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Victoria Bax goes from the gallops to Gatcombe!

Victoria Bax has experienced things from all angles this month! From the fence of the Newmarket gallops to her own competitions to Little Downham and Stratford Hills. We caught up with her to hear all about the contrasts in life as a spectator and rider!

"First up this month was my birthday so for the first time ever I think I chose not to go out competing but kept my feet firmly on the ground instead and enjoyed a great day out with my hubby. We did have an early start as we nipped up to Newmarket gallops to watch the morning race training. My hubby is a very keen photographer and has managed to land himself a jockey club license which means he has permission to photograph on the private gallops. Through this he has also managed to get himself acquainted with Lady Cecil and her trainer George, so he had arranged for us to pop over to their yard for a meeting and look around too which was a lovely experience. After that we headed further up into Norfolk and spent the rest of the day watching the CIC 2 & 3* Xc rounds. What a beautiful place Houghton Hall is, in fact it's definitely a date on my calendar for next year now!"

"The following weekend we were back to competing again as I had all 4 of my rides entered at Little Downham, thankfully not all on the same day though! Crysto and Rock Step were on Friday in the Intermediate and Novice. Crysto produced a lovely dressage test for a score of 29, then show jumped very well leaving me thinking we had achieved a clear round only to realise as I left the ring we had actually had 2 fences down. All I can say is Crysto must truly just haved breathed on them as I was sure we were clear!"

"Onto the Xc and I am very pleased to say that we thoroughly enjoyed another easy confident run with a few more time penalties than I had hoped for after taking a wrong turning on coming out of the woods right at the end of the course, although I later found out I wasn't the only one to have done that! After waiting all day long as classes were running extremely late, Rock Step felt a little fed up and although produced our best dressage test score yet of 29, he didn't warm up for show jumping very confidently and then encountered a "moment" in the ring which saw us landing awkwardly on a fence. We pulled it back together to finish the rest of the course though.
Xc didn't get any better after leaving the start box, things just didn't go our way and we ended up retiring at fence 6 after a light parting of company, but luckily I managed to land on my feet so no damage done but it was a long drive home!"

V Bax June Little Downham

"We returned agin on the Sunday, this time with Icy Mission's debut event of the year and Forrest. Icy Mission is the horse I took the ride on late last year on behalf of his owner. We had a good 3 runs being placed in the top 10 at every event and managing 2 double clears which cost the owner a bottle of champagne! Over the winter his ownership has changed hands but I have been asked by the new owners to continue the ride as she purely competes him in dressage but likes the idea of him still eventing. Of course I jumped at the chance and very pleased I did as for our first event of the year it couldn't have gone much better; a 33 dressage and a double clear inside the time earning us yet another top ten placing for 7th; not bad considering I ride him just once a week if that!"

"Forrest was up next and he produced a nice dressage test for a score of 33. He warmed up nicely for the showjumping but frustratingly we came away with 8 faults again. This phase is definitely work in progress for him! Still onto a super doper easy, confident and fast clear round Xc to finish the weekend. That boy really does try his little heart out for me."

"The following weekend there was no eventing for us but a quiet dressage outing for Crysto and Forrest at a Riding Club Area team competition. Crysto produced a lovely dressage test in the Elementary and finished 5th with a score of 67% and Forrest managed a whooping 78% in the Riding test for 4th. Back to it again the week after as Crysto was entered in the Novice Regional Final class at Stratford Hills following our win at Keysoe last month. Rock Step came to and contended the Novice class. Rock Step produced a 33 dressage then warmed up and show jumped a hundred times better than the last event, sadly just tipping one pole though, followed by a clear Xc albeit rather slow for a couple of reasons really."

V Bax June blog

"I encountered my first stopping on the Xc course at fence 7 due to a faller further on the course. I was held for only a short time but long enough for Rock Step to refill his lungs and take off again! He was rather keen and very strong to say the least and because of this I had to take a few different lines to combinations than I had planned to in order to make sure we stayed clear and didn't encounter a run out. About half way round the course was a combination of 3 skinny fences which were pretty much postioned on a 20m circle which I found incredibly difficult to steer him round but we did and were still clear!"

"Further on was a decent sized palisade fence with a 90 degree right turn after it to a full on rail, ditch, rail combination which again caused steering and overshooting problems, but we remained clear. These slight diversions obviously added time penalties to our score but we completed none the less which is more than we did two weeks previous so both myself and his owner we pleased. He will have a break now as his owner is due to have her baby in 3 weeks time so needless to say she has to slow down a lot in her riding as I only ride him once a week, she does the rest! She has asked me to pick him back up again in a month or so time when she is able to, which of course I was very happy to do."

"So onto Crysto's last chance to qualify for the British Novice Championships this year as he is now firmly out of Novice points, so it was Game On to finish in the top 25% of the section.
I was second to go in the section, following in Brook Staples on a lovely grey, but I had no need to worry as although a little more lit up than usual as the warm up area had become increasingly busy in the last 5 minutes prior to my test, Crysto managed a score of 30.7. A little disappointed as I figured I probably needed a score in the 20's to be really in with the chance, although I was about 5th after the dressage so not all bad. We warmed up well for the showjumping and jumped a nice clear round only dampened by the commentator advising that we had picked up 2 time penalties, ahhhhhh! Of course I really thought that had put us further out of the running but still made me even more determined to jump a clear Xc round inside the time so my watch was firmly in place on my wrist!"

"I was very happy with the Xc course as it was Novice level and Crysto is well established at Intermediate level now So I didn't expect an issue anywhere but you never know!
The ground was another small concern following he dry spell we have encountered recently, but I was very pleased with the effort which had been made to give the best possible footing so I was happy to run. As I had hoped Crysto cruised around very easily indeed to produced a super clear, 3 seconds inside the time. There was nothing else I could do now but to check the score board and hope the time had been difficult for others to make. Luck was definitely on our side as a little later on the provisional results were called out over the tannoy, putting us in 2nd place just behind Piggy French!"

"This was later confirmed, we had done it, Crysto and I were off to Gatcombe for the Championships, thrilled is an understatement! A quick call was made to my trainer Lucy Thompson who also was absolutely over the moon for us and is very much looking forward to joining us up at Gatcombe to help and support us. Wow what a month! Next month sees us contending the CIC2* at Barbury International, my favourite event of the year, so until next time..."