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

Hi, I’m Marie Ewen. Welcome to my Badminton Grassroots blog. I’ve qualified for the BE100 finals at the Mitsubishi Motors Grassroots Championship and I can’t wait to compete on that hallowed turf.

I’m 27 years old and I work full-time as a science teacher at a local college. I also have a baby daughter called Neve, so life is pretty hectic! In addition to the horse I’m taking to Badminton, I also have an ex-racer who has been in-foal and will be returning to eventing later in the season.

To quote one of the H&H clothing slogans, I was definitely “Born to ride, forced to work”! My job as a teacher gives me the time and money to event my horses, although I couldn’t do it without the support of my mum and grandad, who do a lot of the groundwork and help keep the horses fit. Eventing really is my passion and I get a huge buzz out of the cross-country.

The horse I will be riding at the Grassroots Championship is a British-bred 11-year-old grey Latvian warmblood called Winnie Bago. She was bought for my mum to hunt, but I thought she also had eventing potential. So soon after we bought her at the age of nine, I started schooling her on the flat, did a few local competitions and then we had our first full season in British Eventing competitions in 2010.

We started off at BE90 before stepping up to BE100, with our first section win at Bicton. Winnie and I achieved a few qualifying runs along the way before heading off to the regional final at Bricky. I was so keen to do well that the wheels came off slightly in the showjumping and we picked up three time-faults. I was concentrating so hard on the jumps that I completely lost track of the time! Thanks to a good dressage test and a clear cross-county, we still finished fourth which was good enough to qualify for the finals. You can be sure I have now learnt that lesson and won’t be picking up silly time-faults at the championships!

Over the winter we have been working hard on our dressage, which Winnie finds difficult. She is a big horse on small legs and her frame covers a lot of ground so she finds it quite difficult to track up and look truly engaged for the dressage judges. With help from Caroline Creighton and Terry Boon, our performance has improved and we finished eighth out of about 60 horses at the NAF Riding Club Winter Dressage Championships at Hartpury last weekend.

Being a short-legged warmblood, galloping doesn’t come naturally to Winnie and we have to work hard on her fitness for the cross-country phase. Luckily she is a real trier and always does her best to please. She is a real family horse being ridden by my mum, myself, my sister, my niece and even my baby daughter. She is a total sweetie.

Well I hope you enjoy following my blog over the next couple of weeks. I’ll be sharing how it feels as a dedicated amateur to ride at the ultimate eventing venue, even if we aren’t going round the four-star course.

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