1/2 hour drive down to Addington Manor on Saturday morning. I’ve never been to that venue before, although I have been to the Championships on three previous occasions. It’s a great venue and the facilities are fantastic. The weather was fine and dry and I was looking forward to the competition ahead. Both horses were keen to be out and doing. I decided to ride Lola early in the afternoon and then put her back in her stable for a relax before the warm up class. I was so pleased that I had. Wild wasn’t in it. I do apologise to the Novice showjumpers who had to warm up in the outdoor arena with me! She bounced around the arena with all four feet off the ground for most of the session. She was equally excited in the collecting ring and the warm up class we rolled a couple of poles, but I was pleased overall with her performance.

WillBower Dengie Champs SJ small

Lola then jumped a lovely clear in the first round of the Open Grand Prix. It was such a new experience for her in a busy arena with a lot to look at and a tricky course. We went into the second round one of only 21 clears and finished on 8 faults just outside the top 10 placings. She was just getting tired by this time after all her leaping about earlier and it was the biggest course she has jumped in competition. I was delighted with how she had gone and it was such good training for the future.

I rode Polly later that evening in preparation for the Open Dressage on the Sunday and finished off with another read through the test.

We were up early on Sunday as I was competing at 10.15am. We were again lucky with the weather, it was a perfect day for dressage. At the start of the season Polly is always excited to be out and spent much of the warm up looking for the cross country course. I felt the test had gone reasonably well, although not as consistent as I would have liked and I unfortunately forgot to give and retake the reins at two points in the test. However, we finished 6th in our Arena in a strong competition and I was very happy with the result.

We had chance to catch up with Dengie team at their stand and have both horses weighed. They are both in really good condition on their Dengie fibre diets and look fantastic. Lola in particular has developed significantly since we started using Dengie feeds.

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at the Dengie Championships and would like to thank both Dengie and The Pony Club for such a well organised event and brilliant competition.

Photo courtsey of 1st Class Images

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