The photos below are from the Aldon and Windsor Events. Click on any of them for a larger version.
Photo credits: “Eventing Magazine” or “Horse and Hound”
Time for another CR Event Team update! Sorry it’s been a while, but once the eventing year got going it was a mad rush. From the subtle hints we have been receiving… we will try to be more punctual from now on.
Once the season started (after Foot and Mouth), it turned into a good year for all at CR Event Team. The horses performed well and are on track with their qualifications. We finally took delivery of our wonderful new lorry (Scott’s comment: -which would stay wonderful if horses were not allowed anywhere near it… no respect, etc.!). The yard continues to flourish with the progressive addition of all the things that make life that little bit easier. Plans for 2002 will hopefully include mirrors for the outdoor school, a mice-proof feed room (unlikely), and maybe hot water in the wash room (Scott’s cunning idea).
Rather than cover all of the Horse Trials that Cindy competes at, we have concentrated upon those key events of the latter part of the 2001 season.
Tetton Hall is situated in the northwest of England, in Cheshire, south of Manchester.
Harley 2nd Novice
Davey 10th I — good cross-country
Harley Intermediate Novice — Intermediate dressage and show jumping. Finished 3rd
Gatcombe is home to Princess Anne and has long been connected to the sport of Eventing. Gatcombe Park is approximately 2 hours from the yard and situated in the beautiful Gloucester country side.
Gatcombe is a high profile event, with a big track, lots of people, good prize money (for the level) and therefore stiff competition. Cindy was using this event as part of the warm up for the 3-day competitions to come later on in the year. Davey was entered into the CIC two-star, which is a condensed version of a three day event. As a warm up to the Windsor CCI two-star that Davey was to do shortly after, he completed the Dressage and the Show Jumping phases only. Competing against 100 horses, Davey was equal first after dressage and show jumping. There was no doubt that this cross-country machine would have blazed around the course to come home first, but with a slight over reach cut, Cindy sensibly withdrew him so that he would be ready for Windsor (much to the delight of the other competitors).
Harley really showed his colours here, winning his Novice class against a quality field. He was 2nd after the dressage and show jumped clear. He blazed around the cross-country course inside the time to claim first prize. The prizes were presented by Princess Anne, who commended Cindy on her performance and the turn-out of her horse (good job Kirsty!)
To cap a very successful weekend, Benny finished 3rd in CIC one-star with a field of 105 horses. Benny was 3rd after his dressage and again jumped clear inside the time during the cross-country and show jumping phases.
With the eventual arrival of the new lorry (which is very big and very shiny! -Scott) we loaded up and departed for Windsor Great Park, next to Windsor Castle. It soon became apparent that despite the lorry being over 35 ft long, 8 feet wide and 12 feet high — you can never have enough space and you always grow to the size of your ‘goldfish bowl.’ Packed to the gunnels with equipment for every eventuality, Cindy and Kirsty arrived for Davey’s first CCI two-star international competition.
Windsor was a great setting to hold a horse trials. It is a large sweeping country park, famed as the Queen’s private residence on the outskirts of London — although I am not sure I would have built it on the main flight path to Heathrow Airport! The weather was kind and the ground not too hard as has been the case at Windsor in the past. Overall, there were approximately 120 horses, which were split into two groups, depending upon their past experience.
Davey was his usual laid back self, taking everything in his stride — exerting only as much energy is required and taking every chance possible to fill his face.
We had amassed quite an international band of supporters for the event. Sabina (Cindy’s friend from Switzerland) came over so that meant that C R Event Team had our own team vet. Davey’s owners had arrived to see how their boy ran and it was great to have Bob and Sally Futh and Don over to lend a hand. Di and Mick (Scott’s parents) also made it for the last day, well armed to feed the five thousand, which was most appreciated. Rod and Helen Cross also came along to lend their support.
The first vet check went without a hitch. Davey’s dressage was not until the second day, so this gave Davey plenty of time to acclimatize, and Cindy time to prepare for the dressage test and to walk and memorize her cross-country course.
Davey completed a beautiful dressage test and scored very well. He was placed fourth at the end of day two.
Cross-country day dawned with a hive of activity, although Davey was not running until late afternoon. Unlike a horse trial, a three-day event involves several other endurance phases. The first additional phase is called ‘roads and tracks’ which is designed to warm the horses up for the later phases but also forms part of the overall test of the horse’s stamina. The next phase is called the ‘steeple chase’ and is completed over the same type of fences as can be seen in horse racing. Whilst all phases are against the clock, the steeple chase is at ¾ racing speed and is therefore a lot quicker than the horse is used to competing at. Cindy timed her circuit to perfection with one second to spare and therefore no wasted effort.
