So after a little bit of a disastrous week last week, we headed to a showjumping lesson in the hope that the physio both Sara (Donner Sara B) and myself had made an improvement. Sara felt back to her normal self and was popping around the fences with a real spring back in her step. Phew! That was one weight off my mind.

Stafford Horse Trials was supposed to be the first competition that I was going to do all by myself as mum was meant to be going in for double knee replacement surgery on the Thursday beforehand. I had been getting a little nervous about going it alone, however mum coming down with a cold on Wednesday put paid to that, (although she knows she really does need the surgery, I think that she is slightly glad that she will make Badminton). So this meant I had my chief chauffeur and groom around for the first competition of the season.

I walked the course on Thursday and the ground was perfect, the team had done an amazing job considering how much rain there had been. The cross-country was almost full length with an optimum time of five minutes 13 seconds and there were just enough questions but not too many for an early run. I was getting super excited.

The forecast for the weekend was not good, it was raining most of Friday and Saturday and I was getting reports back from friends that were running that ground conditions were getting sticky but it was still holding up. Sunday was a go ahead!

I was up nice and early and did a quick check of the event’s Facebook page to double check that it was still going ahead, and we were off.

I think that I mentioned a few weeks ago that Sara HATES MUD. The dressage working in was a bit sticky but had held up well. The team at Stafford Horse Trials had done an amazing job — the dressage arenas had been moved over about 5m to give a fresh centre line and corners. This did make the dressage arena quite disorientating though and it did nearly cause me to enter the arena going down the ¾ line. Our dressage test started well but by the end the sticky ground was taking its toll and Sara lost her oomph, but for a first test of the season, it wasn’t too bad and we scored 31.

The showjumping course has moved slightly since I walked it on Thursday. They had made the arena bigger to put all the fences on to fresh ground. The sticky ground once again took its toll and we had a silly stop — but on the bright side those snappy feet were in full force and Sara didn’t tap a pole.

Continued below…

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The team at Stafford had moved all the fences over slightly to give fresh take off and landings on the cross-country, which given Sara’s aversion to mud I was very appreciative of. She stormed around the cross-country course like a trooper (though I did take care at the steeplechase fence where she had a stop last year) and we came home three seconds inside the optimum time. We came home with sixth place so not too bad for our first run.

Time to head home and work more on that pesky showjumping phase.

Love Carrie (and Sara)
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