This blog is brought to you in association with NAF, associate sponsors to the Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championship

So here we are, just one week away from the Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championship at Badminton. As I work full-time as a teacher, as well as being a busy mum, it’s lucky that the competition has fallen in the school Easter holidays so I have time to get ready in a fairly relaxed manner.

This weekend Winnie Bago had her last competitive outing in a Pony Club ODE at Bicton before the championships at Badminton. It’s not very often that I come out of a dressage arena with a smile on my face, but the judges clearly agreed with my assessment as a score of 22 left us a clear seven marks ahead of anyone else.

The weather was unseasonably hot and Bago was a bit lazy in the show jump warm-up. Last week I jumped her in spurs and she got a little bit ‘yee haa’, so I’m glad I didn’t use them as the atmosphere picked her up when she entered the ring and she flowed around the course beautifully to jump clear (photo courtesy of Suspended Animation Photography).

The cross-country course at Bicton Arena was newly built last year and the fences are still quite spooky. Although Bago needed a few growls and a slap down the shoulder to get her to focus on the track at the start, she jumped in a lovely rhythm once she got going. Overall I couldn’t be happier with the way that the whole day went and to win our class was a bonus.

I’m so pleased that our final run went so well. I have been determind to do everything I can to prepare both myself and Bago to give us a fighting chance at Badminton. Having had such a good final run, I’m confident that I’ve done this and will now try to focus at the job in hand, and RELAX! I’m not normally nervous at competitions and I really want to enjoy the whole experience of being at Badminton and riding through the lake and in front of the house on the cross-country course.

I’ve been surprised how much support I have received from my non-horsey friends. As soon as you mention Badminton, it strikes a cord with most people, even if they don’t ride. I do wonder though whether some of my friends will be watching the TV on Monday and expect me to appear on their screens. I hope they won’t be too disappointed!

My tutor group at school have shown a lot of interest and I’ve been given a hand-made pom pom to sew onto my hat to match my cross country colours! Even my anti-horse fiancé has brought me an early birthday present for the occasion. The soles on my leather riding boots were coming away and one of the zips are broken, so I now have a swanky new pair of leather boots for the day. I’m now looking forward to polishing all my kit and packing up the lorry for the off.

Until next time,

Marie

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This blog is brought to you in association with NAF, associate sponsors to the Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championship