End of Season Round Up With Charlotte Jeffes
Wow, what a year 2017 has been…..
This year it was time for Humphrey my 5 year old to start his career and I was so excited to have a jam packed year. I had also been riding a 6yo, Cashmere (Alf) for an owner and had been show jumping him over the winter so it was also his time to try his hand at a bit of eventing.
In February I discovered I was pregnant which suddenly threw a bit of a spanner in the works with regards to the eventing season. I have to say I was a bit gutted as wasn’t sure how it was all going to pan out and thought I might not get any events entered at all.
After doing a bit of research on the internet I decided I was going to risk doing a few events at the beginning of the season. I discovered Mary King competed in the European Championships 5 and ½ months pregnant so there was going to be no stopping me!!!
My first event was Swalcliffe BE90 on Humphrey he was so relaxed for his first ever event and was an absolute superstar pulling out a double clear. We picked up a few time as he was a little green xc and hadn’t quite got the idea of cantering around a cross country course, however by the end I feel he had got the idea.
My next event was Ascott Under Wychwood this time we also entered Alf in his first event. Humphrey was amazing we did another double clear and this time nailed the time finished in 9th position. Alf was very green around the spooky SJ course picking up a shed of time and 4 jumping penalties but went clear XC so an excellent day for the babies.
Our next event was Whitfield which was midweek so I just took Humphrey. Humphrey pulled out yet another double clear but this time he’d got a bit too good at this XC malarkey and we picked up 6 too fast time penalties (sack the jockey) which cost us an 8th place.
Every event I entered I thought would be my last. By this point (just over 4 months pregnant) I was starting to bulge out of my breeches but surely we could fit in one more event. So we decided to enter Moreton Morrell and take 3, Humphrey, Alf and my more experienced horse Jack.
Humphrey did a fab dressage and double clear in the time to win his section!!! Alf also did a good dressage double clear to finish 5th. Jack was in winning position after dressage and jumped clear SJ, I think the pressure got to me going XC though 2 wins in one day was just too good to be true and we had a stupid stop at fence 3 where I completely bodged a stride but a pretty successful day with the babies. Humphrey’s win meant we had qualified for a regional final but it didn’t look like this was going to be possible as baby was due in September and all the regional finals are at the end of the season.
I was suddenly tempted to enter a BE100 as I still felt fine riding and noticed that Pontispool entries were still open so I put in a last minute entry and managed to get in. So we trucked off to Pontispool on the bank holiday weekend. It took almost 4 hours to get there as the traffic didn’t go above 20mph the whole way. We very nearly missed our dressage but fortunately everybody was in the same position so they were being very flexible. I was the only horse warming up for dressage. Very strange. You wouldn’t believe it but Humphrey did another double clear. We picked up rather a lot of time XC as Humphrey was rather hesitant into the second water. He thought water in a wood was very suspicious but other than that he did a confident round around the 100. I was chuffed.
By this point everybody thought I was crazy I was 6 months pregnant but Ascott Under Wychwood entries were still open and it would be so nice to squeeze in just one more BE100 before I stopped eventing. So I went on and entered. The breeches were definitely rather tight around the waist by now so we had to use a plaiting band to make the fastening reach. Humphrey was a super star doing a double clear and nice dressage to finish off our season (or so we thought) in 9th position.
After finishing my last event I continued to ride as I was feeling fine to ride and luckily Humphrey was being very sensible and very much looking after me. I have worked on my dressage this summer as Humphrey was still quite green on the flat and still a bit of a gangly baby. We even managed to get out to a dressage competition at 8 months pregnant in alterative competition wear. I was starting to think that It might be possible to get back out eventing before the end of the season and maybe even get out to my 90 regional final but everyone else thought I was slightly mad. I managed to continue riding past my due date up until the day before I gave birth. I had baby Isabelle on 12th September a healthy 7lb 10oz.
I was determined to get back out riding as soon as possible. Everything was a little sore and I didn’t want to do anything stupid so took one day at a time. By day 7 I was feeling a lot better and my partner matt suggested that I just try sitting on my dressage saddle to see how I felt. I was surprised to find out it felt fine so off we went for a hack the following day, it did feel a little strange. We decided to risk entering Calmsden BE90 and my regional final at Bovington.
Calmsden was one week later and I felt absolutely fine by this point. We fitted in a very early morning XC schooling session in the week before with baby Isabelle so Humphrey was reminded what xc and water were.
Off we went to Calmsden with baby Isabelle in tow. Luckily my mum and dad (Grandma and Grandad) were there to offer grooming and babysitting duties.
Humphrey did an amazing dressage (the summer practice obviously paying off) and a double clear inside the time to finish in 3rd position!! Not bad for two weeks after giving birth.
So we were all ready for our regional final the following weekend. I fitted in a lesson with my trainer the week before to brush up on some bits for my dressage as realised that the regional final would be very competitive.
Humphrey did an absolutely blinding dressage test to score 27.8 I was so pleased with him. We managed to SJ clear, now just for the XC. We managed to go clear but the rider misjudged the time slightly and managed to go to quick. Humphrey was just eating up the ground. By the time I realised I was going to go too fast I was too up on the clock to slow down enough. So we picked up 3.6 too fast penalties. I thought I had blown it as only the top 7 qualified and it looked like I might be just out of it. Luckily I wasn’t the only one that went too fast so we ended up with our 7th place the last qualification spot for the Mitsubishi motors cup at Badminton Horse trials in May. What an incredible end to the season for my superstar 5yo Humphrey. We are all very excited for Eventing 2018 to commence. Now for a winter of training, and brushing up on our Dressage and SJ.