Sponsored rider Isobel Long has been in touch to tell us how her start to the season is off to a flying start and her hopes for the rest of the year in her latest blog…

The winter season has come to an end but the summer has only just begun…

Henrik and I attended a Pony Club indoor SJ competition at the SE of England show ground back in January, we had a very rainy but successful day. The course had multiple spooky fillers but Henrik wasn’t fazed by any them which resulted in us doing a lovely clear round and coming team 3rd. Next we attended an indoor X country clinic at Sands Farm, it was great to get out and about over different types of fences. Henrik was very well behaved and was flying when we went clear around the 90cm and 1m courses.

As well as competing, we have had various flat and jump lessons with my BHS qualified instructor. In the flat work we have been working on getting Henrik to be more forward which benefits many aspects, but as well as that I have had to work on my position to allow Henrik to work into an even and correct contact.  Our improvement in flat work at home has been shown whilst we are competing at both dressage and jumping competitions due to how Henrik’s muscles have built up and our partnership has grown. In our jumping lessons we have mainly been working on getting me to identify when Henrik is hesitating and how to react quicker, which allows me to give Henrik confidence if he is unsure.  We have been doing a variety of different exercises from grids to angled jumps to get us both thinking quickly and not hesitating.

We have also been out and about at multiple local events where we have always looked our best in our Blue Chip Feed gear and have been starting to try out some jump off turns. Henrik and I have been growing as a team and working hard to achieve our aims. Our hard work really paid off when we went clear in all three of the classes we competed in, including the Dengie 2nd rounds, and was just outside of the placings. We have also competed in Riding Club, Pony Club and NSEA competitions throughout the winter which has allowed us to compete at a variety of venues.

Our proudest achievements so far occurred at the KBIS BRC Novice Winter Championships which took place at Keysoe. We were lucky enough to have qualified to compete in the Show Jumping and Dressage teams representing Bookham Riding Club. Henrik and I travelled to Keysoe the day

Lots of rosettes for Isobel and Henrik!

before and stayed overnight which was really fun. We had an early start but the atmosphere was buzzing as we headed to the stables to give him breakfast. I had plaited the night before and to my delight Henrik hadn’t destroyed them and all that was left to do was to roll them up. Our first event was Show Jumping and the course was proving to be spooky which resulted in multiple eliminations and refusals. Henrik was spooky when he first entered the arena but focused as we approached the first jump, he flew round with only 4 faults (at the last fence!) but I really felt the benefit of our previous lessons at home. The rest of my team also jumped well but with another round still to go, it was all to play for. In between rounds Henrik and I had our dressage, we did Prelim 2. Henrik was a little tense due to the atmosphere as we entered the arena but he soon relaxed when we began our test. I remembered the test and Henrik didn’t put a foot wrong, he remained balanced and listening throughout which lead to us achieving 65.69%. Then we had our second round of jumping, the course had changed and the jumps got higher. Henrik did a lovely clear round and wasn’t fazed by any of the fillers. We then had to wait for the results, in the show jumping our team finished in 6th place out of 21 teams, in the dressage our team finished in 4th place (very close to 3rd) which was also out of 21 teams and finally we came 10th individually in the dressage. I had never won a rosette at a BRC championships before so I was so proud of Henrik and our teams. Henrik has improved so much since he has been powered by Blue Chip Original and Joint RLF and we have many events planned throughout the Easter holidays and beyond, Happy Easter to everyone. It was an amazing way to end the winter season but the summer has only just begun.