“Been a long week this one! Started last Saturday with a trip down to Bury Farm for the British Riding Clubs Intermediate Dressage Championships, for which our team from Bradleydale Riding Club had qualified. Seeing as it was our 5th Wedding Anniversary, I took along my husband as navigator, possibly not the wisest decision. We got hopelessly lost and arrived at Bury Farm 20 minutes before my time. My wonderful team rose to the challenge and dealt with Dougal and got him tacked up whilst I got ready. Thankfully he is a cool dude, but my somewhat harassed brain rode through our test at warp speed, where even our 4 second halt was only 3 seconds! Consequently my comments were all ‘hurried’ but we ended with a respectable 67.88% leaving us in 4th place in the arena and our team in 2nd place overall, which was amazing!
This left me with Sunday for packing and Monday we left for Badminton, with Beau, for the Mitsubishi Motors Cup. I walked the cross country as soon as we got there, hoping that after months of preparation, I would sleep better! After building it up to epic proportions, it did appear more ‘doable’ than I thought, but a very technical course with many questions we had never faced. My 3 phases were all to be ridden on the Wednesday, so a good friend joined me to walk the course again on Tuesday and confirm my tactics and tell me to kick on! We watched some dressage and walked the showjumping too, which should be well within his capabilities.
Bright and early and 3rd to go on Wednesday morning, Beau warmed up beautifully, having had a couple of days there he had really settled in. The judge rang the bell as the competitor before me saluted so I cantered a lap as she trotted out. Our test was lovely, barring the fact that I missed a trot-walk-trot movement! I haven’t gone wrong in a BE test in the 20 years I have been doing it, so I really picked my time! We scored 33.9 which was fair, given my mistake, marred by a comment on my sheet stating I started 47 seconds after the bell, which was a little discouraging and upsetting after all my work to be there!
Onto showjumping, this cheered Beau right up and he was jumping his socks off very enthusiastically, sadly a little too keen in a related distance making up the ground to have fence 8 down. So finally off to the cross country, with huge butterfly’s wondering how he would cope with the atmosphere, crowds and questions. I asked 5 people on my way to the start how they had gone and they’d all had stops! No turning back off we set. The first big question was at fence 5, into the lake, which is on higher ground, so a bit of a surprise, I growled and kicked and we were through, and settled into a rhythm. I think he gave me the best feeling ever, hitting everything on the right stride and clearing each fence by feet. Home clear, inside the time, big feeling of relief and pride at completing on the sacred grounds of Badminton. We finished in 22nd place and 4th best EHOA, the scores were so close, without my dressage mistake we’d have been in the top 20 easily!
Was wonderful to spend the rest of the week at Badminton, hacking around the grounds, shopping and watching the 4 star. What a week!”