With preparation in full swing for the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials, we have had another busy but interesting week. This included a good run at Gatcombe Horse Trials, a visit from our osteopath and my Badminton ride Uptons Who (“Joe”) going on the water treadmill.

But before all this, we were fine tuning Joe’s dressage up at Ian and Heidi Woodhead’s, along with cross-country schooling some of the other horses.

This week we went through some of the movements in the test, trying to get more expression in the trot and smoothness out the transitions into and out of various movements.

Then we were off to Gatcombe with Joe and his stable-mate “Fletch” (Guna Be Good) competing in the advanced intermediate section. They both went well with Fletch having a good first run, with one down in the showjumping followed by a tidy clear cross-country. Joe (left) felt on top form, putting in a competitive dressage and jumping a super double clear, to put him in ninth place.

On Tuesday, Joe had a fairly busy schedule. I rode him in the arena in the morning, then he had a trip to the water treadmill at midday and to top it off he had a check-up by osteopath Bruce Hewett in the afternoon.

Bruce also helped me to make sure I was feeling 100% (above right) — we take good care of our horses and also need to make sure we ourselves are in good shape.

Joe again did 15min on the treadmill, which doesn’t seem a lot but in 4ft of water is quite a tiring bit of exercise. (Joe on the treadmill video here.)

The following day I was off to Somerford Park to cross-country school some of the younger horses, along with spending a lot of the day teaching. The horses I took went really well and apart from getting drenched in the morning by a downpour of rain, it was a successful day.

After a busy few days for Joe, he went on a hack on Wednesday piloted by my mum and we were then off to the gallops again on Thursday.

It’s now Belton Horse Trials this weekend and I’m running Joe in the under-25 advanced section as his final run before Badminton, so I hope to be reporting some good news next week.

Till next time,

Best regards,

Ben

Full report of Gatcombe in Horse & Hound this week (7 April issue).

Ben will be blogging on www.horseandhound.co.uk every week in the build-up to his first Badminton, so check back next week to read more.

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