An Exiting Start to the Eventing Year for Chloe Fairley!

Well, it has certainly been an exciting start to the eventing year! We started at Epworth BE with Biscuit doing her first ever BE90 and Flash in the BE80. It was absolutely pouring with rain all day, hats off to the organisers for keeping it going! Biscuit did a good dressage, then rolled a pole. She was not enjoying the mud across country (not embracing her plough-horse lineage) and took exception to a brightly coloured hay cart on the cross country so we picked up 20 penalties. Flash wasn’t on til the afternoon and seemed relaxed on the lorry – however once off the lorry and tacked up he became wild. He thought the whole dressage thing was mind-blowing – so I thought the mark of 40.5 was pretty generous! He then redeemed himself by jumping clear cross country in ground which by now resembled a ploughed field. Growing up in an irish bog proved useful!

We were a bit concerned about how we were going to get him to settle for the dressage. My sister took him to a local unaffiliated competition and he came off the lorry like a lunatic. She decided to just trot him round and round until he settled…it took 40 minutes.

Next outing was Breckenbrough BE90 with Biscuit. She was really well behaved in the dressage for a 28.3 and then did a double clear. She was still pretty green cross country – but at least she kept jumping. I was over the moon when I saw that we had come 2nd – that all important qualifying result for a BE90 Regional Final – keeping the dream of Badminton 2018 alive!

Next on the plan was Bishop Burton, at only 45 minutes away it is one of our local events. I have been competing there since Pony Club days and had some real highs and lows! The last time I had competed there was in October 2014 when I had a crashing fall in the water. I had to have an operation to have my elbow pinned and plated – so
I needed to put those memories to bed. Biscuit did a good dressage (judges seem to like her) but bad riding led to two rolled poles in the showjumping. She flew cross country though so we left pretty happy.

We took Flash to a couple of local shows to show-jump and at the first one he had returned to his feral ways, charging around the show-jumping not very under control… we decided we needed a stronger bit for the jumping phases!

Speetley was on the same weekend as Bramham so I entered them on the sunday so that I could go to watch Bramham cross country and be inspired. It always amazes me that horses will agree to jump those enormous obstacles!

We had never been to Speetley before but it is a really well run event. Biscuit did another good dressage (-although we almost entered in canter). The show jumping arena is fantastic but Biscuit unfortunately found the judges box terrifying and so rather ran off with me and we had two down again. Our cross country round was not very smooth; I had dropped my whip at the first fence and resorted to growls of encouragement. However she did jump clear and we even got time penalties for going too fast!

Flash was the star of the day though. I got on him 45 minutes before his test and did a lot of trotting round to get the excess energy out. It worked – he did  lovely test and I came out with a big smile on my face – my sister and dad who were with me looked pretty happy too! The judge seemed to agree as he got the best mark in his section 28.3. He then jumped a double clear, just getting a few time penalties for going too fast. He won! We couldn’t believe the transformation from his wild Epworth performance!

I just had one final BE90 run on Biscuit before I had to give the reins back to my husband for July (he is her owner!). So off to Skipton we went. I am planning on going there for the BE90 regional final in August all being well so I thought it would be worth seeing what it was like.

I had an 8.30am time for dressage so crawled out of bed at 3.45am. I packed a picnic for me and my sister and we set off from the yard at 5am. It was worth the effort! Biscuit was brilliant in all three phases and came 2nd. Big pats and kisses for her. Even more excitement as that was a another qualifying result and means we get to have two goes at a Regional Final.

I feel very lucky to have two such genuine horses to compete on and such a brilliant and supportive family. I love going
eventing not just for the competing but it is a lovely day out with my family (this is me, my sister and my dad in the background! at Speetley).

Next stop will be Northallerton where my husband is going to do his first BE80 on Biscuit. We are also going to give BE90 a go on Flash – lots to look forward to!

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