Hi everyone, my name is Eve Duggan and I am a sponsored rider for BETTALIFE®. In this blog I will be talking about our preparations for the 2021 showing season and how we have performed in the ring so far this year!
Winter is always a tough time to have horses, with short daylight hours and less-than-ideal weather. The 2020/21 winter was especially tough with being in lockdown too. Though we weren’t able to go out and practice at winter shows or even socialise with our friends, the lockdown had many benefits – we were able to practice hard at home with Daphne (Withymoor Damsel) and Mable (Kudahs Mayfly), and I was able to get lots of studying done for my BHS Stage 3 exams.
With Daphne being my main competition pony for 2021 and aspiring to qualify for the Royal International Horse Show early in the year, we attended clinics with Katy Carter and Leon King to polish our performances. At home, I worked hard on improving my riding and introduced Daphne to some jumping for fun. In her feeds, Daphne is fed BETTALIFE® PharmaTRAC daily. The supplement is wonderful for keeping Daphne’s gut happy and healthy, which is really important to us as she was diagnosed with Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome in 2018. She has BETTALIFE® PharmaQuin in her feed to protect her joints against the wear and tear of travelling and competing. On the weeks running up to our first competition after winter, Daphne also starts to have BETTALIFE® PharmaPlast too – this works wonders with building and maintaining topline, alongside correct work.
Our first show of 2021 took us to the National Horseracing College for the NCPA Eastern Spectacular for a practice before our first RIHS qualifier. Daphne performed well to place 1st in the 15hh show hunter ponies and also 1st in the intermediate show hunters. We were very pleased with how she was looking and did buy lots of pictures! Onto the next show 3 days later was BSPS Area 15a held at Arena UK, for our first Royal International qualifiers. Daphne exceeded all expectations to place 2nd in the small hunter qualifier, taking the ticket. In the afternoon, she went one better and won the 15hh show hunter pony qualifier and stood champion! These tickets took Daphne’s total number of qualifications to 3 for this year’s Royal International, as she qualified in the intermediate show hunters last season. We were absolutely thrilled and couldn’t have imagined a better start to the season!
I recently sat my BHS Stage 3 exams, having attended lots of online training sessions over winter. It was a very hectic week as I sat 4 exams in 8 days, and though I am still awaiting confirmation for most of the results I can now say I have passed the Stage 3 coaching exam! This means a lot to me as coaching is my very favourite thing to do (other than showing) and I am really excited to be able to get out and coach freelance lessons. I have had a wonderful team of coaches and friends and family around me while I have been working my way up the BHS coaching pathway and I couldn’t be more grateful.
Looking ahead to the year, I would love for Daphne to qualify for the Horse of the Year Show. It’s our final year in the 15hh class together and it would mean so much for us to have our last ride in that class together at such a prestigious show. We will keep training hard and have our fingers crossed when the qualifiers start! I would love for Mable to attend her first show – she is now 5 years old and is going well under saddle, especially enjoying her jumping! We aren’t in any rush to take her out yet but I’m really looking forward to when we do.
The support from BETTALIFE® is key to our team as our main priority is that our ponies are healthy and happy and feel as good as they look. The PharmaTRAC really helps Daphne feel settled in her gut and puts our minds at ease knowing she is being maintained with an outstanding supplement. The ‘before and after’ pictures we’ve previously taken of Daphne using the PharmaPlast are incredible and this is why the supplements are so key to our preparation and maintenance through the season!
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