Hello to all my fellow eventers, and welcome to my brand new blog for The Gaitpost! I hope you have all enjoyed the eventing season and gained the results you have all been aiming for! My eventing season for 2017, has been everything I wished for and more, and now the darker mornings, muddier fields, and countless cups of tea (for my dad Tony) set in, this is the perfect time for some reflection.
As athletes, reflection is a really important part of the goal setting process, and it can be done at any time, after a training session or a big competition. My main goal since starting eventing in 2014, has been to gain a place on the Great Britain eventing teams, and I have fortunately smashed this goal for 4 years now.
This year we travelled to Ireland, where myself and the team won European Silver, and individually riding my horse Union Fortunus I came 5th. Competing for any team can be really nerve racking, and I can sometimes still get a little nervous. But one advantage of competing on a team is the support you get from your team mates, I always enjoy meeting up with my team mates at various training sessions and competitions and feel it really helps to strengthen the bond between us, as essentially we are all aiming towards the same goal.
At the beginning of this season I travelled to Ballindenisk to compete in the CCI1J* with Union Fortunus and my upcoming star horse, Cooley Challenger. I came home with 1st and 8th respectively in the class as both of my horses went foot perfect.
As my horses have been running so well throughout the season, I thought it would be the perfect time to get some more international experience (at the expense of my parents having a well-deserved holiday!) so we set off to compete in the CCI2* at Ligniere. The track was one of the most testing I have faced, and after successful dressage tests, I was feeling really positive about attacking the cross country course. Union Fortunus and Cooley Challenger were both on top form, and both achieved double clears. I even received the best cross country round prize as both my horses came in on the optimum time!
It was extremely beneficial to get some international experience at competitions, notably the effect international travelling can have on your horses. It is always really important to take this into account when travelling as we all want our horses to be in their best shape to compete. Although so far I have given Cooley Challenger and Union Fortunus all the limelight, I do have another horse called Graveur who is already carving out a great track record for himself even though he is only 6. I rode him in his first 1* this year and he exceeded all of my expectations by delivering a double clear.
I have been really pleased with my performance this year, and something I really believe in is a positive mental attitude. During the winter I will continue to compete my horses at some British Show Jumping and dressage competitions to keep them ‘ticking over’. I live in the south west so going to competitions usually means some considerable travelling, but I hope to see you and your horses out at some of the competitions (please do come and say hi!).
Finally I would like to say a massive thank you and well done to Team Locke for an incredible season, and a big shoutout to my amazing mum and dad, without them none of this would be possible. See you next time, and good luck with your competitions!