Helpline: 01488 648998

blog Lalor’s blog - We’re off to the RoR National Championships!

28th June 2024

By Stephanie Jones

Lalor is an absolute legend! When I last wrote, he was off for a three-week field break. He came back in from the field looking rather porky and we have lots of work to do to build that top line, but this is not something that can be rushed. I am excited to see what he looks like in three to six months’ time (stay tuned for a before and after photo!). He only had two and a half weeks of being ridden to get ready for the South West Regional Dressage Championships, which meant we had a big task on our hands.

To prepare, we had a lovely lesson with Tyler Bradshaw via RoR’s education programme. It was nice to hear a professional's view of him; she liked his pace and attitude. She helped us with some counter flexion and leg yielding to improve connection of the hind limbs, which will also get him more uphill in time too. We came away with some new exercises to do and we even had a canter! Tyler has suggested we should do some Prelims, so we’ll give them a go later this summer, but for now I’m just using a little canter to warm up more for the intro tests.

Lalor enjoyed a quieter week leading into the RoR Regional Championships, having worked hard for 10 days, including landing another win at a local unaffiliated dressage competition. He had a visit from equine osteopath Piers Willmott, who has always helped us look after him. He’s a big horse, and it takes a bit of managing to keep him straight and flexible. I’m lucky to have the support of so many people including our yard suppliers Connolly’s Red Mills, Foran Equine and Arioneo Equimetre who have sent us products and supported us.

I decided to do a warm-up class at Chard Equestrian on Friday evening, the day before regionals. This turned out to be a good move as it was very busy; a totally different atmosphere to what we had experienced so far with the tannoy and the arenas dressed in flowers. It was the spiciest Lalor has been in a long time and, to be honest, I was delighted to feel him have a bit of spark! I didn’t do a great job in the warm-up arena and left him a bit uncooked, but he did an okay test, and unbelievably he still won!

Saturday was the RoR South West Regional Championships and having learnt a bit from the night before, I warmed him up thoroughly with a few canters and plenty of transitions. He did a super test to win the Intro B Restricted class with 70.6% and qualified for The Jockey Club RoR National Championships 20-25 August! The only minor issues in our test are mostly down to poor riding, so I’m going to have some more lessons - I really don’t want to be the one bringing him down. We continue to have a 100% winning strike rate in the arena!

He’s going to have a bit of a break from the arena for a few weeks; my sister Kayley will be in charge as we work to improve his strength and fitness. Then we’ll get back to dressage, ready for National Championships at Aintree, the home of his Grade 1 success.

Congratulations to all those who qualified for RoR National Champs, especially Sophie Hawke on Enormouse - a fellow stablemate at Blackmore Farm, and Stella Bunn on Evron, also a former resident, and one of my old favorite rides. It’s amazing to see these former racehorses enjoying themselves in a second career.