Sponsored Event Rider, Eilidh Costelloe, tells us about her experience at Tattersalls earlier this month.
Westmur Quality (aka Buddy) and I competed in the CIC3* at Tattersalls international horse trails in Ireland in May. I have always wanted to compete at this event as I have heard how amazing the facilities are and how good the hospitality is. The stables were all purpose built in lovely big barns, wash down areas and TV screens in each barn to watch what was going on in the main ring or the XC. Amazing!!
The week started on the Wednesday with the Trot up, to check they are sound and fit to compete. Always a slightly nerve wrecking moment incase the officials see something you haven’t! The trot up has become a bit of a fashion show for the riders so some go all out for the big prize of best dressed! I thought I would give it a good go and kindly my sponsor Country Ways kitted me out with a fab outfit to try and impress. We sailed through the trot up with no issues and we were shortlisted for best dressed but just missed out, getting a runner-up prize! Next time….
Dressage was on the Friday and I was in the arena between Jonelle Price and William Foxpitt, no pressure then! Buddy found the atmosphere and pressure all a little too much and we didn’t do a very good test. Too much tension for us to perform the movements properly. I was rather disappointed as he can do the test well when he is more relaxed. Then my Showjumping was in the main ring at 7pm Saturday evening, we were first in the ring to jump the big track (1.30m) but he felt a little flat and drained from the heat all day and had a few rails down. Oh well, on to the fun bit!
XC was on the Sunday, the CCI3* had been the day before so it was helpful to watch plenty ride the lines so I had a plan in my head and felt confident. Again it was a hot day and the ground was hard, so I had planned to not ride for the time as I wasn’t up the leaderboard and thought id go for the clear and save him for another day. The first 5 fences shocked me as to how big they actually felt, Buddy too I think was a bit unsettled realising he really had to jump to reach the back of the fences! So this was a real kick up the bum at the start making me attack the fences. We then settled into a rhythm and by the first water at fence 7 he felt more comfortable and sailed into the water happily. Then the next part of the course he cruised round comfortably and I could start enjoying it, the second water felt foot perfect, up a steep hill over a log and down a steep hill into the water, over an upright gate and onto a BIG table coming out. He was quick, careful and concentrating hard. The next big test came 3/4 of the way round, the Trakhner on the mound, 4 strides to a log, steep drop down and round a curve to a big brush corner. All was well until coming down the steep hill he slipped and lost his backend as he turned to the corner, heart in mouth moment, but bless him he always stayed looking at the flags and picked up just in time. So honest and genuine! Phew!
Last big test came at the last water and the biggest water! It was the back of two shogun’s reversed together full off flower pots then a sharp left hand curve to a massive hanging log down into the water and then a sharp right hand turn to an offset skinny brush. Buddy dived into the water making it feel easy and we got a perfect stride over the brush out and I cantered away delighted, I then heard the commentator say we rode it the best so far today, such an awesome feeling! We crossed the line having had a fab clear round! Phew. Great end to the week. Sadly Jonty Evans had a bad fall coming out of the last water resulting in a serious head injury and still in hospital. This highlights the importance of our safety gear and ensuring our hats are replaced after a fall and that our body protectors are up to standard. Country ways kindly fitted me up with a new race safe Body protector at the start of the season and it is so very comfy. Thank you!
No rosettes to come home with but a great experience and another 3* run under our belts. Onwards to the next 3* at Burgham at the end of July.
For more info about Racesafe body protectors visit Country Ways, 115 Holburn Street, Aberdeen or online at http://www.countryways.com/brands/racesafe
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About Eilidh: Eilidh and her horse Westmur Quality, aka Buddy, have recently joined the brand ambassadors team at Country Ways. To date, Eilidh has a distinguished list of achievements having been on Scottish and British junior teams, competed for Britain on the student rider team, winning individual gold at 2 nations cups in France and Holland, and winning the team gold at the university world finals in Ireland. She has competed 4 horses up to intermediate/2* level, doing her first 2* at the age of 17 and coming 9th at Blair 2* in 2016, making her the highest placed Scottish rider. She has now completed three 3* events with Buddy including the #EventRiderMasters #ERM at Blair Horse Trials in 2017. Eilidh also breeds and produces young event horses and is qualified to UKCC level 2, teaching pony club, riding club and privately, She aims to encourage and give confidence to people and prove there are “no barriers in achieving great things!” Her top horse, Buddy, is a 10 yr old Irish sports horse by OBOS Quality standing at 17.1hh!! He’s only evented for 3 seasons and has jumped up the levels quickly with the fact that he loves the cross country phase and is so genuine. Team Country Ways are looking forward to following the progress of this dynamic duo in 2018. To like and follow Eilidh, please click on this link https://www.facebook.com/eilidhcostelloeeventing