This week has mostly consisted of lists, I even have a list of lists (pictured). I have everything covered from competition wear, casual wear, food, bedding, and toiletries for both Sara (Donner Sara B) and myself. I have taken to having a small notebook next to my desk so I can keep jotting things down. If we keep going at this rate I am not sure how I will fit Sara in the horsebox to get to Badminton!

Sara now has her party shoes on too. I started thinking about her shoeing back in December as I worked out that on the shoeing schedule she was following she was going to need shoeing the first week in May, and I think that I am busy that week…!

>>> The road to the Badminton Mitsubishi Cup: maybe I should consider my underwear selection more carefully?

I have decided to put front stud holes in this time. I have not ridden with front studs for a few years, as Sara ended up with bruised heels on the front and I put it down to the studs, but given how tentative our dressage was at Stafford I thought it would be a good idea to have the choice.

On Wednesday after work we went for a showjumping lesson. This requires military precision timing and a very generous mother. I can leave work at 5pm, drive 30 minutes down the M6, meet mother and Sara at Somerford Park, get changed and be on Sara for 6pm ready for my lesson.

We were using a related distance to help work on having the right canter and maintaining straightness. Sara was really picking up and jumping well.

The second fence was slowly eased up every time I turned my back; it ended up at about 1.25m which I think is the biggest I have ever jumped. Now all I have to do is be able to ride an entire course like that.

>>> The road to the Badminton Mitsubishi Cup: My mind went completely blank

I was very excited for our run at the weekend. I had entered the BE100 at Brekenbrough and the idea was to test ourselves over a course that we had never jumped before and would also have given us an opportunity to jump a 1m course on grass.

I got my start times on Thursday and really got my hopes up only to for the dreaded text message to arrive saying that all of Saturday’s competition had been abandoned. I was completely gutted and spent the next 30 minutes frantically looking for what else I could do.

After I had calmed down slightly and realised that I am not the only one in this boat (which I think might have to buy if this weather continues), and I decided that actually it would be nice to have a weekend off competing.

We had a lovely hack on Saturday and on Sunday we were back to the gallops as Sara had not done any fast work this week.

>>> The road to the Badminton Mitsubishi Cup: Not going to plan

I had assumed that the gallops were four furlongs as there are signs up that say three furglongs to go, two furlongs to go and one furlong to go. Using Google and a calculator I worked out how long it should take me travelling at 450m per minute (BE90 speed) to do one circuit. This also gave me another really good opportunity to test my stop watch again.

We set off on our first run and we were three seconds too slow. I was a little surprised but the gallops do have quite a steep hill and we were battling with a head wind. Over the next few runs we got a bit quicker and on the final run up the hill we were five seconds under the target time. I was happy with that and cooled her down.

Back at the lorry park I thought that I would just check the distance of the gallops — it appears that they are four-and-a-half furlongs. With a little more help from Google and the calculator I then worked out that I had been travelling at just over 525m per minute — oooops! Apparently Sara is ready for novice (well if there were no fences and she only had to gallop for just under two minutes at a time)!

Love,

Carrie (and Sara)