Top of the Morning to you! The weather here has certainly turned a tad nippy and no one can complain about hard ground now!
October has been a fun month starting off with a successful outing to Askham Bryan BE event. I had the company of Miss Irish, a rather attractive Connemara lady, who had been staying with us preparing for her BE debut. Journeys are always more pleasant with company on board and we arrived in good time for the Young Master to walk the course and give Miss Irish's jockey, Mini, a few tips while the Old Girl applied a bit of hoof oil and generally tried to tart us up.
I felt quite relaxed warming up for the dressage, giving Miss Irish the odd word of advice as I passed by - more right bend, soften through the poll and other gems that regularly get bestowed on me - before trotting off to do my test.
The judges both seemed to like our efforts, along with the Old Girl which is always a relief so next stop show jumping for me while Miss Irish got to have a rest as her times for the BE80 were much later.
Having had a time fault the previous weekend at Bishop Burton I wasn't about to make that mistake again and I zipped round posting a clear round. I followed it up with a clear XC, comfortably inside the time still feeling full of running when I finished. My efforts were good enough for 7th place in a very competitive section, so now it was my chance to chill out while the Newbies strutted their stuff.
What a cracking job they did too. Clear show jumping followed up by a solid round clear XC with just a few time penalties. What a great start to the pair's eventing career. It was a long wait to see if Miss Irish would sneak into the rosettes, with Mini back and forth to the results board like a cat on a hot tin roof. You can imagine the excitement when finally it was announced she had come 9th and had a much coveted rosette. Well I can tell you we were both ready for our Fibre-Beet that night!
Our next outing was a combined BS and Pony Club dressage series at Port Royal. The rain was hammering down which suits me fine as it is well documented how I do not enjoy the heat but my goodness you'd think the humans were going to shrink the way they moan when it's wet. "Buy some waterproofs," I muttered when the chuntering started.
My show jumping round was first in which I had an annoying pole but in a class where there was only one clear I was not alone. Then off to the dressage where once again I felt strangely relaxed. The Old Girl was really chuffed telling the Young Master it was the best she had seen him ride me in that particular test, which involved lots of funny little shapes and loops in canter… whatever next... I snort in disgust. Second place, eventually pipped by half a mark which was more frustrating than a pole down!
Listen to me, what am I saying? Could I be heading towards dressage diva status? I will be wanting a diamante browband next... Run for the hills Billy!!
Norton Disney was supposed to be our final event but it didn't happen. In a fit of super organisation the Old Boy set off to fill Bettsy up with fuel the night before our early morning departure only to have headlight failure. It was just too late by that stage to sort out alternative transport. The Legend, who is never wrong, told me things often happen for a reason and I had finished the season with two good runs so maybe it was best to quit while ahead. Anyway it gave us a day to finish the poem we had been working on so I hope you enjoy it.
by Billy Bank & The Legend
Autumn's crisp morning glow,
It is a time I love so.
When I set off on a hack,
With filtered sun weak on my back.
Rich colours dealt by nature's hand,
Ever changing sweep the land,
And leaves rain down upon the breeze,
Thick carpeting around the knees.
The ground once hard is soft again,
A gallop on stubble, I can't refrain!
And heading home awaits a treat,
My delicious bucket of Fibre-Beet.