National Championships 2019 Round Up
It’s been a hugely successful season for so many of my pupils. New personal achievements and meeting goals throughout the year, it has been so rewarding to be on the journey with so many and to share in there success. A broken foot side lined me from competing in the championships this year, so I had to sit back and watch my pupils take the stage, and by god did they do me proud and then some….
The youngest of my trio, 10yr old Sarah Curry with Marlton Rose, a 4yr old Irish opinionated pony! Not what one would have described as a dressage pony at the start of this year, but a true test of determination, hard work and effort saw this pair grow and unite into an unbelievable combination throughout the year. An early start for their prelim test didn’t phase either in the slightest and they produced a very solid test, unfortunately a few green spooks at the start of the test costing them over all but finished a very credible 7th in the U12s Junior Trailblazer Preliminary. A long break before there Novice proved to be very useful, giving both pony and child plenty of down time to relax, before getting everything together one more time on this their Nationals debut. Amazing how much more the pony listened and took confidence from Sarah right from the off, and the pair never looked in doubt at any point throughout the test. An incredibly mature and solid performance saw them finishing 4th in a big Junior Trailblazer Novice class, a class open to riders up to 16. Sarah was also the highest placed u12 in the class. There are many more Championships to come for this pair and the future is very bright for them both, be sure to follow there progress 🙂
Next up 15yr old Molly Mooney and Sverige, absolutely not they way to purchase a horse, but that’s a tale for another day 😉 This partnership met at the turn of the year, and like every good relationship it had its share of very rocky moments. However there was a something that bound them tighter then the moments of madness mid work. And it is that persistence that has blossomed over the year into one of the most successful partnerships I have had the pleasure to teach and watch grow. Some fabulous results in the UK left them well set up to challenge for a top 3 finish in Cavan. The first test of the Novice Championship saw the mare act very professional and knuckle down to her work. They produced a very solid and nice test, unfortunately their weak points proved very costly in the results but in all very happy to sit 3rd after day 1 in a tight scoring class. The following day gave them a break from their championship where they tackled their first ever freestyle. Unfortunately a technical error with the music left to much confusion at the start. However after a shaky start the pair settled in and adapted their floor plan as best they could. Not the performance that they had rehearsed at all, however the professionalism shown by both was out of this world. Left to wonder what could have been, was only half, there was a second chance and it was only half done. We made a deal that if she knew her test, no music or outside interference could stop her from achieving her goal. And she did exactly that, Molly grabbed the opportunity with both hands and didn’t let go. Nurturing a slightly tired mare, Molly rode a foot perfect test, that flowed with grace and harmony far beyond her years to post a top score… not just the best of the day but good enough to see her shoot to the top of the leader board in the Championship too, making her the 2019 Novice Category 2 National Champion. Hugely proud of this pair, and their season isn’t over just yet… stay tuned they have one big one still to come…
And rounding out my 3 stars, is 19yr old Finn O’Gara and my mother’s Saale Hit. A challenging German Hanoverian gelding who sometimes forgets where he his and that he is a dressage horse, this combination began over some very icy times back in February when the weather wasn’t the only thing driving me insane! A tricky horse who enjoys building boxes and keeping his rider inside them so he doesn’t have to strain himself made this a difficult one to train. However Finn’s natural empathy and the way he works with his horses gave us a shot at cracking this fella. The season has been rocky, it’s had some real highs and some serious lows, but the fact of the matter is that its a journey, and we’re on board for the long haul. Their season has been a journey one which they have really grown on, and I’m super proud of how far they have come, when I think back to where we started, there is almost no comparison. It was really nice to see Saale Hit so relaxed away from home for the first time, and that showed in his work as well. A couple of really polished and quality tests saw them finish 4th in the Advanced Medium Championship on a very hot field. On the final day they tackled their first ever Kur, I wasn’t popular from the first moment I came up with the idea that they should do one. And to be fair the floor plan was still being altered by the time they were going into the ring, but they produced some fantastic work and pulled off all the difficult movements with ease. Unfortunately some very uncharacteristic tension at the beginning kept the marks a little lower than hoped but nothing takes from this incredible performance. In a very tight class hugely proud to see them walk away 4th. This is just the start for this combination, there are goals and ambitions set for the future years, be sure to watch their progress, its definitely going to be worth it! Short term too, their season isn’t over just yet… stay tuned for their next adventures!