Meet H&H Online’s new diarist, Olivia Haddow

I’m about to head off to Tyrella in Northern Ireland for two weekends of competition to try to get Patris Filius in the right frame of mind before Badminton.

Living in Scotland it’s a shorter journey for me to go to Ireland, than it is to travel down the country to somewhere like Weston Park, and my trainer Ian Stark is designing the course so I’m hoping he will be on hand to help.

Our decision to aim for Badminton has meant that Filius is super fit already. He came back into work after his winter holiday in early December after having his pre-season health “MOT”. Getting him fit hasn’t been much fun. We had snow or rain pretty much every day so the fields and arena were completely flooded, but thanks to our horse walker and some local indoor arenas we have survived — just!

We have been out to a few dressage and BSJA shows, as well as a couple of arena events, before the eventing season got underway. Our first event was at Lincoln, which is absolutely miles for us to travel but it’s worth it as the course is decent and it is guaranteed to run.

Filius has never been so fit for the first event of the season so he was crazily wild, shaking and sweating with excitement. He had only vaguely managed to settle by the time we had jumped the last couple of cross-country fences — he would have happily gone round a few more times!

Following his rather over-the-top behaviour at Lincoln, we have decided to run him in the advanced intermediate this weekend and the CIC*** next weekend. I’m hoping that by competing back-to-back weekends he might start to settle down, fingers crossed! I’ll let you know how I got on in the AI early next week.

Bye for now, Olivia

View Badminton Horse Trials gallery 2007