Nicola Shepherd March Update

Nicola has had a busy start to the eventing season, here is an update from her:

“My first 2 runs of the season have gone really well. Our first run was at Aston Le Walls in an Intro; a little wake up for Billy and a re-cap to see if he can remember his job! As we pulled through our gates at 07:30 loaded up and ready for the off mum gave me a worrying look; it appeared that we had an hydraulic oil leak and no steering – not a good start!! With a mad dash of kit, the husbands’ truck and sisters’ trailer later we dragged Billy from a nice warm lorry to a trailer; Billy having never been in a trailer before just popped in, what a star! Half and hour later we were on our way. We left behind blue skies and were greeted by black clouds, gale force winds and hale stones which continued all day! A very bad idea to wear white boots to warm up in as they are now tinged brown, even after several bleachings! However, Billy was a star – performing a 28 dressage, which placed us 2nd, clear SJ and a lovely clear XC. Dodging the mud we picked up a couple of time-faults, partly because the rain stopped me from even seeing the fences, to finish a well deserved 5th!

Our 2nd outing was at Howick in the BE100, Billy who has been feeling rather fit lately got a slight fright as we were grazing when the loudspeaker went off when a gentleman decided to shout testing into his speaker phone, and scare everyone in the lorry park, as well as a very freaked out Billy! Dressage warm-up did not go to plan, partly because a lady got humped off just as we were about to go in. I managed to re-settle Billy and approach the judge. Going up the centre line Billy decided at that point to remember he was a baby, he decided to go wobbly, loose any balance we had and fall around every corner, oh the joys of being spoilt with surfaces and now coping with grass! We scored a 34 which put us about middle. SJ went well with a lovely clear! We headed out to the XC with the plan of going in our stride, we headed out of the start box and Billy felt like a complete pro. He stormed round taking all the direct routes and flying in inside the time to place us 12th, top 10 would have been better but I am pleased with a double clear. More flatwork on grass needed!!

As well as my regular dressage instructor, Glynis Hemming, I have started jump training with Captain Richard Waygood. Richard is the Chef D’Equipe for the GBR senior teams plus the Euro 2** team, and he has completed many 4* himself and is widely respected. Richard is lovely, he really likes Billy saying that he is mature for his age, oozes quality and is in incredible condition all down to Blue Chip! I am very positive about training with Richard; I react well to his teaching styles and feel he will be able to provide competition planning and support if I needed it.

My event plan up to June is as follows, after June if all is going well I will have qualified for an Intermediate run, then the plan will be hopefully Hartpury CIC*

April 21st Solihull BE100
May 3rd Moreton Morrell BE100
May 11th Aston le Walls Novice
May 19th Mount Ballan Novice
June 9th Great Tew Novice
June 24th Salperton Novice
June 29th Barbury Novice”

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