Before Davey was due to start on the cross-country course, there was the compulsory ten-minute hold. The ‘Ten Minute Box’ tests the horse’s recovery and is a short rest before the vigors of the cross-country effort. Here Davey was checked by vets before being given the all clear to continue. The ten-minute box is very busy and not unlike a pit stop in car racing. Every one has their job to do and we were well marshaled by Don to complete all our tasks before the time was up. This is the last chance Cindy has to mentally run through her course and prepare for the hurdles to come. Davey was as good as gold and no effort to get ready. When it was time to go, he switched on and was ready to roll.
The course was challenging but fair with good footing. The first water was really big and comparable to a three star competition. There were a few narrow fences, which tested Davey, but he answered magnificently. Cindy described her round with Davey as ‘fantastic, he answered all the questions and was still exuberant at the end’. A big horse, he ‘bounced’ two combinations that he should have put a stride in between. Being in the ten-minute box, you don’t get to see much, and so you eagerly hang on to every word the commentator says. It felt that no sooner had they departed, then this brilliant combination had finished. Cindy was delighted with a huge grin from ear to ear. Davey knew he had done a good job, although his reward was to be soaked by a very enthusiastic owner armed with a large sponge (no names… but waterproofs all round next time, Bob!). Davey was clear inside the time and had given Cindy a superb ride and the feeling that this horse is definitely capable of competing at an Olympic level.
Running late in the day means that a lot of work then has to be done to prepare the horse for the final vet’s inspection on Sunday morning. Although we all had or fingers crossed, we need not have bothered as he glided up and down the track.
The final, decider phase is the show jumping, a hugely influential and sometimes cruel element that can see four days’ hard work gone in thirty seconds if you roll the rails over. The show jumping course proved very difficult with very few clear rounds. This has been Davey’s weak phase and Cindy has worked very hard to improve his performance. In the end he only had one rail down with a few time penalties. Far from disappointed, Cindy was very happy with the round and felt that Davey had done his best. Indeed, Cindy received high praise from one of the top British riders who complemented her on riding the round “perfectly for the horse.”
Cindy and Davey finished fifth — an excellent result for a combination that is going places and is starting to be recognized as such.
Full credit to the supporters and to Kirsty (Cindy’s groom) in particular. Her tireless motivation, care, and love of the horses allows Cindy to focus on the job at hand.
Davey is now qualified for the three-star competitions which means bigger international events in England and abroad. The tentative plan for Davey is compete at the CCI three-star at Lumuhlen in Germany in June 13-16th (all supporters welcome — book the cheap flights!). If Davey proves to be too bold, he will be aimed at Burghley four-star. However, the rough plan is to go to Boekelo three-star in Holland on Oct 02 (first prize is usually a car so Scott is very keen to go to this one — although not sure how this would be split amongst all those who are classed as ‘owners’)
This was a very long drive by the team up to the very north borders of England. Benny wins Intermediate. Harley goes well in his first intermediate. Both won dressage sections and show jumped clear.
Aldon CCI one-star
With the ravages of Foot and Mouth disease having forced the cancellation of every other one-star international event, Aldon decided they would leap into the fire and organize a CCI one-star event — with just 6 weeks planning!
Aldon is very close to our yard and is situated just south of Yeovil in Somerset. The ground is very sandy and always has excellent footing. Despite the downpours that occurred over the weekend, it held up to the over one thousand horses which competed that event! Aldon horse trials is always a favorite with us. It is very friendly, well established, and well run. It is an excellent event for spectators as well, as the cross-country course runs in a narrow valley. This allows the spectators to stand on the ridge and watch nearly all of the fences.
As Cindy was competing two horses in the same competition, it was established that one would run early and one late. Benny was the first to go and really set the standard with a stunning dressage test. Benny was in the lead after day one and eventually finished 5th after all 125 riders had gone. Harley completed his dressage test on the second day. The weather had been awful all day with very heavy downpours that must have been just miserable for those riders who had to do their dressage test in such weather. Cindy was lucky. As the very last rider to go, the rain had stopped and the sun had started to shine. However, as the rain had been relentless, the dressage arena was really badly churned up, which made it difficult to truly do an excellent test on such an uneven surface. However, Harley also completed a good test, and finished 8th overall.
Like Windsor, the next day was cross-country day. Benny was the first to go in the morning. Having experienced the placid and easy-to-work-on Davey at Windsor, Benny was the complete opposite. Fiery anyway, Benny was extremely excited and a real handful given that the pit-crew had to change studs and bandages on top of the usual hectic itinerary. Still, Cindy and Benny got away on time, although both Kirsty and Scottie were a tad dazed by the experience.
