What a week it’s been!! First and foremost, our Badminton entry has been accepted, so we just need to continue with Joe’s [Uptons Who] preparations for the big day, while wrapping him up in cotton wool.

Secondly the season finally got underway and boy was it an early start! We set off for Isleham at 4.30am on Saturday morning, but no sooner had we got underway than Joe starting getting upset. So we turned around and returned home, unloaded the horses, moved the partitions so Joe had more room and was closer to the living, then set off again. Luckily this did the trick and he found the journey much more comfortable.

Unfortunately this meant we arrived at Isleham a few hours later than planned, but the secretary was very kind and moved our horses around so that we could still run one horse on Saturday, with the others, including Joe, on Sunday. A big thank you to Isleham, you were extremely helpful!

When it came to getting Joe ready on Sunday it was clear that he was pleased and excited to be at his first event. The dressage went well with a very accurate test and a score of 34.6. He did get a little excited in his walk, but for the first event of the season I was pleased.

In the showjumping, Joe was a bit over keen but jumped well, just tapping out one fence jumping into a double. It was a little muddy and, although the organisers rolled the arena before our class, the ground was a little soft in front of the fences.

All prepared for the cross-country, we set off and it was as if my sat nav kicked in — I just pointed his ears in the right direction and Joe just kept jumping and looking for the next fence (picture above by Tom Wilkinson). I sometimes think he enjoys it even more than me.

Although Joe wanted to ‘go, go, go’, I tried to just stay in a nice rhythm so we picked up a few time penalties, but it was a good solid run to start the season. Then it was back to the lorry to cool off. Before heading home we put Pernamax equine patches on his legs to keep them cool and hep deal with any bruising or knocks; they keep really cold and have a soothing ingredient which absorbs into the skin.

My other two horses Consult Z and Rocksoxs also went really well, both jumping double clears, so all in all it was a good weekend.

Since the weekend, Joe has been on the walker, enjoyed a relaxing massage from the equissage machine, been out hacking and had a routine check up from the physio, whle I’ve been cross-country schooling other horses at Somerford.

We also has a visit from Master Saddler Andy Wheals (www.thesaddleman.co.uk), who came to measure Joe for his Southern Stars dressage saddle (www.southernstarssaddlery.com) ready for Badminton.

Now the season has started it’s going to be all systems go. Joe’s next event is Lincoln, and we are again going for some more dressage training on Sunday, but in the meantime I’m off to Oasby with some other horses on Friday.

Till next week,

Best regards,

Ben