Victoria Bax completes Barbury with a smile!

Victoria Bax has been up and down this month but a fabulous run at Barbury has given her a great boost of confidence. Read more in her latest blog here... 

"I have so much to report this month and you guessed it another extremely busy one! Starting with the announcement of two new additions to my team!  We headed down to Ascot sales and came home with Tilly and Milli. Tilly is a grey 4year old unbacked tb and Milli is a bay 5year old Thoroughbred who has been backed but then turned away for a year.  Both are complete blank canvasses and I am very excited to get them started in their new Eventing career, so will update you in due course about their progress."

"Forrest had a little blip out eventing recently, which actually I think has done him the world of good. We were competing on behalf of my local riding club in the Area Team Horse Trials. We were only in the 90 class so thought it would be a nice easy run having recently stepped up to 100, so off we trekked to Poplar Park in Suffolk. The sun was out so we actually got to use the awning on our new lorry for the first time which was a novelty and very useful actually. Forrest performed a nice dressage but I never did actually find out the score. Having jumped a lovely easy clear round we then set off on the cross country for a fun run. Forrest really did think it was a fun run as he took off at a rate of knots thinking he knew it all. However, sadly for us as Forrest was fighting with his head so much whilst making a turn towards a fence in the woods, he either slipped on the ground or maybe even got his legs tangled up and tripped up causing us both to land on our side on the ground. I rolled out the way and got up pretty quick but Forrest kind of just lay there dazed. He had his head up and all his legs looked to be in the right place so I just gave him a bit of time and after about 30 seconds he scrambled to his feet and stood there looking at me as if to say, "What on earth just happened there?". Obviously I didn't continue but walked back to the lorry, absolutely gutted. This was actually my first fall since my accident last year so I was quite relieved to finally get that out of the way and to walk away from it pain free, a definite confidence boost for me!"

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"So once Forrest was back at the lorry I immediately put the Cyclossage massage rug on him for 30 mins to try to help take away any aches or pains from the fall. Thankfully Forrest seemed absolutely fine and none the worse for wear. I was slightly concerned that it many affect his confidence when next on the cross country course so I decided to take him schooling before his next event. This went completely without hitch and he was keener and bolder than ever! Next up on our agenda was the first highlight of our year, Barbury International, where Crysto and I were planning on contending the CIC2* class. I felt confident as I had prepared well with both dressage and jumping lessons and cross country schooling sessions too, so we loaded up and set off to Wiltshire a mere 150 miles and 4 hours away. My dressage wasn't actually until the Friday however knowing how hot and tense Crysto can be I decided to arrive Wednesday so I had a couple of days to try to settle him before our test.  I worked him twice on Thursday and once on Friday morning before my afternoon test.  He was definitely starting to settle and produced some nice work on Friday morning. Friday afternoon he again warmed up well producing an average test under the conditions, i.e. being in the main arena, with wind blowing the flags surrounding the arena!  It was most definitely the biggest atmosphere both myself and Crysto have worked in, so to actually complete the test without major fault, I was pleased with.  The resulting score was slightly disappointing but at least I was there and doing it.

I will be honest I didn't get that much sleep on Friday night knowing that I had show jumping in the same arena and then the cross course to complete the following day! The following morning, the showjumping was causing lots of problems, in fact I have never seen so many eliminations in a showjumping course before. The arena was set on two levels, so aside from the course being particularly difficult with lines and angles, etc, the last two fence were on the raised level which meant that you had to run up the bank about 10 feet high towards the collecting ring then turn away and jump two big fences which ran alongside the fence line along the arena where all the spectators were standing within touching distance of the fences!  These last two fences were the downfall of many of the competitions sadly."

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"Crysto was totally on edge and jumped a nice round aside from just breathing on the second part of the double causing the rail to fall and then taking out the rail on the second from last fence due to spooking.  I was chuffed to have completed actually knowing the difficulties the course had posed to many of the horse and riders, including some of the top professionals. So onto the cross country course, where Crysto was so wired and excited that he cantered down to the start box sideways!  I was confident yet apprehensive as just minutes before I set off, Zara Phillips set off, only to be eliminated at fence 8. I pushed that aside in my head and off we went.  Crysto gave me probably our best ever cross country round, I mean he was just sensational.  Yes there were difficult lines, angles and turns but Crysto made it feel completely do-able.  I was absolutely thrilled to have completed only our second ever CIC2* cross country course clear with just some time penalties to add.  Crysto and I finished in the top half of a 100 strong section and I certainly slept much better that night!"

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"The following week it was straight back out there with Forrest contending another BE100 class this time at Brightling Park.  This is one of my favourites as it is a good galloping course which really suits my team of thoroughbreds. Forrest produced a lovely dressage test to score 30.5, but then sadly was a little green in the showjumping to end up with 4 rails down.  His jumping technique is improving every time I jump him, but he is still inexperienced when it actually comes to competing so I am hopeful that this phase will improve, especially when he went onto complete his best round of cross country to date.  The course was fair for this level and Forrest just ate it up with no fighting at all the whole way round causing us to finish for the first time at this level inside the optimum time.  Bearing in mind this was his first run following his fall on the cross country course because he was fighting me, I am seriously hoping he has learnt that this way of going is much nicer for both of us!"

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"Until next time where hopefully we will have a good report from the BD Regional Finals at Keysoe..."