Buying two horses unseen was a risk, but the results are absolutely wonderful, and the season has started well, says Toots Bartlett.
April has been a very exciting month here at Toots Bartlett Eventing, with lots of eventing and a few new members joining the team.
The lovely Extasy SR Z (Gatsby) has been out twice this season, returning from a year off. He started with a 24 dressage and clear show jumping but withdrew cross country as it was only unaffiliated and we felt he wouldn’t have gained any education from the course.
He then went on to do a lovely double clear at Portman BE100, with a few time penalties cross country for a finishing place of 9th. He will now step back up to BE Novice level. Portman also marked the first event for
my fantastic groom, Joel Hart and his horse The Rag Lad, also competing in the BE100 section, just adding four faults from the show jumping to his dressage score of 34.
Cor Y Taran’s debut
My very exciting young horse Cor Y Taran (I introduced him last month – he’s the horse I bought unseen off Facebook) had his eventing debut with me. Throwing him into the deep end at one unaffiliated 100 at Aston-Le-Walls and then a BE100 at Bicton. He passed all my expectations with double clear at both! I am feeling just a little pleased with myself to have found this special boy.
Freestyle R was the last horse to have been out competing in April. He had two great runs at
Intermediate level, and is feeling absolutely amazing. We took on our first Advanced as a combination on the 1st May, before turning our attention to Houghton for the CCI3*L.
A very special FedEx parcel
Finally, whilst pretty much every weekend has been full of eventing throughout April, we have also had the arrival of two very special horses.
My 4* horse C Why came back to me from Ivy Lodge Rehab Centre in Glos, where they have done a fabulous job and have given him the chance to return to his former glory!! It’s fantastic to have him home and I am excited about bringing him back to fitness.
On April the 21st a very special FedEx parcel arrived from the other side of the world. Back in March whilst on the search for a new horse we found an incredible ‘Black Beauty’ that my family and I fell in love with. The
only small problem was that he was in New Zealand!
We had no opportunity to be able to go try him because of Covid restrictions, so there were long conversations with my trainers and a lot of research before we decided to take an enormous risk and a deal was done! A long wait till the earliest plane from New Zealand to England, and a 38 hour plane journey for him, but Equador has finally safely arrived.
I have had many sleepless nights wondering if we made the right decision, but he is here, safe, sound and more beautiful than I can ever had imagined.
I can’t wait to start getting to know him and am so grateful, appreciative and still in a little bit of shock to have been giving this once in a lifetime opportunity.
Apparently it will take him six months to adjust to our British weather (my heart goes out to Equador on that one – Ed), so I will thoroughly enjoy sharing our journey with you. It has also been a very special month watching all the preparation for William Fox- Pitt’s two horses getting ready for Badminton. It has been
wonderfully insightful, and has made me even more determined to follow in his footsteps. He is a legend and what a privileged young rider I am to have access to all his expertise and knowledge.
Anyway such an exciting month, time to take a breath, catch up on a tiny bit more sleep and get ready to go and attack May!
Three Day Eventing 101
Eventing is best described as an equestrian triathlon. Each horse and rider pair must complete three tests: dressage, cross-country and show jumping. The horse and rider pair with the fewest penalty points after all
three tests is the winner. The tests developed from training horses used in military combat; war horses were required to be fit, agile, obedient and brave. As their usefulness in combat diminished, these highly trained
horses became repurposed for competitions between nations during peaceful times, which became known as Horse Trials, and the sport known as Eventing.
How it works
Horse trials have varying degrees of difficulty, ranging from Beginner Novice through to Advanced in nationally recognized events, and CCI1* through CCI5* in internationally recognised competitions.
A simple guide to all levels can be seen here.
The three disciplines
Dressage – The first phase of a Horse Trial is always dressage, a series of suppling and strengthening exercises performed in a flat, enclosed arena.
Show jumping – The second phase in Eventing. Agility and precision at speed are the critical requirements of Stadium Jumping. A ‘clear’ round means no penalties.
Cross-country – The final phase tests the speed, endurance, boldness and jumping ability of the horse over varied terrain and solid obstacles; large fences, water, banks, ditches and drops. Cross-Country is ridden at a gallop with speed requirements dependent upon the level of difficulty of the division.
by Toots Bartlett