As you may have noticed, I struggle to find the discipline to sit down and write a weekly blog- at Badminton it will be every day, but I guess it is a really special occasion!

A week today Team China will have set up camp, done the trot up and finished one dressage test.

Both Jeans and Maggie have been for a jump lesson with Cinda and both jumped superbly. Cinda gave me a pep talk afterwards and we have all decided that I am going to be a hermit for the whole of Badminton week.

I am quite easily distracted or side-tracked, so we have decided that full-on concentration is the name of the game. So no Saturday night partying for me!

I have had a sneaky peak at the course pre-view on the website and I definitely think that the Colt Pond will sort the men from the boys. Apart from that it seems to be a good traditional Badminton course, but we have yet to see.

A trip to Belton

Last weekend we made a trip up to Grantham to Belton Horse Trials. The plan was always to run Maggie in the three-star but with the last minute decision to run Jeans, we took him with us on the off-chance someone might pull out at the last minute.

Unfortunately the ‘powers-that-be’ decided there were to be no substitutions whatsoever. Even though there were several withdrawals before dressage, I was still not able to enter Jeans.

As riders we are expected to enter weeks before a competition. However, as everyone involved in horses knows, nothing ever goes 100% according to plan. So I think it is a shame when there is no flexibility.

Every other event I have been at, organisers have gone out of their way to help competitors out. No one expects to get special treatment, but it was a shame for everyone, as in the end there were a lot of empty slots that could easily have been taken.

Anyway, Maggie did a nice enough test for 51 penalties and a clear showjumping, but with the ground very much on the firm side we decided not to go cross-country. So all in all a rather unproductive weekend.

With two of my advanced horses due to rest for 6 weeks after Badminton and only Fiddle to work and compete, I have been putting some thought into how to build up my yard.

It has just been drawn to my attention that I have a unique opportunity to enter several young horses in the Le Lion Young Horse Championships this year, so the search is on for horses and owners. Watch this space!

As mentioned last week, I have been invited to promote World Horse Welfare (ex-ILPH and Badminton’s appointed charity) in their campaign ‘Hands on Against Cruelty’. They have produced a fabulous T-shirt to raise funds for the brilliant work they do. Do visit their stand at Badminton and buy one. It is a really good cause.

Alex Hua Tian’s website