Lessons learnt.....

New Vault series……..

The next series for my online training is now on my website - Will Rawlin - The Vault

It covers 6 exercises to help stop horses rushing into fences - it all starts with training on the flat from transitions to working around fences and then moving onto jumping exercises.

I will be filming my next series towards the end of August so it should be out early September.

Lesson Learnt……………..

We are busy at the gallops and grass canter track to get the horses ready for their autumn competitions.

Ted, my 5 year old, backed this year, has been going to the canter track with the competition horses.

When I last took him I had been to the sports physio the day before so my back and body was feeling really good, only to fall off Ted for being too casual and was on my phone when he spooked and bronked me off!

No injuries but a dented pride and cross with myself for being so casual.

Lesson Learnt!

Horses in for training……………….

It’s nice to have another young horse, 6 year old, in for a months training.

He will then go back to his owner for some consolidation before coming back again for further development.

This is a great way for clients to be able to develop their horses a bit quicker than if they did it themselves and gives the horses a chance to absorb what they have learnt in stages.

I do this with a number of clients and it works well for all.

Festival of British Eventing…..

Although I am not a great one for being a spectator at an Event, Top Spec very kindly gave me some tickets to go to Gatcombe which I enjoyed.

It is good to actually stand back and watch sometimes and look at an event from a different perspective.

The show jumping can be very influential due to the terrain in the arena and the fact that it is surrounded by marquees which are very close.

They have a lot of shopping opportunities and the cross country is designed very much across 2 “bowls” so good for the viewing public.


I also caught up with Tash for ARC who have the great ARC equine and ARC 4 health - If you want to know more about them do get in touch with me and I can give you more information and also a discount code should you wish to buy one. willrawlineventing@gmail.com

Homme House Horse Trials - Herefordshire……

Immy who works with me had a good run at Homme last week.

Although her horse rolled a couple of poles she had a fabulous dressage to be leading going into the show jumping and had a great cross country round to give her her qualification to do a CIC2*S at Somerford this weekend.

It’s great news and reward for her hard work.

Small error - big knock on ……

I had my usual monthly lessons with John Bowen last week.

As always the horses went well once he picked up on the fact that my legs were creeping up so slightly unbalancing me which is why the horses hadn’t been going quite as well for the previous week as they had been prior to this.

It is amazing how something so small can have such an impact on the horses performance - I knew it was something to do with me as it was all the horses but hadn’t been able to pinpoint it. It is so easy to beat yourself up about it as I slightly feel that my training of the horses hadn’t been as good as it should have been.

However, with 2 living beings working together we are both bound to have knock on effects to each other both good and bad.

NAF International Hartpury Horse Trials mixed in with Aston Le Walls……….

We had a long day with just two dressage tests on Thursday 8th August. We had to get up at 4.30am in order to give Conquer time to chill once we arrived at Hartpury.

We are lucky it is only 1 hour away from the yard so we didn’t have to stay on site. Both The Partner (Conquer) and V.I.P Vinnie were in the 4*short and this was to be Conquer’s first time at this level. It was Vinnie’s first outing since Bramham so we were expecting him to be pretty excited about being out again - which he was.

The Partner having some down time at    NAF International Hartpury Horse Trials

The Partner having some down time at NAF International Hartpury Horse Trials

Conquer was first on in the dressage and did his best to warm up to date, soft, relaxed and rideable. We started warming up in the indoor warm up arena and then you get moved to the outdoor warm up two horses before your dressage test.

Unfortunately it went Pete Tong during the test as I kept fiddling and interfering with Conquer rather than making a correction and leaving him to correct!!

Consequently we got a very disappointing score which I feel disappointed with myself as Conquer has come on so much recently and deserves better.

I then rode Vinnie for 30 minutes to remove some of his excitement. It turned out to be the right thing to do as when we did our test 5 hours later we achieved a PB at this level scoring 27.8 at 4*.

We were really pleased with the test and was the most relaxed test I have ridden since Blenheim last year - there were still a few mistakes - flying changes being one, and having done a fantastic medium trot I then held back a little in extended so therefore there wasn’t enough of a difference between the two.

I’ll just have to go for it at Blenheim in September!!

In between these two tests we went to walk the cross country course. This was big, colourful and inviting and I was really looking forward to riding Conquer round it - although it was his first 4* he is a brilliant jumper and I thought he would love the course. I was disappointed not to be riding Vinnie around it but we had always planned for him not to run XC as it didn’t fit with his competition plan.

Friday bought another day of competition but this time at Aston Le Walls with Ballycoog Breaker Boy (William) doing an IN before his first Intermediate at Somerford.

We had a civilised start and left the yard at 8am for a 11.45 dressage. William did a very solid performance at each phase - he was a little over confident in his dressage so a score of 30.2 was a fair score. His show jumping was a good round - nothing spectacular but a good steady rhythm with 1 time penalty.

Cross country has to be the shortest Novice track I have ever ridden and he found it all very easy to come in 1 sec inside the time to take the win.

He will be at Somerford to do his first Intermediate followed by Gatcombe Intermediate and then the 7 year old Championships at Osberton at the beginning of October.

Saturday saw us back at Hartpury with a very early get up - 3.30am as I wanted to walk the course again because of the rain over night and wanted to check how the ground had changed. We had also been notified that due to the weather forecast of rain and high winds the show jumping had been moved into the indoor arena.

This made me realise I never jump my horses in doors. We took advantage of being able to walk them around the arena first thing before the competition started. Both horses jumped very well, and both had a fence each which was unfortunate as they really were jumping.

Conquers was at the second fence as we were a little quiet into it and got a touch deep. Vinnie’s was at the 5th fence as we had lost balance on the turn and I landed up jumping it at an angle therefore his front foot caught it. Frustrating but pleased at how they both jumped otherwise.

The weather was vile before my cross country but luckily the rain had stopped before we went out but the wind was still high. Conquer warmed up so well and in hindsight a little quiet for him - usually he is almost over keene in the warm up but this time he was very rideable.

We went out of the start box and he was very behind the leg and not his usual feisty self.

He was jumping everything way too high and had an uncharacteristic stop at fence 4.

He then went to stop in the water but I managed to keep him moving and then we had two duck outs later on in the course so had to walk home.

This really was not part of the script and we are now left scratching our heads as to why this happened. Was it the wind, is there something wrong with him or is it the new pads we had put in in his front feet to act as shock absorbers as he has such a high action in front so the concussion the higher up the levels you go becomes greater.

Today we had his eyes, heart, lungs and legs checked and all are fine. We are waiting for bloods to come back tomorrow but we aren’t anticipating anything negative as he looks so well. I am cross country schooling him tomorrow over small fences to see how he is and then we may remove the pads before Somerford, where he is jumping an Intermediate, if nothing else comes to light before. The 4* cross country caused a lot of problems with 114 in the class.

Out of these there were 11 Unseated riders, 3 Horse falls and plenty of riders with penalties. Huge congratulations to Piggy French who came first and second and also won the 3* - she is having an amazing year.

A big thank you must go to all involved in organising the event as the weather made things very difficult and they achieved a great competition. Eric Winters XC course was a true test and I look forward to riding it in the future.

Big wide fence in the 4* at NAF International Hartpury Horse Trials

Big wide fence in the 4* at NAF International Hartpury Horse Trials

Looking forward to a good day at Somerford where Conquer, Vinnie and William will all be doing the Intermediate.