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Victoria Bax briefs us on the last event of the season

Find out how the end of the season has gone for Nedz sponsored rider Victoria Bax… 

“An early start for Crysto's debut back Eventing saw us on the road by 6am with both Crysto and Forrest on board, en-route to Tweseldown. I had originally planned to run Crysto at South of England, a track that we both know very well but typically the day I would have run there was the same day that I wanted Forrest to go out to his second event. I made the decision to run all three, Crysto, Popps and Forrest at Tweseldown instead over both Saturday and Sunday. However, a couple of weeks before the event I was informed that there had not been enough entries to warrant them running both days so everyone was being moved to the Saturday. This proved difficult for me as I don't have facilities to transport three horses in my lorry without the worry of being overweight so I made the decision to withdraw Popps.”

“So off we went with a friend Charlotte in tow acting as groom for the day. Forrest was up first. The dressage warm up was very busy and right next to the busy road so it wasn't the quietest of warm ups but I was pleased with how he behaved. Our arena was right in the middle so there was lots going on and lots for Forrest to see. He wasn't quite as settled as on our previous occasion and perhaps a little green during a couple of movements but he still managed to score 37 for his test, which I was pleased with.” 

“A quick change and we were off to the show jumping where he jumped a very keen round around a good course to add no jumping penalties but frustratingly 1 time penalty. This I'm not worried about as I would rather he took his time at the moment and jumped everything properly and cleanly, which he did, rather than having a silly pole down.”

“Another change of clothes and tack and we set off on the cross country course. Forrest felt much more confident this time around as though he knew what he had to do. There were a couple of decent combinations for his level which he we coped with very well indeed, including quite a decent log drop and the two water splashes, the first he has seen on a course which I was thrilled with. We had a great confident round and flew through the finish with just a handful of time penalties so was absolutely thrilled to have managed another placing, being 9th. I am totally chuffed with him, he has taken everything in his stride and produced two good dressage tests, two double clear rounds resulting in two placings at his very first two events; definitely one to the watch for the future I reckon!”

Crysto first event back
“Next up was Crysto's return. He was very very pleased indeed to be back out at an Event after being out of action for 4 months, so sadly he didn't settle as well as he could have done in the dressage, but that didn't matter as he performed a decent test and then onto a very, very easy double clear with no time penalties. He was as bold as brass and didn't look at a thing, which he shouldn't really have done anyway but you just never know what could happen being his first run out cross country since our accident. I know the time is quite difficult to get at Tweseldwon but Crysto didn't have any trouble! I knew I was up there on the scoreboard but was absolutely thrilled to hear over the tannoy that in fact we had won. What an amazing result after the season we have had and the relief I felt having completed was overwhelming. There was a time when I did wonder if he would come back as good as he used to be but I need not have worried, thankfully my boy is BACK!”

“Two placings on two horses in one day, that was definitely my best result to date! The following week I was pleasantly surprised to find a photo of Crysto and myself in Horse and Hound under the dressage round up following our big score of 78.62% in the Elementary test at Norton Heath a couple of weeks earlier, apparently I was the top scorer of the day and on an Exracehorse!” “The following weekend saw another early start for us, but this time heading north for a run with Popps at Little Downham. I managed to get another late entry for her following her withdrawal from Tweseldown the week earlier. This was a real jumpers course both in the show jumping and the cross country so I knew it was definitely going to go in our favour. Popps warmed up very well for her in the dressage and scored a 36, which I was pleased with. She went on to jump a very, very keen clear round in the showjumping round a course which was causing absolutely carnage! So onto the cross country, which was definitely going to need some riding as there were three ditches to tackle, including a full coffin, a trakhener and a ditch and palisade which was rather on the large side, under some trees and with an awkward approach through an avenue of trees.”

