Science Supplements All England Tour Week 2
Between the two shows at Hickstead we welcomed the very beautiful Imogen Isla McCafferty into the world on Saturday. Anna & Tom's second child and a big sister for Rory, and a very special birthday present for Anna. She is absolutely sweet and very beautiful, and Mark and I spent a lovely afternoon with them all on Wednesday.
Tuesday afternoon saw me back at Hickstead with Askeaton and Khalissy for the second week of the September Tour. On Wednesday morning I jumped them both in the 1.20 in ring 4. Askeaton jumped a really lovely round for a rub in the jump-off which I never even noticed, and Khalissy just made one mistake, but jumped confidently and well.
On Thursday morning Askeaton stepped back up to 1.30 in the speed qualifier, a perfect place to start with a lovely course. She jumped a great clear for just one time penalty, but felt truly back on her game. Khalissy jumped another 1.20 in ring 4.
On Friday we had a very early start with Askeaton in the 1.30. She actually jumped a super round with one mistake from me going into the combination, but once again felt as good as she has at any time this year. Khalissy followed up with a really super round in the 1.20, she had one pole in the jump-off when she got a little bit quick, but she felt fantastic round a decent course. She has now had her shoes off and will go out with a friend tomorrow for a proper break. They are going up to a lovely field on Ashdown Forest so that she is not constantly wondering when I'm going to get her in and she can unwind properly.
I had a very enjoyable Sunday morning watching Hurricane Heidi fly round the Novice Championships at Hickstead, and also was delighted that both Izzy Jeffrey with Brandy, and Kirsty Ray with Norman flew round the arena eventing, and that Elena Watson and Pakkse jumped double clear in the 1.20. Great achievements from them all. I then found that Askeaton had actually qualified for the 1.30 championship, so we traveled back to Hickstead on Sunday afternoon. She warmed up beautifully, but jumped very greenly in the ring, and we completely failed to negotiate the combination where I fell off! 2021 definitely hasn't been my greatest year in the main ring at Hickstead, but in both cases has been a sign that a bit of regrouping and more training and better discipline from the rider is needed. So whilst Sunday afternoon wasn't my proudest moment, it's booted me into doing something about it.
Askeaton has had a bit of a strange two years: she had a fantastic six year old year and then bruised her pedal bone in the winter; she then jumped two Newcomers before lockdown in 2020; she came back with a bang and jumped very well in 7 year old classes in the summer of 2020, and set off really well again after lockdown 2 with great performances at Chard and Wellington before suffering a slight injury in June. Since she's been back in work she has been going very well, and placing regularly in 1.20 classes, but I think I need to ride her much better if we are to keep progressing, so it's back to the drawing board again, and more head-scratching for poor Trevor. We'll do a few more shows until October and she can then have a well deserved rest.