We’ve made it. Although the journey for us to Pau was amateurish in comparison to Alice Dunsdon and Hilly’s, it’s certainly still a very long way. Luckily for me, Laurence’s lorry gives a very good ride and as I had requested, he allowed Bozzie a ludicrous amount of room in his partition which we have to do in order for him to travel comfortably.
We arrived at Dover in good time where the crossing was very smooth and uneventful. Once on the other side, Laurence’s groom, Steven and I shared the driving for what was a very straightforward, if long uninterrupted journey.
Driving through the night does have its advantages as the traffic is so quiet, but one has to be careful and sensible when getting the horses off, as we did, to stretch their legs during the journey and making sure they are drinking enough throughout. The roads are amazing in France which makes the journey so much easier for the horses.
We arrived at lunchtime the following day to a wonderful welcome from the French stable girls, who helped us unload the lorry and move our feed and equipment to the store rooms that are provided. I was very grateful, as I have come to Pau on my own with no groom. However Marky Mark (a top groom) is on hand working for another rider, but happy to help if needed and I’m lucky to have family and friends coming to watch at the weekend.
I was grazing Bozzie on Wednesday evening and he rolled (several times, one of his favourite habits) and a girl said:
“Your groom will be so cross you’ve let him do that! He’s filthy now!”
“It’s ok, I’m the groom as well,” I laughed and to be honest I’m not fussed, because as long as my boy’s happy, I’m happy!
Yesterday I took Boz for a hack past the gallops where the racehorses were training which was VERY exciting! I then watched Emily King do a super test in the CIC2* and went for a bike ride into Pau with first-time four-star riders Emma Hyslop-Webb and Tom Rowland. It’s a beautiful town, and very historic in the centre although we had a few near misses on the way in — french drivers have their own rules!
Yesterday evening saw arena familiarisation and the briefing which was for the CCI, and also the four-star driving class. This is a first, having two different sports of the four-star standard in one place, something the organisers are quite rightly very proud of.
By the time you ready this we will have trotted up at 8.15am when it will have just got light and then a rather wild Boz (he was very fresh yesterday) and I dressage this afternoon at 1.27pm GMT. You can watch it live here: www.event-pau.fr I’ll let you know how it goes…