The entries for the Mitubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials close today, so we have all got our fingers crossed hoping we get in.

Meanwhile, things are busy at the yard as we approach our first event of the season this weekend.

Last Thursday, my girlfriend Rose Bridgwood’s mum and sister Kitty came up to stay and Kitty wanted a lesson for her AS-level sport science. So I rode Joe (my Badminton ride Uptons Who) in the school, while helping her on Rose’s horse Malin Head Clover (“Alladin”).

Alladin was feeling a little bit too well, deciding to spook at everything — even though he comes in the arena most days he pretended to be a four-year-old again! So as I had nearly finished riding Joe, Kitty had a sit on him to run through a few movements for her video. Joe was a little pro as Kitty did a few lengthened strides and leg yields, finishing with a couple a flying changes and then cooling him down by stretching long and low.

The next day we were off to the gallops, this time doing interval training of three lots of 4min with a 2min break in between, then finishing with 2 pulls up the hill. Joe cantered really well, keeping focused and motivated throughout. He had a nice warm bath, and his cool boots on for 20min, then when we got home had his equissage machine on.

The following day Joe had a stretch on the horse walker in the morning then we went for a hack just before lunch, again trotting up a few hills, having a good but relaxing work-out.

‘He really puts in 110%’

On Sunday we were back up to Yorkshire for a dressage lesson with Ian Woodhead. My mum came to watch and was really impressed with how we getting on. We worked on the basics from last week and then focused on specific movements, from shoulder-in to serpentines in canter and counter canter to flying changes.

What I love about Joe is that while he may not be a big flashy mover he really puts in 110%. When we were going through flying changes I was working hard on timings and getting the changes correct at the right time, and Joe was trying hard to work with me to get it right.

The next day Joe went for a nice long hack. I also brought some of my young horses in from their holidays, looking all woolly. They seemed ready to get back in to work, so I am really excited about producing and training them this year.

On Tuesday we were all back at Somerford Park Farm — lovely and sunny this time — where I took some horses to ride through dressage tests and also Joe to have a cross-country school. We have had a lot of rain and it has been difficult to get out cross-country training, but the ground had been well maintained at Somerford. I just hope the going is as good at the first event this weekend.

Yesterday we took a group of horses, including Joe, on a hack through the valley and up the hills. Today I am going to ride Joe through some movements ready for his dressage test at the weekend.

A new horsebox

We have also got a fantastic new sponsorship deal with a local horsebox company, Profile Coach Builders of Preston. They are building us a new Team Hobday international horsebox!

We have supplied them with a Scania truck and have designed the layout with the profile boss Mike Thompson to maximise storage and sleeping accommodation, with masses of tack lockers and under floor storage.

The truck should hopefully be ready for Badminton, fingers crossed! The guys at Profile are working flat out to get it (left) ready. We will keep you up to date with how the build is coming on.

I have also been given a pair of Veredus Guarnieri long riding boots by Zebra Products the distributor in Great Britain. These are top of the range riding boots and I am extremely grateful as they are also providing me with Veredus Jumping boots for Uptons Who.

With Isleham only 2 days away, we will have a lot to report next week so will let you know how it all goes!

Till then,

Best regards,

Ben

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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