Sun and smiles all round

By all accounts the regional training day in Gordon’s Bay was a huge success. What has to be one of the most scenic venues in the country was bathed in glorious sunshine for the whole day. Staying socially distanced was no problem as everyone spread out around the green fields and sunny arenas to enjoy their coaching sessions. Coaches Mark Robinson, Sonya McAleer and Mandi King put everyone through their paces and sent riders away with smiles on their faces and valuable training tips embedded in their minds.

While most of the club were benefiting from the excellent coaching at the training day, Cliff, Suzanne and Rachel traveled south to take their chances at the Border Counties Riding Club one-day-event at Cloncaw. The ground conditions were superb and the host club ran a very tight ship, ensuring everyone could be confident of safety in these challenging times. Rachel experienced one of those oh-sh1t moments when discovering she had learnt the wrong dressage test! Fortunately Cliff was able to provide a copy of the correct test and with eight minutes to spare Rachel did some rapid cramming and was able to provide what the judge described as ‘a very accurately ridden test’ (shame about the tense horse!!) With Rachel and Cliff finishing dressage on scores that should encourage a bit more time spent on schooling at home, Suzanne and her novice mount Dubai Flyer rode a test that was a personal best for them and bodes well for their future. Show-jumping followed and all horses jumped very well over a deceptively technical course with related distances on bending lines catching out quite a few riders. A sat-nav error left Cliff with a few faults to add to his dressage score but once himself and Irish Shadow hit the xc course they were unstoppable and in Cliff’s own words ‘Shadow crushed the xc’, leaving Cliff in the ribbons in what was a very competitive class. Rachel and Merlin got around with just one stop, showing significant improvement on their previous xc experience at Cloncaw, and inspiring enough confidence in Rachel to justify an entry in the National championships at the end of the month. However the stars of the day were without doubt Suzanne and Dubai Flyer who took to competitive xc like ducks to water (albeit rather high speed ducks) and winged their way around the challenging course without hesitation. Roll on Flowerhill. The photos definitely paint the picture for this pair.