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Sarah Gadd Update

Chris Price

“I just wanted to give you an update following another night away for Roxie and I, this time at the NAF British Riding Club National Championships.

Back in July we qualified for the Senior Jumping & Style section at the Area 10 qualifier held at Felbridge Showground. After much thought I decided  why not, lets go to the championships and see how we get on! I was amazed that Roxie had won the qualifier as although she is a very smart and pretty looking horse (biased I know!) but her style over a fence has never been that great, she has her own way of getting from one side of the fence to another and after many years trying to change this I accepted we couldn’t so we would just have to try and improve it best we can! After the clear round after clear round she has been jumping recently I was quite hopeful so after a morning of packing, riding the other horses and bathing Roxie we loaded up and set off…… Lincolnshire Show Ground, yes LINCOLNSHIRE!!

My satnav was saying 4 hours 35 minutes so I was hoping it wasn’t going to take us much longer than 5, 5 and a half hours tops – how wrong was I! The motorways were very busy and we came back to a standstill on the motorway where ever the was traffic joining and /or leaving! After almost 7 hours driving we finally made it there and parked up. Roxie had to have her vet check before I could find out what stables we were in. It was quite windy in the field which all the horses were finding quite exciting, apart from Roxie she stood, or should I say posed whilst the vet checked her over. We were then given our stable number and luckily Roxie had been given one of the permanent stables 🙂 It was a great stable actually, on the end of the front block and she had a lovely view out across the showground and could see all the rings!

After getting Roxie settled in her stable and grabbing a drink I decided to tack her up and took her for a ride around the showground to stretch her legs which she enjoyed. We wandered over and had a look at the ring we would be competing in the next day and then headed back and settled Roxie down for the night and she tucked into her dinner very happily.

Waking up the next day it was raining, in fact it had been raining since about midnight and being in the lorry with a flat roof I hardly got any sleep due to the rain on the roof!! The rain continued and after accepting that I was going to get wet that day I got myself sorted, mucked Roxie out and started to get her ready. Our time was 11.42am and with the class starting at 8am I was hoping the ground was going to hold up well as Roxie is still barefoot behind. We tacked up and headed over to the warm up and had timed it to perfection as after warming up we went straight in to jump our round.

We had to stand in front of the judges box to start with and Roxie was a little bit tense so fidgeted a bit, we then had to go off and do a little show for the judge, showing them a bit of walk trot and canter on both reins until they ring their bell and you can then begin to jump your round. Roxie quite liked doing the show as she got to show off her party piece movement – her medium / extended trot! The bell went and we began our round. Roxie jumped a really nice steady round for me and listened to what I was asking of her (for once!). We finished the round and Roxie’s run of jumping clear rounds continues!! I was very pleased with how she had jumped despite the rain and slippery ground. I took her back to the stable, got her sorted and then headed back to the lorry to start packing up….driving home was not something I was looking forward to, especially as I was very wet and cold!

After sorting the lorry out I headed over to look at the scores. We picked up a respectable score which I was pleased about but unfortunately we did pick up 5 time faults which pushed us out of the top 10 placings. I wasn’t too bothered as I was very pleased with how she had jumped and I didn’t want to push her any faster and risk her clipping on the ground. On looking at Roxie’s score sheet after, I didn’t totally agreewith the judges comments – they has suggested I do a little more grid work at home to get the horse to use their back more and bascule over the fences! As mentioned previously Roxie style of jumping is unique and there is no changing it, especially not now she is 15 years young bless her! 

Back to the box I went, took Roxie for a leg stretch (she wasn’t too interested in walking around, she just wanted to get in the box out of the rain as quickly as possible!) and then loaded Roxie up and began our journey home, hoping and praying that the rain hadn’t caused any accidents on the road! Almost exactly 5 hours after leaving Lincolnshire we arrived back home in Kent, luckily the traffic hadn’t been too bad for us and on a positive I had finally dried out a bit ? I got Roxie unloaded and settled back in her stable for the night and headed home to get some well earned sleep myself!

 Roxie and I had done the trek on our own as due to other commitments there wasn’t anyone available to come with us……there was lots of singing in the lorry for me on my own that was for sure!”



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