Team O'Hanlon

It Was An Extra Special Win at Bromont!

Selena O’Hanlon recounts her CIC3* win with Woody at Bromont International this year, and her preparation with Christilot Boylen beforehand.

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By: Team O'Hanlon

Well it’s been an incredibly busy summer and I’m so sorry I haven’t been blogging. At the end of these long days I usually eat too much dinner and fall asleep right away. We start earlier and finish later, that plus a food coma and I am out like a light!

Bromont was pretty special this year with Woody winning the CIC3* in a WEG year to boot. I was fortunate enough to prep at Deer Ridge farm in Lorreto with Christilot Boylen during a wonderful clinic she and Megan Lane put on. There was so much to see and do it was fantastic.

Thursday and Friday prior to the clinic I trained with Christilot working on more uphill self balance. Saturday during the lunch break, Christilot gave me a lesson in the main arena while people were eating their lunches. There was quite a good atmosphere with the flags, dressage ring, speakers, people etc.

On Sunday I warmed up while Belinda Trussell performed a dressage test for John McPherson to judge. Then it was my turn. Christilot warmed me up a bit and then I did the 3* test A for John to judge. The reason I did the A test and not the B (which I would be performing at Bromont) is so that Woody didn’t learn the test and anticipate the movements. It was great to hear John explain the marks at the end of my test (to auditors) and a chance to practice under pressure.

Woody, in his stall at Bromont.
Woody, in his stall at Bromont.

Ok onto Bromont…

We arrived after a short drive (only four hours from Kingston) on Wednesday afternoon to the lovely Bromont venue. We (the Canadians) were all stabled together in the main barn. Woody had galloped in the a.m. and done a last jump school so he didn’t have to do anything when we got there on Wednesday. AM and I got to stay at a gorgeous little farm house only 15 minutes from the show with Jessica Pheonix and her entourage. We had a wonderful time there and even did a fun dinner at the house. Thursday I hacked him in the morning around the track that goes out near the cross country course where I caught a sneak peek of a few of the fences, so did Woody he was quite chuffed. ?

Anne Marie prepping Woody for his big day.
Anne Marie prepping Woody for his big day.

I got a chance to watch a few people school their horses and thoroughly enjoyed watching Boyd ride as well as teach a fellow Canadian rider Bradley Champagne. I learned a few things as I normally do watching the pros. In the afternoon I had a lesson with David O’Connor (DOC) and Anne Marie videoed for me to watch later. Woody was a good boy especially in his canter work. I think he was a little tired from his gallop and drive the day before so the trot was a bit more work.

On Friday I took Woody for a hack again and then headed to the warm up ring. As soon as he picked up trot he felt like a million dollars, with springs in his feet. I tried not to over do the warm up, and just address the things we needed to before heading over to the final warm up, which was between the two rings. I don’t know if I ended up warming up a fraction too long or if he sucked back a little going into that last warm up area. We went for it in our test though, a big fat smile for the judges and Woody’s ears pricked as we went down our first centre line. I was pleased with the trot work and the walk was relaxed but could have had a wee bit more impulsion. I felt him a little backed off in the canter work so I worked very hard to get the canter to jump and be uphill. Therefore we nailed the changes but I know there still a little more sparkle in the tank, which is exciting and I look forward to showing it off at our next big event.

Shout out to Shires!
Shout out to Shires!

Show jumping day I walked the course a million times as per usual, as it helps when I get nervous. It was a lovely course but so much of it was related distances. That makes it hard for Woody and I to make the time. He’s so tall and has such a big stride I have to slow down quite a bit to squeeze in all the correct number of strides. I watched Phillip and Boyd go first, completing two beautiful clear rounds. I noticed Phillip went from the triple combo to the last fence in a direct seven strides instead of curving out in the eight. When it was my turn to go I felt Woody was jumping quite well and it was our first time using the Pelham in competition. I tried to focus on a clear round, tight turns and my position. I knew we must be tight on the clock so I trusted Woody completely and galloped direct seven strides to the last oxer and we crossed the finish line RIGHT on the time allowed! ?

I was so excited for cross country on Sunday and wondered how Woody would feel this being his first run back since Badminton. He did a little excited hop out of the box and jumped really well over fence #2, which was a big square table on a down hill slope. He was bold but obedient and felt super as he crossed the finish line. There were two fences I took a little too much time setting up and that’s where I had my time faults. Only six seconds to add to my time and we won❤️????