Last week was all about preparing the horses for Addington premier league. I took four on Friday, including Zep, who scored 70% in the five-year-old class to sneak into the top 10.

He’s a lovely horse, but doesn’t have the “wow-factor” that some of the very expensive horses in those classes have, so I was pleased he did that well when he was up against such stiff competition.

I forgot I did a grand prix in November and had been happily riding at novice still on Zep, not knowing this was against the rules. I got a letter through from British Dressage so rang them and luckily got away with a telling off rather than a fine. It’s frustrating though not being able to ride my younger horses at novice now. The eventers are allowed to, and it is, after all, more about the horse than the rider — and there’s already restricted sections to protect those new to the level from having to compete against advanced riders.

Back at Addington I took Ollie, the horse I’ve ridden at grand prix, in the intermediaire II in the pouring rain, and Merlin Nemorensis was third in the PSG while Abira was third in the inter I. Those later two were very exuberant — they’ve done a lot of competing lately so I wanted to give them some time off, but perhaps over did it as they were explosive! Nemo managed a flying change and a buck in one pirouette all at the same time.

In the following day’s grand prix, Mum [Pammy] rode Amanti against me and we had a bet — £20 to whoever did better. I was feeling confident but sadly had a few mistakes, like halting in a pirouette, doing one-time changes when I wasn’t supposed to and not doing one-time changes when I was supposed to. So I let her win, really. And she won’t forget about the money, though she did say she would cancel the debt if I found her schooling whip — no joy on that front so far…

On Sunday I had a first and a second place in the young rider class and thought I’d clinched to PSG music qualifier for Wellington too with 73%, but last to go Matt Frost beat me by a fraction. I congratulated him of course, though mentioning I wasn’t very impressed. But Matt said he’d have cried if he hadn’t won and I wouldn’t have wanted to see that.

Till next week,
Charlie