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

So Badminton Grassroots week has finally arrived, the lorry is packed and the sun is shining! It’s been a busy time as we packed in our final training sessions and completed our last minute preparations, with the help (!) of my one-year-old daughter Neve (pictured).

First we headed off to see Terry Boon for our final flatwork session. We ran through various elements of the test, including our 15m circles, which have a tendency to become rather egg-like when I ride them in a test! Terry emphasised the importance of getting more punch into Bago’s trot to achieve extra marks, and we also focused on smoothing out the canter transitions. I was really pleased with the way the lesson went and now feel ready to produce our best in the dressage phase.

We also had a jump lesson with Caroline Creighton. Caroline is great at giving me confidence and has helped me learn to ride Bago round the showjumping, rather than allowing Bago to take me round! It was a group lesson with some of my riding club friends and we jumped different combinations to make up a course before practising a skinny and two corners in the school. Bago was on form and I could really feel the benefit of the extra fitness work that we have been putting in. We will be arriving at Badminton in time for Caroline’s cross-country course walk on Wednesday morning so it will be lovely to walk the course with someone I know and trust.

While we haven’t been training, the lorry has had a spring clean, the wine rack has been topped up and the kit has been checked, re-checked and checked once again! Mum is coming as owner / chief groom and my best friend Erin is second groom / sports psychologist. All other members of my family have been banned until after the dressage, to avoid any chance of me hearing Neve screaming while I’m trying to concentrate on the test. However I am looking forward to the four car loads of supporters turning up to cheer me over the jumps later in the competition.

I am feeling a mixture of excitement and nerves, but I keep telling myself all the hard work has now been done so it’s time to relax and soak up the experience. Please keep your fingers crossed for me.

Marie

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