The cross-country track proved to be quite small overall and did not really “separate the men from the boys,” as most international tracks do. Flying around the course quite comfortably, somebody must have thought that Benny and Cindy were making it look too easy. Somehow a dog got loose and decided it would chase Cindy and Benny. Now, this was no ordinary Jack Russell terrier — this was a racing dog, a lean, mean, racing machine. Not only did the dog chase Benny at his heels, it also proceeded to jump every fence that Cindy and Benny did. Although we laugh now, at the time it could have proved very dangerous. The officials looked stunned and did not stop Cindy. Cindy was in two minds whether to stop or continue. She continued, as she felt that she would have real problems getting Benny to wait calmly and then to re-start. The pictures attached show how close the dog was. Cindy was obviously less than pleased when she finished but in the end she was still clear and inside the time. Harley was the last horse to go and again proved his worth, comfortably finishing clear inside the time, although it did not seem as entertaining as Cindy’s previous run that day. The Pit Crew was also relieved that Harley proceeded to be a lamb inside the ten-minute box.
As is customary at International events, the show jumping is conducted in reverse order. With the cross-country failing to divide the field as would have been hoped, each penalty picked up during the Show jumping was going to prove very influential on the final placing.
Harley was first to go and jumped beautifully with a clear round. Benny jumped later but despite being a normally fantastic and careful jumper, he rolled two poles. Despite her disappointment for Benny, Cindy felt that he was not as responsive as normal and on reflection that perhaps his mouth was sore after Cindy had needed to ‘hook’ to avoid colliding with the dog on the cross-country the day before.
In the end both horses finished well; Harley placed 7th and Benny came in 14th. Cindy was very pleased particularly for Harley, who would not even step in water twelve months ago! Although disappointed that Benny was not placed higher, the ride she had felt throughout the competition meant that he really had the potential to go on to bigger and better things.
Glam took part in the last trials for us of the 2001 season and finished a creditable 6th in a very twisty Pre-Novice course at Charlton Park.
End of Year
Cindy finished the year ranked 72nd out of the riders in the UK — no mean feat, considering they number in the thousands! The winner ran 22 horses when compared to Cindy’s three — quality not quantity!
Cindy has been teaching at Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, CT, USA. This was a pleasant trip not least because we both were able to spend time with Pat and Don, which was very relaxing and a perfect break. The clinic proved to be very successful and was enjoyed by all, and Cindy has been asked to teach again in the new year.
One of the messages that we came away with from the trip to the USA was the need to raise Cindy’s profile there. Whilst she has had a successful year competing every weekend against the World’s best, this is not reported “back home.” To this end, we will be advertising more regularly in the US equestrian press and will attempt to secure some editorial time. Cindy has been approached for an article for the Chronicle of the Horse (watch this space!), and the USCTA news have expressed an interest in a diary chronicling Cindy’s exploits: Eventing in the UK (to be published quarterly).
Scott passed his NVQ level one in equine care — and now knows everything there is to know about horses! 🙂
New Additions — Bill and Bear
Since we last published an update, we have two new additions to the yard. Bill and Bear are owned by Mrs. Helen Cross. Helen is from New Zealand and was interested in seeing if Bear would make an Eventer, and Cindy was recommended to Helen by the local Race Yard. Although a Kiwi, Helen’s only stipulation was ‘Not Australian’ which instantly endeared her to Scottie. Helen, Rod (the husband), and Branson (the collie dog) have rapidly become enthusiastic and much welcomed members of the team. This is Helen’s first involvement in Event horses, alongside her continued involved with Racehorses and Point-to-Pointers. As you get to know “the Cross,” you come to appreciate just how deeply those involved care for their menageries of animals.
Bear is a seven year old thoroughbred (TB) who will start competing in 2002 at Intro Level.
Bill is an eight year old TB who is a real character. Helen rescued Bill and has gone to great lengths to see that he has been well cared for. He is proving a big hit around the yard. A gentle giant, he will be ridden by Kirsty and eventually Don when over in the UK. Bill loves the attention and is more than happy now he realizes his food turns up regularly and lots of nice people groom him, pet him, and feed him carrots — which are Helen’s perk/vice.
We are currently in the process of raising a syndicate to buy and support Harley. Despite Anthony’s best efforts, he has sadly had to let Harley go. Anthony was very keen that Harley remain with Cindy and Cindy is equally motivated that he should stay. Anthony has been an active supporter of the team and we sincerely hope that he remains in touch with Harley’s progress. With the kind support of the Fuths and the Colliers, we have combined to secure his future for the short term, but need to secure the long term. We have advertised in the US equine press, extolling the virtues of Event Horse ownership, and are hoping that we will generate new interest and involvement in CR Event Team, not least the tax deductions that are available in the USA.
CR Event Team is going high tech. Collie (Cindy’s sister) has kindly constructed a web site. It is still under construction at the moment, but we hope to have it finished and ready to go shortly. In future we will use the site as the update link and we will e-mail you when there is something new to see. It will be the focal point for all of the photographs, etc. The web site will be called CINDY RAWSON Event Team.
This concludes our rather lengthy update. Here’s hoping you all had a great Christmas, and we look forward to an excellent 2002. All the best to you and yours
Cindy and Scottie