What a tumultuous time year it seems to have been for me personally with family illnesses, the sale of my much loved competition horse Elite Waldo Pepper and the untimely death through colic of the beautiful Elite Dancing with the Stars taking a big toll on me emotionally and in some respects physically. In between I have tried to keep the ball rolling forward training on with my three competition horses Northern Fortuous (Forty), Elite Rouge Homme(Redman) and Elite Destiny(Deedee). I have managed to compete at some dressage competitions, mainly larger events, to keep my motivation and have enjoyed some success. I have also continued to coach and judge as part of my commitment to putting back in to the sport I love.
It is not a bad thing to do a retrospective of the year as it is all too easy to focus on the negatives and overlook the many positives. So here it is in bullet point form:
- December -a 3 day clinic which I hosted/organized with Matthew Dowsley with both Forty and Redman showing improvement. Unfortunately just after this Redman became seriously ill with a mystery virus affecting his muscles. This coincided with some extremely hot weather experienced on the Darling Downs and it was a very worrying time as blood tests were inconclusive. Thankfully he has now recovered but it took several months of intensive care before he was fully fit.
- January - Our beautiful mare Elite Fiorella (Fishermans Friend/Breakfast Creek xx) is in foal to Rotspon. After having a breeding season off (no foals) it will be nice to have one on the ground, with luck, at the end of this year.
- February – I attended the Queensland Dressage Judges Forum with US trainer Anne Gribbons as guest speaker. A very knowledgeable lady. I was also fortunate to have 3 days of lessons with my long term German trainer Leonie Brammall. Always hard work but motivating. Later in the month I had 3 days of lessons with UK trainer Peter Storr. This is the 3rd time I have attended clinics with Peter and I always come away feeling good about my riding and my horse and gain some training ideas.
Elite Destiny made her competition debut at the Toowoomba Young Horse Championships gaining 2nd place in both 5yr old classes and taking out reserve champion.
- March – on the 8th I made my Queensland competition debut on Forty at Prix St Georges and Intermediare 1 gaining good scores over 60%. I felt sufficiently encouraged by some good marks and nice comments from the judges to enter for the Sydney CDI.
- April – on the 6th I took Elite Destiny to the PRARG Young Horse event where she won the 5yr old class making her the 5yr old champion and placed 2nd in the unofficial novice class with a super score of 69%. I was super happy with her. I also rode her at a judges clinic in Toowoomba later that month as a demonstration rider and she was so well behaved. On the 19th Forty and I again competed at small tour level. Whilst I gained percentages over 60% I was somewhat disappointed with the tests and felt I had not ridden at my best.
- Forty and I with the able support of my husband Peter and groom/long term student Anna MacMillan made the trip to the Sydney CDI. I love this event. It is always a pleasure to be there and this was my first time competing at small tour level down there. I loved it. The Prix St Georges on the outdoor arena was so much fun. Whilst there were mistakes in a few small things I felt so good about being there. However my ride in the Intermediare 1 in the indoor was not quite as happy. I rarely get nervous but I did that day. We were still not disgraced even though I felt I let my horse down. I was happy to be there amongst the best horses and riders in the country. No sooner home from Sydney and I was out judging at the Queensland Interschool State Championships at Dalby. A huge roll up of young riders in perfect weather. Then up to Caboolture for a 3 day coaches clinic at which I upgraded to NCAS coach educator status. Then back up to Caboolture 2 days later for a judges clinic at medium level so that I could maintain my NOAS medium level judges accreditation. One week later we had the Toowoomba Dressage Championships over 2 days of perfect weather. This was the first competition for Elite Rouge Homme since his major illness and he did 2 medium tests. The first in the indoor was a struggle with a lot of tension and was marked accordingly to a score of 61.4% placing 16th out of 25 horses. But his 2nd test of the day on the outdoor arena was the ride we all pray for. Mistake free and harmonious. He placed 6th out of 22 horses with a super score of 68%. Elite Destiny also put in some sterling performances marred by a few minor mistakes – she was having difficulty handling the very uneven footing in her rings. However she still managed to place top 10 in 3 out of her 4 tests her best performances being a 7th in the preliminary 1.1 with 67.27% and an 8th in the massive novice field of 32 horses with 67.4%.
- The PRARG 2star event on the 1st of June is always big with strong entries. Redman and I rode in the mediums and managed an excellent result in the first test placing 5th out of 22 horses with 64.5%. Not as good in his 2nd test of the day but still a respectable 62%.