It’s hard to believe that I’m already talking about the 2017 show jumping season in the past tense; this year has literally flown by! In saying that, a lot has happened with my horses and it has certainly been a busy year.
The season started off down at the beautiful Yalambi grounds in Margaret River, where I had a great few rounds (including a win in the super-phase class) on ESB Irish Leprechaun, and took 4yo Kentaur Pyro for his first ever show. It was a pretty big atmosphere for a young horse, but he took it all in his stride, handling the travel and the spooky arena remarkably well for a first-timer.
Following this was a run of Swan River jump clubs, WASJA shows and Southside shows. My focus at the beginning of the season was to get Kentaur Valencia, the mare I am lucky enough to have the ride on (and who is the dam of Kentaur Pyro!) confidently stepping up to the 1.20m+ level. Despite now being eight years old, 2016 was her first show jumping season, so she is still fairly green. She managed to pick up some good placings, confidence, and experience though, showing that she has a lot of potential as a competitive show jumping horse.
Mid-season saw me part with my long-time partner, ESB Irish Leprechaun. I had owned Leppy for over 6 years, purchasing him as a newly broken 5-year-old and competing in both eventing and show jumping throughout that time. I was sad to see him go, but also very happy and loved with his new rider.
Mid-year also saw the Young Show Jumping Horse competition run by Swan River Show Jumping club. This is always a great event, and I was excited to be competing for the first time (Pyro was in the 4yo age class). Held indoors, it can be quite an intimidating experience for the youngsters just starting out. The first round saw Pyro slightly rattled by the crowd and shadows in the arena, but he jumped a beautiful second round to finish 5th in a strong class.
The second half of the year saw some of the bigger championship shows, including WASJA Winter Championships, Swan River Annual Championships, the Perth Royal Show, Patrons Cup and the WA State Jumping Championships. I was slightly nervous about stepping Kentaur Valencia up to her first 1.30m at Swan River (being a very technical Mini Prix class), however she finished the round confidently, getting better and better as the round went on.
The Perth Royal was definitely a highlight for me, with Kentaur Valencia jumping her socks off on each day to place 2nd and 4th in her Part 3 classes. Being a Royal show newbie, she handled the atmosphere of the show extremely well… Other than a slight mishap during the fireworks on the last night! Unfortunately, this meant that she was out for the rest of the season; whilst it was only a minor injury, her owner Lucy Galovicova and myself decided to play it safe and save her for next year.
So this meant that I was down to one horse, the ‘baby’ Kentaur Pyro, for the Patrons Cup show and State Jumping Championships! Whilst I was disappointed not to be competing in some of the bigger classes, it was great to be able to focus purely on him and get even more excited about his future. He jumped all clear rounds in his classes at both shows, with the highlights being placing 4th in the 1.0m Grand Prix and 3rd in the Top Score (clearing a 1.25m joker fence!) at the State Championships.
All in all, it has been a fun and fulfilling season, with both horses progressing better than I could have hoped. Excitingly, I have just started riding my rising 3-year-old, Kentaur Chandon (by Concorde Ego Z), who I will work on over summer to hopefully start bringing out in late 2018.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Thompson and Redwood for their generous sponsorship of myself and small team of horses. They are all fed the T&R Claytons pellets and look a million dollars! Pyro also has the Dodson and Horrell ‘Itch Free’ herbal formula during summer (he tends to break out in allergic lumps otherwise) and Kentaur Valencia is fed the Dodson and Horrell ‘Placid’ herbal blend (this helps keep her calm and focused, particularly in her training at home). These herbs are a great natural product and it’s exciting that T&R are partnering with Dodson and Horrell to bring them to Australia!