Naracoorte International Horse Trials 20-21 May 2023

Well, this was a very interesting, stressful but entertaining weekend!

Firstly, do not trust Google Maps through Melbourne at 6.30 am in the morning – or at least study your maps completely and decide on the route.

We left Yarra Valley at 6.30 am Friday to drive 7 hours to Naracoorte, SA. Pre-travel, we gave the horses their breakfast, wrapped up their legs to prevent swelling and gave them hay in the floats. Given the long travel, we wanted the horses to be eating to keep a lining on their guts. They were also able to drop their heads in the float to digest the food properly. Roughy does tend to get some swelling around his fetlocks when standing for long periods, so keeping pressure on his legs assists with this.

Google Maps, unfortunately, took us right through Melbourne suburbia, on very narrow roads next to tram lines at 7.30 am in the morning. If that wasn’t enough, maps took us on a beaten down, one-lane-should-have-been-gravel road for over an hour instead of keeping us on the A8 – with no reception. The horses thankfully arrived fine and had an hour’s grazing once in Naracoorte to fill their stomachs and clear their airways.

Roughy competed in a Dressage Jackpot on the Friday, in the Novice 2.1. His training had paid off and he scored a 66% to place 2nd in a field of 15.

For the Trials, it was a ‘pat-the-horse’ ‘slap-the-rider’ scenario with the wrong dressage test learnt. When the rider before me was in the ring, I realised I had the wrong test. We learnt a completely new test – the FEI CC1* Test A – in around 1 minute. Roughy was an absolute gem, staying cool and calm while I learnt the test and then followed the movements with no issue. It was a very tight test, with short turns and 10m circles which Roughy isn’t brilliant with yet. However, he stayed in his frame, worked nicely and calmly and scored 63% to place 5th.

The show jumping course was nicely flowing, however, many riders dropped rails. To my surprise, Roughy was the picture of confidence and cruised around dropping two poles.

Cross-country was at the historic property of Strathayre and on the gorgeous ground. Again, Roughy had grown in confidence and cruised around the course clear but added 6.8-time penalties – I swear I’m going fast on him, but it’s deceiving as the stride length is long, but the tempo slow. Roughy finished the competition in 8th place from a field of 21.

I am so extremely happy with the development Roughy has shown since being over here and how his confidence has grown. The next event and last one for Roughy is Albury this weekend.