Back competing again | An Eventful Life

Back competing again

CHarlie Brister Berrima Horse Trials

      Back in the winner's circle again at Berrima                            Photo: Cobie Sheehan

While it had been a slow start to the year with my groin injury and being very busy with the final semester of university, the horses have quickly been getting the hang of things. The first competition of the year (the dressage outings don’t count) was at Camden where I had three entered among the 600 other entries. Timmy Almighty our ‘family’ horse in the prenov, Ashmead her highness (Pippa) in the prelim and Vicky and Ara Fleming’s Yogi. A nice early start being first on with Pippa and she was able to do an okay test which ended up 3rd. Yogi, having his first outing in over a year, was a little bit distracted by the 100 other horses in the warm-up but did a very consistent test to place 19th in a big class. Timmy was great and put down a 67% to place third even though I failed to really go for it in the extensions.


Although Pippa had been jumping super at Colleen’s in a lesson before the event she still had one down when I rode badly, hasn’t figured out how to rescue me all the time yet. While Yogi was a little distracted in the dressage he is 100% focused on jumping and flew round for a clear to move up 10 places then a further two after an effortless clear and under time xc. I had planned for Camden to be Pippa’s last prelim but she ended up being far more interested in the spectators on course than the actual jumps. This led to very strange approaches to quite a few jumps with her not actually looking at the jump until takeoff. At times very scary, it just gives me a little more confidence that when she relaxes a bit more she will really have an awesome jump as she is already 100% honest. Getting out of the start box on Timmy who I had not ridden xc since June last year I was a little unsure how he would go but as always very reliable he breezed around with only 1 time penalty which was my fault for just balancing a little too early towards the end of the course. My competition greenness showed up with his showjumping with the pressure on to finish in the top 2 on but unfortunately I let him get a little flat to the last jump which he just tapped lightly. This led to a profanity being exclaimed far too loudly which was probably heard by half of the event. So, all up, a good event with Pippa 5th, Timmy 3rd and Yogi 7th.

CHarlie Brister Berrima Horse Trials

      Pippa in the warm up                          Photo: Gabrielle Engelbrecht

This did not compare to Berrima which ended up being an almost perfect event for my team. Having a few extra lessons in between I had slightly higher expectations with both Timmy and Pippa. Somehow my coach’s wise words and my Aunt’s dressage training of Timmy have been sinking in and I was able to be in first place on both horses after dressage. Despite a few moments of miscommunication with Pippa she breezed around the showjumping and subsequently the XC which after a bitting adjustment was a little less heart stopping for me. Timmy was having his first start at one star so I was a little nervous but as always he tries his heart out jumping around clear showjumping and then after a lot of “encouragement” got around the XC clear with only 1.2 time penalties. Although Timmy can go fast accelerating and decelerating is not one of his strong points. This just made me be more focused on maintaining a better rhythm around the course. I had not done any calculations but fortunately despite Stuart Tinney being under time on Annapurna he was still one penalty off me so guaranteed a double win for the weekend.

Charlie Brister Berrima Horse Trials

      Timmy at Berrima                                   Photo: Cobie Sheehan

The day after Berrima I had a final essay due for Introduction to non-traditional security, one of my university subjects…which I hadn’t yet started. So horses were forgotten for a few days in order to get that done and to study for my last exam which was on financial volatility. Having to spend several hours a day inside studying just made me realize how I won’t be able to go work in an office job, just yet at least. Since I don’t have any competitions before I head to the States I was tempted to put the horses in the paddock earlier and be lazy but have been trying get fit in an many lessons as possible to get the horses to the next level which has not been helped by the last week of rain at all!


No doubt my next blog will be far less horse related as I travel to California for Independence Day then up to Calgary for the Stampede which I am very excited about. Good luck to everyone in their competitions coming up and don’t have too much fun back here without me.