Lauren Shannon’s blog: filming at Gatcombe with Jennifer Saunders

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Hi everyone,

I hope you are all enjoying the weather as much as I am (although I’ve already suffered my first horrible tan lines of the season!). I know we are all desperate for some rain, but no one is complaining about the sunshine.

I headed off to Gatcombe last weekend for Louie’s (my Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials ride Zero Flight) first event of the season. Gentel Lux was also going to come to do the intermediate, but she had some physio last week that wasn’t planned and was invasive enough that she didn’t need to jump last weekend.

I had only entered the two horses as I was asked to film with Jennifer Saunders for her upcoming TV programme about Olympic hopefuls. It was so exciting to be asked, and I had plenty of time to spend with them as only Louie made the trip down.

It was surreal to meet Jennifer, who had a very busy weekend walking the course with the Princess Royal, sitting in the judge’s car for some advanced dressage tests and spending time with us in the lorry park. I am a huge fan of Jennifer’s and managed to keep my wits about me long enough not to appear silly. Hopefully.

She got on well with Louie, who couldn’t contain his excitement with being out for the first time. He trotted through his entire walk in his test and wasn’t too keen to come back from extended canter! He also took a stride out in the showjumping, so had one down. He flew round the cross-country, but I do think that competing at an advanced intermediate is now a little too easy for him, as he was very strong! Louie knows the job so well now; he thinks he knows best all the time, even when that’s not the case.

I figure he’s allowed to be a little exuberant the first run of the season, but he’s off to Belton for the CIC*** this weekend so now it’s time to get competitive. I suppose it’s a bit of a shame that the film crew saw him while we were dusting the cobwebs off, but at least everyone will see his progression throughout the year!

Yesterday, I went to the Unicorn Centre with World Class to do some test riding with Louie and my new ride McFly with Nick Burton and Ferdi Eilberg. It was good to be filmed going through some tests so that I can see where I can improve my accuracy and also the quality of the work the boys are doing. I have had help from Nick before, and I always feel that his input is hugely helpful, and Ferdi gave a huge insight as well. We’ll find out if it’s paid off this weekend at Belton!

Lauren

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Full report from Gatcombe in H&H out tomorrow (29 March) and full report from Belton in H&H next Thursday (5 April).