Hi there guys,

My thoughts at the beginning of last week were ‘please can the week go by super speedily because we are finally so nearly there?’ Badders (the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials) is THIS WEEK! Yikes.

I have to say it’s hard not to panic and think have we galloped Zo (Zocarla BLH) enough, is she prepared enough, should she have one or two jumps? The list is endless. All I want to do is make sure Zo and I are prepared in the best possible way for the challenge that lies ahead. However, I’ve had to stop and tell myself a few times that the hard work has actually been done. At this stage we aren’t changing things, it’s all about fine tuning everything and keeping her ticking over so she is feeling fresh (hopefully not too fresh!) and happy when she arrives at the park. Zo has done all the training and all the competing to get to this stage. All I have to do now is breathe, take it all in, and have faith in what’s to come.

Obviously there is still A LOT of training going on, particularly with the flatwork. We have mainly been doing test riding in training now, as when you have to link all the movements together this is normally when any problems show up.

Zo tries her absolute hardest in the dressage, the poor girl doesn’t find it the easiest phase. I have to really hold her hand through the flying-change sequence at the end of the test. To help her understand the changes, in training we really focus on having her waiting and sitting so I (emphasis on I!) choose when the change is needed.

I can’t wait for cross-country day now, all this practising dressage, going round and round in circles is wearing a bit thin! We are going to build some lines and turns that resemble the course so Zo has done some footwork and has to think quickly — both very important and vital things at this level.

On top of the excitement that awaits us this week, I’ve had some other amazing news. One of my other horses, Grandslam and I have been selected to represent Great Britain for leg one of the nations cup series, which is to be held in Poland and is also in May. It is an incredible honour and privilege to be representing my county. It will be a very educational and hopefully successful trip.

Continued below…

On top of all this, in my family’s normal madcap way, as I try to calmly prepare for Badminton, my dad and brother are hopping on a flight to Vegas for what I can only imagine is going to be the wildest stag do ever from the odd snippets of conversation I’ve been hearing! They are due to fly back home on Wednesday…the question is will they make trot up?! They will certainly be warmed up and party ready for Badminton week!

The next time you hear from me will be when I arrive there, tomorrow. It’s going to be an unbelievable week, I can’t wait to be a part of it and to share it with you all.
Danni

Don’t miss our 25-page Badminton report, on sale Thursday 11 May, including expert opinion from Oliver Townend, Mark Todd and Peter Storr.