Trip to the Area Competition by Emily Notman

Our road to the Dengie finals came to an end on Sunday.

The week building up to the Dengie Area competition was fairly quiet. Unfortunately, we couldn’t have a lesson with our trainer as she had gone off to Jersey to teach, so it was a week of hacking out for the ponies.

The ponies were the only ones plaited up for the competition and they looked very smart.

Take a Chance II was drawn 16th from 33 and jumped a lovely clear to progress to the jump-off. We were seventh in the jump-off from twenty, with only four qualifying places on offer and we had some very quick ponies to go after us. We set the fastest time by 2 seconds, but unfortunately had a pole as he struggled with the double distance.

We moved onto the Open Dengie, where we were the only 13.2hh’s and I was the youngest rider in the class. Bailey was drawn first, so it was a quick learn of the course before getting focused and doing our round. Bailey jumped a foot-perfect round and progressed to the jump-off. It was then a quick change-over, with only ten horses before Take a Chance II was in. He jumped clear but again struggled with the double distance and wasn’t as fluent as we would of liked, but nevertheless progressed to the jump-off.

Only six riders had progressed to the jump-off and I was first in on Bailey. We jumped a great round and were four seconds quicker, but he decided to stop at the last, which unseated me. Looking back, I think we could have gone for a slower, conservative clear to have got one of the three qualifying places on offer, but it’s a competition and you never know how fast the riders after you are going to go. Take a Chance II again struggled with the double distance, resulting in two poles and we finished on eight faults. I was placed 5th and 6th.

Overall I was disappointed, as I would have loved to have qualified for the final, but on the other hand I am extremely proud of the ponies’ performances and thank you to Dengie for asking me to blog my journey during the competition.

I wish all the competitors the best of luck for the finals.

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