As we are all now back at home and I reflect on the week I’ve just spent at my first Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, it seems strange that it’s all over. It’s been an amazing experience with highs and lows, but I really feel I have come away having learnt a lot.

Finishing on Monday with a lovely clear in the showjumping, I was so pleased with Uptons Who (“Joe”) — he has really tried hard for me.

Although I was initially a little disappointed with my dressage (below left), as I look back, the atmosphere was huge and he was simply excited to be there — like me. Horses can be unpredictable, but it has made me realise that we need to tailor our future training plans to help deal with this.

Many people might be wondering, “What where all those time faults about?”, as I had 97.6 on the cross-country! I can now tell you it was not anything to do with Joe, as he kindly brought me home.

Halfway around the course, we were ahead of our minute markers and he was giving me an amazing ride. But after the Colt Pond, I started to struggle to breathe. It really scared me, as I was having a great ride and didn’t want it to stop, but as I continued my whole body started to go heavy and ache, which I have been told was due to a tachycardia — a very fast heartbeat, which was caused by acute dehydration.

I had to slow down so I could breathe, but I was determined to come home clear. It has made me think a lot about how we prepare our horses for every condition, and how we need to do the same to take care of ourselves. I needed a lot more fluid in my system to prevent overheating and dehydration.

It may seem a little foolish of me to have kept going, but in my eyes a lot of people had worked too hard for it to end like that. Joe had lots left in him and I went a few long routes to give myself enough time to recover before the next fence, but I can honestly say my horse felt super and jumped amazingly, something that makes me feel very proud.

Joe felt fresh and in great form the next day and after passing the trot-up in front of the prestigious Badminton House in the morning, jumped a super clear showjumping round, which really made me realise what a top-class horse I have!

It’s been a great experience and everyone has been so supportive, from my osteopath Bruce Hewett, who came down for the week to treat me and Joe, to Caroline Powell who helped me warm up for the show jumping. Everyone’s assistance made my first Badminton very special.

Having a taste of the big time certainly makes me want to be there every year, so I hope to work and train hard to make sure I can make it a regular thing.

Thank you for reading my blogs.

Best regards

Ben

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Ben’s website, including video of his round

More pictures from Badminton Horse Trials

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