Francis Whittington's End of Season Roundup
Well it’s that time again… the end of the season. I can safely say this is one season I am not glad to see the back of. All the horses have been going so well this year, and all the plans we are putting in place for each of them are coming together.
The younger horses have stepped up to their goals for this year well. Derries Blitz (Ash) is getting stronger and stronger and ended the season at Novice ready to continue his education over the winter and aim for seven year old classes and Intermediate next year. Easy Done finished his season with a trip to Lignieries CCI2*, he easily made the time on the cross country and I am very much looking forward to him moving up the levels.
The advanced boys really came into their own this autumn. Hasty Imp headed to his first four star at Burghley and I was so impressed with his attitude at how he stepped up to the mark. There is so much more to come from him, as he is only 10 years old, but he kept a level head throughout the whole competition and gave me an incredible clear ride around the demanding and tough cross country track. He will have a break and start his winter preparations to head to another four star in the spring.
Easy Target continued his fantastic form after Salperton. 2nd at Barbury International, 2nd at Gatcombe Championships making him the national champion and then a fantastic win at Blenheim International Horse trials. He so deserved this win, after pulling him up at Badminton due to the tiring conditions he came home happy and ready to continue the season at his best. This season couldn’t have gone any better for him and I am so excited for him to come out next year and continue doing the job he loves so much.
Fernhill Highlight also came into his own at Blenheim, he was incredible cross country day. He made a tough track feel effortless and was solid in all three phases to come 5th. It felt so great for both my horses to get placed in the top five.
Finally we headed to Pau CCI 4* with West Side. A new ride this season, it was a big ask for him to make the step up to four star with relatively low mileage this season. But he has a huge amount of ability and scope and I believed in him. He did a very good dressage and with a couple of mistakes still managed to lie 9th after this phase and again another winter of training there is so much more to come. We had a small misunderstanding at the beginning of the cross country course which resulted in 20 penalties, but he flew around the rest and grew in confidence as we went on. It was a very technical demanding track which was causing huge amount of problems to experienced four star horses, so I was absolutely thrilled to cross the finish line with him in our first season together. He came out of the competition feeling very pleased with himself and definitely looking forward to his next four star in the spring of next year!
I have finished this year feeling so fortunate to have a very talented string of horses, and some very exciting four star horses for next year. I also have some lovely young horses making their way up the grades and a group of incredibly supportive owners and sponsors. All in all things feel like they are really coming together and I am already excited for next season…
I hope the winter is good to you all and look forward to blogging about our return to competition in the spring. Roll on 2015!