“What a week, things are not going to plan!
With Ma being on the board of BE there were thoughts that Whitfield may not run, so we entered Bicton last minute, massive thanks to Miranda Collett, Helen West and Beccy Barrett, who fitted us in. We left at 4am and arrived at a very wet and rainy show ground. With only 40mins between tests, 15mins between SJ and 20mins for XC, we knew it was going to be a tough day. I took the amazing Abbie Adams and the new boy Ashley Louth, who’s turning out to be absolutely brilliant.
Everyone did a great test and I was thrilled as it was only Griff’s and Faye’s first Novice. I rode Otto in the SJ first and he forgot to jump the fence next to the food stand, typical Fox horse! Griff has been on MuscleUp as he looks a bit weedy and he, Faye and Sirius all jumped a clear, totally over excited! When I took Donkster in I tried too hard for the clear and got too close to the first part of the double and poor pony tried to get out but we had that as well. Totally my fault, put head firmly back on shoulders!
Onto the XC, Bicton is always massive and I took Sirius first, who this year so far has only had a BE90 round. He stormed round a massive technical and difficult XC. We did have a stop at the open ditch palisade that had flowers on top and a tractor in the middle, but I couldn’t have been more chuffed with him. Donks went next and had a wobble at the step down, which they gave him a stop for. I was a bit cross as he never stopped going forward, but that’s sometimes the way it goes. There was a step into the second water, so I rode him hard to get him in, no problems there but sadly I sat still on the way out thinking he would pop it – served me right! I was still happy as only small errors. Next came Faye, who has only ever run 5 times XC and she nailed it. What a horse, amazing, I adore that mare, and to think I got her free because she was so naughty!! Next came Griff and the weather was really bad now and the ground had got very deep in front of the skinnies. Sadly he slipped on the turn from the ditch to the big triple brush and I think it really scared him. He decided it was time for home and to be honest I wasn’t cross because it was a big ask for his first one. Otto went round really well in the conditions. We came down the steep hill to the very large upright hanging log, which caused a fair few falls, which he jumped out of the really deep going. He then stopped three times at the next fence, a bright yellow skinny treasure chest into water. I was very surprised, he never stops twice, however when we got back he had lost a shoe and cut into his coronet band. The lovely fence judge handed in his shoe which had been found at the hanging log, so I at least understood Otto.
The next day with a leisurely start we drove back down to Bicton to do the 2* dressage test with the Frogster. In typical Roo Fox style we arrived for our test with seconds to spare. Frog did what we thought was an epic test, apart from walk where the word sideways jog would be applied. People even came up to me and said what a nice test, so we were hugely put out by our 62. We stayed down there with the dogs, Wellie, Narla and Abbies’ dog Wilson. Sadly during the night Wellie fitted twice, which was quite alarming but by the morning seemed fine. After taking Frog out for a loosen up we walked around the course for one last prep. Wellie had another fit on course and when she woke up she bolted completely. We looked for her for two hours and then I had to do my showjumping. I was in such a state, I fell off Froggie in the warm up, very embarrassing! Luckily he looked after me and popped round the course knocking one down, just to prove he could. Between SJ and XC I went out to look for Wellie again, but still no sign. I was starting to get really worried. We had called the council and dog wardens, still to no avail.
I had to go XC and get myself together. As always Frog knew what the plan was and took me all the direct routes to get home, we are now qualified for 3*, so excited. Back to Wellie, we looked again until I felt I needed to get Frog home. As soon as we arrived home we got a call from Helen. She had seen her on her way back to Bicton but the couldn’t get near her. So I hopped back in the car and sped down there with Mum. We got there at 10 and drove round till 2 calling for her, nothing. We parked the car where I had parked the lorry and put food outside in case she worked out where we were. We settled in for a very cold and uncomfortable couple of hours until the sun rose and then we went round again before giving up and heading home to ride. On arriving at home we got the best call in the world, they had her and she was ok! I really thought we had lost her so was a bit overwhelmed, enormous thanks must got to Helen, Beccy and Andrew. She is happy and I’m very glad she is home, though we did take her to the vets for a thorough check over.”