Amateur eventer, Harry Hall Ambassador and #twittereventing co-founder has had a purple patch of results recently but it hasn’t always been plain sailing for Tamsin Drew and Ziggy…
In late October last year I sent my horse Ziggy to Nicole Mills (3* Event Rider and trainer) as neither of us were enjoying jumping any more, I had lost my confidence and this in turn had made Ziggy not enjoy it either, he was stopping and I had fallen off loads over the summer, we had hit a brick wall and I had no idea what to do to fix it.
Nicole spent 2 weeks rebuilding Ziggy’s confidence, taking him back to basics, working on making him stronger and enjoying life again. Nicole suggested we took off all the gadgets, go back to a snaffle and no martingale, she thought this would get him taking me to a fence and enjoying it again. I took Ziggy home with homework and every week since I have jumped Ziggy all by myself at home, we started at 80cm, building a small course, jumping fences, getting off putting fences up, getting back on and jumping again. As the weeks have gone on our confidence has got stronger, fences have got bigger, Ziggy started taking me to a fence and felt happy.
When I left Nicole’s I put a winter plan in place including training, jumping at home and only 3 competitions across 3 months, Arena Eventing at Keysoe Equestrian Centre (3 phases, dressage, show jumping and cross country all on a surface). I have stuck to my plan through-out even though I’ve only been riding 4-5 times a week due to work, the weather and lack of daylight!
Before my first Keysoe Arena Eventing in late November I was so nervous especially before show jumping and just hoped it would go as well as training. Well, the training at home had paid off for a personal best 22.5 dressage score followed by a double clear in the 90cm class to win. This followed with more training and another attempt at Keysoe Arena Eventing in December (5 weeks later), I felt more confident and actually managed to enjoy it though still a little nervous before show jumping, we won the 90cm class again with 22.8 dressage and a double clear, I was thrilled! After some more training I decided to enter the 100cm class at Keysoe next (4 weeks later) and hoped that we hadn’t moved up too quickly. Knowing I hadn’t gone clear show jumping at 100cm in about 14 months (not that I was counting!) was on my mind but considering our last two events had gone well I wanted to give it a go. I was nervous the day before, I felt the pressure to do well even though I knew it didn’t matter.
Ziggy is consistent in the dressage now and did a lovely test but harshly marked of 35.2, on to the show jumping and it didn’t feel big after all our homework, apart from a spook side-wards at the first fence it was a good round for a clear, I was delighted! On to cross country, the course had caused several run outs, I’d watched 3 in row have problems at various skinny fences, but I needn’t have worried as Ziggy was fantastic straight, keen, happy and clear!
I couldn’t believe it when I saw the results and I had won again! 3 back to back Arena Eventing wins in a row all with double clears, what a confidence boost, I'm so chuffed and on cloud 9 that my boy and I are back.
There's always so much more to red rosettes, it's been hard work, blood sweat and tears but I really believe with a good, supportive trainer who you can contact outside of your lessons, someone who supports you, gives you confidence, advice and, of course, a plan, with this you too can be back on track in no time!