“After splatting in a puddle at Kingswood I spent this week doing the bare minimum so my back pain could ease in time for Blenheim. A very kind lady offered me her stabling just 15 minutes from Blenheim so we didn’t have to leave at 3 in the morning, and we all had a peaceful nights sleep on Wednesday.
Still bright and early Thursday morning off we set for the Arena Eventing Championships, Dougal was on at 8.02am. Being only second to go is always going to be a disadvantage around a twisty track with an optimum time, the time here is usually influential and the final fence is a joker which has caught me out the previous 2 years. The ground was hard and slippy and, despite studs, we suffered a large slip in the warm up, which we had to put behind us as in we went.
Dougal jumped his socks off, flew the twisty 8 fence showjumping, on we flew to the 10 cross country fences no bother, then for the pesky joker, a 1.10m show jump just in the shade of some trees. I did a good turn to get him on his hocks, but it was no good, he was in XC mode and flattened through it to have it down. Dougal is still on the PolleneX which is working well to keep his breathing normal through the last of this lovely sunny weather.
No time to watch anybody for a quick swap onto Beau. I discovered the optimum time, and that it was possible to see the clock on the turn back to the last fence. Beau jumped his socks off and on the turn back to the joker I could see I was 15 seconds in front. So I did as big and slow turn as I dare and with a bit of determination, we were clear! This resulted in us taking 3rd place, and with the top 3 being within 1 second of each other I couldn’t help but wonder if I could have put an extra stride in somewhere, but still thrilled with my boys. Spent the remainder of the day checking out the great shopping opportunities in the shade of the Palace!”
Photo by ES Photography.