Victoria Bax – a season round-up

The 2021 event season sure had its up’s and down’s for me, as I’m sure it had for every rider!

I started the season with just Alberta’s Pride but after one opening event at BE100 Open level he threw a splint and so had a quiet month or so.  Due to this delay, I decided to have a second run around a BE100 Open level before stepping him back up to Novice.

This also meant that he didn’t get to contend his first International of the year in May.  However, by June we had stepped back up to BE Novice comfortably.

From here we spent the rest of the 21 season with our results getting better and better with a number of top ten placings.  To top off the season we finished our final event of the season in fine form jointly leading the dressage phase and jumping double clear and 10 seconds inside the time around the cross country.  However, sadly for us the person we were jointly leading with managed to do the same but finished their cross country round just 3 seconds inside the time meaning they were closer to the Optimum time allowed resulting in them taking the win.

In my eyes we were joint winners, however in reality we took the 2nd position.  This did mean though that we managed to secure our very first Novice Regional Final Qualification for the 2022 season, so I was absolutely over the moon.  Gatcombe we are coming to get you!

On top of this Alberta’s Pride made progress in his British Dressage career too.  Earlier in the year he qualified for the Winter Regional Finals at Medium level.  This was another successful outing as on the day we managed to secure another podium position of 3rd narrowly missing out of qualifying for the Championships; although I’m not sure even if we had have qualified if we’d have gone, after all he is a full thoroughbred event horse, not a flashy dressage horse!  Still we managed to stand our own so I was very proud of him that day.

Following this I decided it was about time he moved up another level to contend some Advanced Medium classes.  He certainly didn’t disappoint again as he performed beautifully and secured wins at this level too.   Within a handful of outings we have now qualified again for the Winter Regional Finals but this time at Advanced Medium level; what an achievement for a full thoroughbred event horse.

Some of you may know my other horse Alberta’s Rose has been out of action since 2019 due to various medical reasons.

However, I have been steadily working with her to try to regain her confidence and strength to enable her to return to her main job of Eventing that she used to do so well too.

Earlier in the year she was competing at British Dressage Medium level and again working very well indeed, winning classes and earning her Regional Final Qualifications too.  Sadly she didn’t actually make it to her final as a couple of weeks before she came in unsound from the field so had a bit of down time which meant that she wasn’t ready to compete.

Once she was back up and running again, we went straight back out and has again qualified for the British Dressage Winter Regional finals at Medium level.  I’m keeping all fingers and toes crossed that she will be fit to compete in them early this year too.

Alongside her dressage training, I have been working very hard on the jumping side of things.  Before she went lame earlier this year she was feeling ready to return to Eventing but due to the lameness I had to wait a few more months longer.

Finally in September last season she made her return to Eventing after a two year period.  It wasn’t easy or straight forward for the early runs.  I certainly had to do a lot of hard riding to make it happen, but in doing so every time out I could feel the confidence and love for the sport returning again.

She started by running around a couple of BE90 Opens successfully resulting in a number of top ten placings, so we moved up to BE100 Opens and finished the season jumping double clear with a further top ten placing and feeling very ready to push on back up to Novice.  

So with another winter of training under our belt I am feeling confident that she will return to BE Novice level in this event season.

Alberta’s Rose also joined in with a couple of Riding Club Team events to make up the numbers for my local club in November, resulting in both the team she was on qualifying for both the Area 8 Riding Club Arena Eventing Championships and the winter Showjumping Championships, so early next year will see a busy start for her, all things being well.

It’s also been lovely to see my old Intermediate boy Crystal Ka, now 19 years old, returning to low level dressage with a young rider to win both of his classes with very convincing scores  after 4 years out of competition; is there no end to that boy’s talent!

I’m very much looking forward to this new season.