Taurus Footwear supports event rider Jemima Gray who competes her two horses Foxy and Murphy in British Eventing. Taurus provides Jemima functional footwear for riding at home, walking the courses at events and of course, for looking smart at competitions!
In the second part of our blog Jemima updates us on her recent equestrian adventures including her educational experience at the challenging Barbury International and her first event back with Foxy after his injury!
“There were six days between Barbury Castle and Purston, which isn’t very long as normally horses are given two weeks between competitions. However as Murphy is fit and well with lots of natural energy he arrived at Barbury International on top form.
Our dressage was the day before the jumping phases so after Murphy produced a nice test (but still lots to work and improve on) we went down to the cross country start box to walk the course. Barbury Horse Trials is set in the stunning Marlborough Downs, the course is always beautifully presented, using the undulating ground to provide some unusual fences. The course was definitely the biggest and most technical I’d ever done and there were some questions that I was sure Murphy and I hadn’t experienced before.
Barbury also holds a prestigious three star class, attracting top riders from all over the world and giving the event an amazing atmosphere.
Murphy and I posted a respectable 32.5, which was just outside the top ten after the dressage. He then went on to jump a lovely show jumping round, unfortunately just tipping the planks, adding four faults to our score.
As we galloped out of the cross country start box, I let my nerves get to me and I was gutted to have a really stupid stop at fence 3 (a very wide table.) We were on the wrong stride coming into it and I should have kicked on, however I just froze and poor Murph couldn’t do it without some help as we came in very close and he didn’t have any choice but to stop.
After popping it the second time he flew round the tricky parts of the course, including the two waters until we came to fence 14 (a step up bounce to a rail.) It was one of the fences we hadn’t encountered before and looking back on it, I should have ridden it completely differently. Murph jumped up the step far too quickly, I should have brought him back to a slower, bouncier canter to give us time to gather ourselves together for the rail. However his big jump up the step left him no room to jump the rail, lesson learnt and I was much more effective the second time and he pinged round the rest of the course.
We had, what you would describe to be an educational run, I was thrilled with the first two phases and I’m sure – had I been more positive – the cross country wouldn’t have been a problem and we would have finished in 8th place in a section full of professionals.
Moving on from Barbury, I had a distraction in the form of taking Foxy to his first BE event since his injury last April. We were going to Tweseldown to compete in the BE90 class, running HC. (HC means that the combination cannot get placed, due to the horse or rider being over qualified for the class, and the run is just for experience.) I was completely overly excited at the thought of eventing my favourite pony again, but mindful that we would have to check the going and not push him, due to his lack of recent competitions.
Foxy warmed up nicely and posted a Dressage score of 32.5 which was in the top 5, we had the last fence down in the Show Jumping, very unlucky and due to being out of practise! Warming up for Cross Country, Foxy could barely be bothered to jump the practise fences, I was quite worried that he wasn’t fit enough and he wasn’t up to it after all these months of careful rehabilitation.
I needn’t have worried, the complete schoolmaster that he is, as soon as Foxy heard the starter counting down from 10 seconds, he knew exactly what was going on and towed me into the start box (I had absolutely no choice) and shot off like a rocket down to the first fence. I had instructions to take it very slowly and carefully, not hesitating to pull up if there was a problem. I am certain that Foxy understands English, he could have gone round the course without a rider, he was listening for the whistles to tell him when a fence was coming up and being so strong I had to really take a hold before each jump in an attempt to slow him down.
It was the most enjoyable round I’ve ever had, mostly because I was on a pony that knew exactly what his job was and having so much fun doing it. We had no trouble round the course and when we came through the finish flags, I couldn’t believe that I cried!
If we weren’t running HC we would have come 5th (2nd without the pole!) I couldn’t have been happier as we weren’t 100% certain that he would stand up to the rigours of eventing again after his injury, however I’m thrilled to say that Foxy’s back with a vengeance!