I have just got back from a fantastic weekend at the St James Place Barbury Castle with Another Breakfast (Kitkat) in the CIC3*. It really is the most stunning event and the organisers did an amazing job being able to let so many horses run in the CIC2* and CIC3*, which was hugely appreciated.
If you haven’t been it is definitely one to put in the diary for next year; the setting is fabulous and must be one of the only, if not the only, cross-country courses which you can watch from one spot. The weather gods were on our side too, with it being beautifully sunny (as a consequence I’m nursing some pretty burnt legs!).
Fresh from our win at Eridge last week, Kitkat produced a really pleasing performance. He was a little tense in the dressage, which dropped our marks, but his flying changes were much improved from Bramham so overall I was pretty pleased with his test and my mark of 55.2.
However, we have a long way to go until we are producing tests like Avebury (who is by the same stallion as Kitkat, Jumbo) with Andrew Nicholson, who produced a stunning test to lead my section on 34.4.
There is so much more improvement to come when I can get Kitkat to settle better and he just needs to do more competitions in a big atmosphere so he gets used to it. He has improved hugely from last year and that is down to my trainer, Emma Fisher, who is an amazing supporter. She was there to give me a lesson on Thursday, warm me up for my test on Friday morning and then for the showjumping on Saturday.
He jumped an immaculate clear showjumping, really pinging round a tough and twisty course. He did strongly eye up one of the cross-country fences we had to go past which could have been interesting!
The cross-country was pretty similar to last year with some strong questions and it caused a fair amount of trouble. I set out to have a nice confident run and that’s exactly what we did (pictured). He was foot perfect everywhere, although sadly I had slight brake failure so I couldn’t really let him gallop on too strongly; I think I need to get in the gym!
I was absolutely thrilled with him and he ended up 18th out of 63 starters. I am now really looking forward to running him in the British Open Championships at the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe.
Save of the day has to go to Alfie (Althea) Bleekman who did an amazing job to stay on when her little mare, Ziomf, went right down in the water and was practically submerged. How she managed to stand up I do not know!
Also my dad did a good job this weekend; he managed to watch me showjumping on Saturday and then rush back to Vaux Park Polo Club in Dorset in time to watch my twin, Jamie, play polo! Cannot complain about him being biased towards one child!
I am currently writing this sat outside in a crazy 27 degrees and so will be getting up bright and early this week to get the horses worked before it gets too hot. I have some showjumping outings planned and then I have my graduation on Monday and my final few days as a student to look forward to!
Full report on Barbury in H&H this week, out Thursday, 11 July.