This time next week, barring disaster, we shall be at the Mitsubishi Motors Cup at Badminton.

The past month has flown by and with the arrival of my car passes, tickets and other such goodies contained within my competitor’s pack it is all starting to feel rather real. I still can’t quite get my head around the fact that Charlie, of all horses, is competing at the most famous event in the world. Sure, it’s not the four-star but what started as a joke, became a possibility and all being well, in seven days time will become reality.

You may recall the other week I said I had entered Charlie for a local unaffiliated event to give us a run after our not so successful last outing. Well the short version is we didn’t go, more on that later. However this did leave me with the dilemma of not having anything particularly interesting to write about. Fortunately I was saved by a knight not in shining armour although rocking a pair of short shorts in the long awaited sunshine, our postman.

In the parcel he delivered were two DVDs I have been patiently waiting for since I first begun writing this blog, which contain footage from an old camcorder my mum unearthed during a foray on the attic. Footage of Charlie and I from way back when I wore short boots and jodphur clips and then the exciting transition to those god awful rubber long boots that gave you sweaty feet.

I think most of the clips are from 2005 at various Pony Club rallies although there looks to be a few competition clips thrown in too.

Unfortunately it seems my mum has taped over the really good stuff. I mean quite why she felt my little brother’s 10th birthday party was more worthy of film reel than my first mini event where I fell off no fewer than five times, I don’t know. However there is still a fair amount of amusing footage to be found and as you will see we really were crap!

Fast forward 13 years, back to present day and hopefully a little less crap, after fretting over Charlie’s lameness scare last week I decided that as much as I wanted to keep him swaddled in bubble wrap, we needed to keep up the training. Plus, in truth, if he was going to go lame, better now than after we’ve trucked the five hours to Gloucestershire. So it was that weekend we went out to have a play over a course of showjumps on grass and, while we were there anyway, jump around the flagged cross-country course too (pictured top). Charlie jumped sweetly, I didn’t have any near encounters with the Surrey turf and none of his legs fell off in the process either. So a good day out by all accounts.

We then followed this up with a cross-country lesson at Tweseldown on Wednesday, this time focusing more on tricky lines, angles and terrain within combinations. Again Charlie went well and although he did put one naughty stop in it did give me a chance to assess why and what I can try do to prevent it. Afterwards he was super and we both finished feeling confident which got me thinking, was there really much point in running him that weekend? Especially around a course he has done a million times before.

Continued below…


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The fact is, although sometimes acting to the contrary, Charlie is an experienced horse. He doesn’t need the mileage and he knows his job inside out. It’s just more a case of whether or not he chooses to do it. Plus he had already had busy week and we’d had two successful outings, so better to quit while we’re ahead, right? Fortunately my friend Mel was on hand to help me make the call and in her brilliantly blunt way she said much the same thing except in a sassy French accent with added hand gestures. I hope I’ve made the right decision. I guess we’ll know in a week’s time. Worse comes to worse, we’ll just blame Mel…

So the countdown is on, the big day is coming ever closer and to publicly answer the three most asked questions in the hope you’ll all stop nagging me: Yes I am excited, yes I’m feeling for the most part prepared and no I’m not anywhere near as far as figuring out what I need to take with us. I have however begun a list. So far it’s three items long: horse, saddle, wine. So at least that’s the essentials covered.
A x