Popps Little Downham
“So out the start box we flew and over the first five fences no problem. Then onto the full coffin which spooked her a little and we certainly shot up in the air but over we went. Through the water, over some more combinations and then into that trakhener! I gave her a little reminder with my whip as we approached causing us to fly with no hesitation. At this point I knew we were definitely on for the ditch and palisade, so on the approach, I gave her another smaller reminder and it worked an absolutely treat as I rode so positively up to it she popped it as if it was nothing. So just the run home and the second water to encounter, which we did beautifully and through the finish. I was hopeful that we may get placed as we had jumped double clear and inside the time and I knew both courses were causing problems, so I hung around the score tent only to find we managed our best placing to date, a 5th. I am so pleased with how Popps has improved and grown in confidence over the last few months. I feel there is a definite possibility of Popps moving on up to Novice next year, which I can't wait for. Popps has taken an enormous amount of time, effort and patience but we really do seem to have turned a corner now which leaves me filled with excitement for next season.”

“The following day we were back out in the lorry but this time with Crysto again for some more dressage. He warmed up very calmly and quietly and produced two near perfect tests with scores in excess of 68%, which resulted in him winning both his classes. It wasn't until later that evening that I realised that those two scores meant that we had qualified for the BD Elementary Winter Regionals, whoop whoop!”

“And so onto the last event of the season for us the next week, at Pulborough. Both Popps and Crysto were onboard and we left at 5.30am in the dark! About 45 minutes into the journey we started to smell something like burning plastic. We had to stop for diesel anyway so started to look around to try to find the reason. ventually we realised that the dashboard felt quite warm near to one of the fuse boxes. I opened the fuse box to find that one of the fuses had completely blown and if that wasn't bad enough the fuse itself had started to melt the plastic surround within the fuse box! I pulled what was left of the fuse out to prevent anything further burning and then realised that it was the main headlight fuse, which meant that we no longer had main headlights, just sidelights and it was still rather dark! We made the decision to push on and managed to stay tucked quite closely up behind another lorry for quite a distance on the M25 until it started to become light. Fortunately we made it to Pulborough unscathed and on time.”

Final event of the season
“Popps was up first. She performed another good dressage test for her for a 36 and then onto another double clear inside the time, which saw us pick up 10th place; this girl is on fire, is there no stopping her? Crysto got himself rather excited in the dressage test and couldn't help but think that every time we changed the rein it must mean he could do his party trick of medium trot! However only being a BE100 test sadly there was none of that in it. Still he managed a good score of 29. Moving onto the showjumping, which we had to hang around for as they were running a little late. That added to the fact that the ground was getting pretty boggy after all the rain, Crysto just never really switched on completely and thought he knew best when we got in the arena. It was an incredibly hair raising round, we were very lucky to only have the one rail as he was jumping like a stag with his head up on the air and not really concentrating at all. A very frustrating round considering we had had a jumping lesson at home just 4 days earlier where he jumped beautifully. I just think that there was nothing really there to test him being the level that it was, so I was not too worried really, more happy that he was so keen to get round! Crysto made the cross country course feel like an 80cm course, he was foot perfect, bold, brave and completed with great ease inside the time, resulting in another placing for him being 6th. Sadly the one pole had cost us 4 places otherwise we would have finished 2nd, still you can't win them all!”

ROR warm ups
“Lastly this month, I was in full swing training for the Retraining of Racehorse Dressage Championships early in November. As part of my preparation, one of my local BD venues was hosting the Novice test which we would be doing so I thought I would take both Salto and Crysto for a practise run. Salto had not been out since the Summer Regional Finals were he performed very well and he certainly didn't disappoint this time, scoring 70.03%. This was the first time Salto and Crysto were going head to head against each other, so bets were on as to who would do better. I always knew Crysto would, being the more experienced and older but Salto gave him a good run for the money! Crysto came out later on and performed a foot perfect test scoring 74.62%. I was chuffed to have produced two tests both scoring 70% + and on two Exracehorse too! Now that can't be just coincidences can it?”

“So until next time with fingers crossed I have some more great results to share with my amazing team of Exracehorses...”