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December Blog from Spencer Roe

In my last post I told you I was heading out Oliva Nova (in Spain) for their Autumn Tour, it normally takes us three days to get there from our yard in Lincoln. We started at 3am on the first leg of the trip, our first stop being Reims, then on to Nîmes, finally arriving in Oliva Nova on Saturday…

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Week 1…

Our first week in Spain started slowly, Wonder Why (Disney) and Chaccomo Agostini (Chacco) both jumped clear in the 1.40m and 1.30m classes, jumping well but not being placed. Then at the weekend I jumped them in the two 1.45m ranking classes; Chacco finished on 8 faults which I was pleased with as he was jumping well and Disney just had one unlucky fence down. I also took two of my five-year-olds, Gusto (Gus) and Gambler B (King) – they both jumped in the five-year-old classes each jumping clear two out of three days. I was pleased with how they both went as neither has been to many international shows yet.

Week 2…

Feeling good about how he was performing, I decided to jump Disney in the Grand Prix that coming Sunday, so all he had to do was qualify in Friday’s ranking class, one clear round and a 14th place later and we were in. Unfortunately things weren’t going so well for Chacco; in Thursday’s 1.45m class he had two down again so on Friday I jumped him in a smaller class and he jumped clear. Sadly when we brought him out to exercise the next day he seemed very stiff and on closer inspection we found he had pulled a muscle in his shoulder, which was quite sore. As a result he got himself and nice holiday in the sun for the remaining time we were in Spain!

Gus and King again jumped clear two out of the three days competing in the five-year-old classes and Disney jumped two super clear rounds in Sunday’s Grand Prix to finish 7th. So we had a good end to the week.

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Week 3…

By week 3 I wondered if Gus and King were starting to tire, they aren’t used to competing this many weeks uninterrupted. Gus jumped clear the first day and King just had one time fault. The second day King jumped clear and Gus had one down, then the third day they both had an unlucky rail each. I was still pleased with how they are progressing though.

Disney jumped the 1.45m ranking class on Friday and jumped another super clear round finishing 12th which qualified us for the Grand Prix. He much prefers jumping on grass to indoor arenas. Sunday rolled around and Disney jumped a great clear in the first round but regrettably had a fence in the jump off so we only finished 9th.

Week 4…

We were now at our final week in Oliva Nova which is when they have the five-year-old final. Both Gus and King were clear on Tuesday, but Gus had a fence down in Wednesday’s class. Thursday was the day of the final and was an Instant Jump-Off class. Gus was early to go so I wasn’t sure how fast we needed to go, we took the course reasonably fast and had a double clear. King was last to go, which meant I could push him to go as fast as I thought he could manage, and did a great double clear. Gus finished 5th and King finished 3rd.

Disney’s last week was a little unlucky, having had the last fence down in the first qualifier and another in the second. We still managed to qualify for the last Grand Prix and he went much better, jumping a fantastic clear in the first round. But fate caught up with us and we were drawn first to go in the jump off, not knowing how the other riders would fare, we went for it. We finished with a good time but had downed a fence and ended up placing 7th.

Next time…

I had a really great time at Oliva Nova and was pleased with all my horses; I was very happy with how both of my five-year-olds performed and look forward to taking them abroad again in the new year.

I’m now at home in the UK again and we are winding down for Christmas. Disney and Chacco are having a rest before we bring them back into work in January, ready for the Sunshine Tour in Vejer de la Frontera. I’m still going to be working with my younger horses as I hope to take them to Spain as well. I won’t be competing abroad again until the tour in two months; so I’m looking forward to spending time with my family this Christmas.

Until next time.

Spencer