Victoria Bax's blog: Ready for Crysto's return


Undeterred by the setbacks earlier in the season, our sponsored rider Victoria Bax is well and truly back with a vengeance!

"Whilst enjoying a lovely week long break in Spain with my hubby at the end of August, I received a message from a friend of mine whose lorry had failed its plating test. This in itself wasn't a problem however she was entered into Keysoe on 1st September and typically the lorry re test was on 2nd September! She asked if I would mind taking her to which I agreed as I was free the day after I was due to return home. After speaking to her I had a thought and wondered if I could get a late entry myself into Keysoe. So there I am sitting by the pool in Spain not only thinking about Eventing but actually contacting Keysoe and landing myself a late entry into the BE 100 class with Popps to make the journey more worth while for me!"

"We landed on the Saturday at Southend Airport which is only about 10 minutes from our house, so within an hour and a half I was sitting back on Popps in the arena going through my dressage test for the following day at Keysoe, mad or what, I'll let you decide! Both my friend and I had a great day at Keysoe. My friend earnt her first placing in her class which left her in 7th place which she was absolutely thrilled about as was I as she is a good friend and client of mine who works so hard so I was thrilled that she finally got what she was after."

Popps Goring Heath
"Popps was amazing, she produced the best dressage score she has ever done, a 32 leaving her lying 6th after dressage which in itself was fabulous as she has struggled with the dressage in the past and it was always our weakest phase. She then went onto jump a fabulous double clear round inside the time. So there is me coming through the finish with the biggest grin on my face having not ridden for a week, returning from holiday the afternoon before and finishing in our best place ever, or so I thought! A few seconds later my friend told me I had been eliminated! When I asked why, apparently I had completely missed a fence and probably the most easiest fence on the cross country course; infact I had simply sailed straight past it! Immediately I ran back out onto the course and saw my error. I was absolutely mortified. I realised that the fence after the one I totally missed was a combination and I had thought that was individually numbered, and not an A B fence which is how I still ended up with the right number of fences in my head before setting out on course."

"I am not making excuses but the only thing I can think has happened is that religiously, as I get dressed for cross country in the lorry, I look at the course plan in the programme to check I have walked all the fences etc, however the course plan was NOT included in the programme so I was unable to check, so simply went through the course again in my head as normal. I even got my friend to check on the course plan on the starting box that I had 19 fences in the course which she confirmed."

"So I was totally gutted to say the least. The only saving grace was that we wouldn't have won the class but still would have earnt our best placing to date, finishing 3rd. As far as Popps is concerned she was a goddess but sadly rider error earnt her a big E on her competition record. Well that is something I certainly will NOT do again in a hurry!"

Crysto dressage

"Crysto made his return to competition the following week at our local British Dressage venue, where he certainly returned with a big bang to produce his personal best score of 76.43% to win his class comfortably by 8%. I was totally overwhelmed and thrilled with his performance where he felt completely relaxed and chilled out."

"Next on the agenda was another outing for Popps to Goring BE in Oxford the following week. Again Popps produced a nice dressage test with lots of distractions as the show jumping course was quite literally next to the dressage arenas, so plenty to look at. She produced a 34 and again went on to jump a beautiful double clear round around both a show jump and cross country course which was causing many problems, but thankfully not for us.  Popps was feeling rather full of herself and sadly we were given 3 speeding penalties for being just a tad too fast on the cross country course which knocked us down from 7th to 11th, but still another great result for Popps. I don't mind too much about the speeding penalties to be honest as hopefully when she moves up to Novice next year where the time will be tighter she will have no problem making the optimum time. We were also running in an RoR section which we finished 4th in so we did end up with a rosette anyway!"

Forrest eventing debut
"The following week it was 5 year old Forrest's eventing debut at Burnham Beeches unaffiliated Horse Trials. He performed better than I could have hoped for and certainly smashed Crysto's first eventing debut where he cantered sideways up the centre line in the dressage test white with foam, so I retired! Not Forrest though, he produced a beautiful dressage for a score of 32 and then the best double clear round I have ever ridden, so not only did he perform fantastically, he came home with a lovely rosette for 7th place at his first ever event. I am absolutely thrilled to pieces with him and definitely have high hopes for his future now. He was a little green on the cross country course as to be expected really being that it was his first big event. He needed a little reminder that he could do it at the first cross country fence but after that he stormed round 2 seconds inside the time. His owner Nikki Litman was obviously absolutely over the moon with him considering he failed miserably in his first career as a race horse, but has certainly not failed as an event horse!"

"Crysto was out again the following week at a second British Dressage competition, this time riding in two dressage tests, where again he totally impressed with scores of 72.9% to finish second by only 0.6% and then another whooping 78.66% in his second Elementary test to win by another 8%. What a boy, although I'm not sure people believe me when I tell them he is an ex-racehorse!"T

"These results mean that Crysto has now qualified for the Retraining or Racehorse dressage Championships later this year where he will join Salto in both the Novice and Elementary Championships which I am very excited about as surely with these scores I must stand a good chance of coming home with a rosette! Fingers crossed!"

LMEQ Crysto
"Lastly this month saw Crysto's return to the cross country course. We headed down to Littleton Manor Equestrian Centre in Reigate, Surrey which is an amazing training facility with every discipline catered for. It is a favourite place of mine which I know very well as does Crysto, so I hoped he would feel confident there. Well it certainly did the trick because he came out all guns blazing, jumping as if he had been doing it all season. It is a total relief that he appears to have returned to the cross country course without being phased by our accident earlier this year. He felt confident and safe and was very keen which is the Crysto that I know well. He is now entered for his first event back this weekend down at Tweseldown. He will only be running in the 100 section so that hopefully we make it round and start to rebuild his competition confidence again allowing him to enjoy it, have fun and be easy, as prior to our accident we we storming round Intermediate courses which are two levels higher!"

"Until next time when I hope to be able to report of Crysto's successful return to Eventing and another pleasing pleasing result for Forrest..."