Dustry’s combined training debut

tacking up in the lorry Having done lots of BD dressage outings, and a few small show jumping competitions I felt it was time to take Dustry to his first combined training competition. I found a little low key competition at Wickstead Farm Equestrian Center (base for Badminton Horse Trials winner Paul Tapner!) so I entered him for Class 2 which comprised of British Eventing BE90 Test 92 and a round of 2’3” show jumps.

942141_465652243514627_373646647_ncombined trainingAs luck would have it I also managed to bag myself a ‘personal pap’ for the day! Katie Mortimore Photography came with me and took some stunning shots, in return for me providing groom and photography duties the next day, deal done! If you are looking for a photographer Katie is freelance, based on the Wilts/Hants border and covers sporting events, but is also available for private hire shoots.

Things didn’t exactly get off to a great start because as I went to do a gazelle like leap from a bale of haylage in order to get on, my gazelle like powers failed me and Dustry moved! This resulted in a sort of half mounted half clinging on slow dismount arse first onto the carpark! Thankfully I don’t think anyone saw this disastrous display, and my jacket was long enough to cover the mud stains, so we set off into the warm up hiding our dirty little secret and blushing a little! hahahahah 🙂


Dustry has developed such a grown up attitude now it’s fantastic! This was his first time ever warming up on grass in a big field full of ponies and horses, lorries and with people jumping practice fence at one end, and he was super cool. He warmed up nicely, producing moments of really good work, so I was hopeful for a good test.

The indoor school was very spooky, or so I thought, but D didn’t seem to think so, and was very attentive and responsive throughout the test. We had a slightly rubbishy last 2 movements as it was medium walk up the center line, halt at X. I knew if I was to put more leg on to make the walk have more purpose that he would break into a jog, because the test previously had 2x trot walk trot transitions in it, so instead I settled for a slightly underpowered walk, and although he halted square, he then thought better of it and shifted his bottom off the center line!

Back out into the warm up to pop a couple of practice fences and he jumped them sweetly, so we went up to the show jumping arena. The small arena seemed very crowded with 9 fences in it, and they were all nice and colorful with fun fillers. Dustry has only seen a few fillers, and the course contained 2 skinny fences which we haven’t practiced at home yet! I took him in and trotted round the fences then began the round. He popped the first fence sweetly and calmly cantered on to 2, we had a nice stride to 2 so I kept him in canter, round to 3 which was a tight turn so we trotted it, round to 4 and 5 which he probably did the nicest as they were 3 strides apart on a straight line down the long side of the arena.

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401082_465654453514406_1257746436_n970435_465655310180987_4410808_n Fence 6 he had a genuine baby stop at, I gave him a quick tap down the neck, turned a  circle and he popped it very sweetly.  6 was a white filler leaning on the ground and sloping away so it sort of looked a little odd, also he isn’t 100% confident yet when things look ‘busy’, and 6 was part A of a 1 stride double. In retrospect I could have given him a tap with the whip and ridden him out of stopping when approaching fence 6, but I didn’t want to unsettle him and instigate a horrid leap into the double and then have him upset and lose confidence to jump out over the 2nd part, so I’m happy to overlook that little stop, and I am very pleased with his attitude because after the stop he just picked up and carried on with no more hesitations, and confidently popped 7 8 and 9 to finish with just 4 faults, and best of all he didn’t touch a pole! I did 2 canter circles round the arena to finish as a reward for him, and gave him lots of praise for being so clever!

It wasn’t the prettiest round as the limited space made it all a little trickier to ride forwards and keep in a positive canter so I just concentrated on trying to get a good straight approach to each fence and giving him lots of rein over the jump and not restricting him at all over the fence in order to encourage him to stretch and use his neck within his jump.



Back to the lorry to wash off and load up, and find some pennies to buy a hotdog and some polos. When we went to look at the results we had scored a 35 (65%) dressage which I was very pleased with, and even better it was the best mark in the class!!! Adding on our 4 show jumping faults meant we finished on 39 and in 4th place, and also got a rosette for best dressage! Without the 4 faults we would have won, so I am pretty darn chuffed with that for his first combined training outing!

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